The word integration gets thrown around quite a bit in an IT shop. In today's world, that term has begun to be used heavily by the business community as well. As everyone knows, when the business and IT groups start using the same word, they rarely tend to mean the same thing. A few years ago when the world of IT was a totally integrated entity, there was little if any need for "integration." We want to be clear that when we use the term integration, what we are speaking about is the combining of information from multiple sources. In the complex world of the 21st century business, that integration will in all probability encompass the largest possible range.
The reasons for the growth of the need for integration can be traced to one central theme: As the business world grows ever more near real time, so grows the need for the most up- to-the-minute information from the corporate systems. The issue becomes how the IT shop keeps up with the ever-increasing demands of the business community. For a period of time this void seems to have been filled by a group of IT-savvy business analysts who became extremely proficient at extracting information from the quagmire of the corporate IT world who through the use of Excel and Access gained relief from IT's inability to provide the data in formats and quantities needed to fuel the business analysis. This solution seemed to have been only a temporary patch, as business moved into the realm of the "e" world, forcing everyone to seek better methods to do near real-time analysis. As the business world entered the age of 24x7 global operations, the windows of processing grew much shorter, and the business world looked for newer, more automated answers.
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