Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

Applying Integration Modeling for ERP

When integration modeling techniques are applied to our CIO's problem, they fill the gap by gathering company intelligence and consolidating it into models that can be taken in at a glance. The models are used to analyze requirements for configuring the new system and to orient the technical team implementing the new software.

Figure 1 shows the process methodology followed in this example for ERP integration.

Figure 1

The process model for an ERP integration project specifies the steps that must be taken to complete the project.

The process model for this ERP integration project shows the steps involved in developing the requirements for an ERP implementation. The products from each step of the process are added to the evolving set of deliverables. Deliverables from earlier steps are utilized and refined by later steps. Early steps are completed with the support of the sponsor (in the case of this example, this would be the CIO) and his senior technical advisors, setting up the heart of the process—the serial interview of business area representatives and subject matter experts. Serial interviewing proceeds in iterative fashion with the application of integration models and techniques to analyze and improve on the initial models. The next sections describe the details of the seven steps of the process:

  1. Identify roles and resources.
  2. Build "best guess" models.
  3. Validate "best guess" models.
  4. Conduct interviews with internal experts and external sources.
  5. Analyze and improve models.
  6. Generate recommendations.
  7. Present deliverables.

1. Identify Roles and Resources

The first step is to introduce the new roles required specifically for an integration project. The next several sections describe these roles.

A. Champion

The champion is the process owner and "chief persuader," the overall coordinator and internal PR agent for the project. He performs the following functions:

  • Helping build enthusiasm
  • Educating others on the project's benefits
  • Generating support throughout the organization

In this example, the CIO clearly became the champion for the project. Monthly and sometimes more frequent meetings were held with the champion to provide ongoing updates and mid-course corrections for the duration of the project.

B. Contributors

Business area representatives from across functions provide a sounding board for the duration of the project, giving input on what works and what doesn't (from the field). Contributors are also responsible for ongoing prioritization of needs. Represented areas include the following:

  • Sales—Can include the senior executive for the sales area. Would also include salespeople from the field and branch or regional managers.
  • Marketing—In our example company, the Vice President of Marketing became an important project ally, working closely with the integrators and the project champion to set direction and provide organizational support.
  • Corporate Management—Includes CEO, President, and Vice-President levels. Interview results are summarized and applied to help define the goals and priorities of the project.
  • MIS (Senior Technical Analysts)—Systems managers and senior technologists knowledgeable about the company's systems environment are essential to the success of the project.
  • Product Engineering—New product development, research and development, managers, and technical specialists are included.
  • Business Planning—Strategic planners, senior marketing executives, investor relations experts, and sometimes legal counsel can be included, depending on the goals of the project.
  • Service Delivery—Line managers, customer service providers and their managers, regional executives, and branch staff can all be included from this perspective.

C. Integrator

The role of the integrator is flexible and fluid. It requires a tolerance for ambiguity and the ability to provide reflective feedback to project stakeholders. Some of the functions of the integrator include

  • Conducting the project.
  • Conducting open-ended interviews.
  • Starting outside the box.
  • Stepping in to define issues.
  • Identifying candidates to resolve issues.
  • Getting back out of the box through a phased approach.

When the new roles have been introduced and understood, the integrator works with the project sponsors to identify and assign the initial resources required, including

  • Internal experts to be consulted, such as subject matter experts and representatives of the business areas affected by the project or business initiative.
  • External sources, such as industry associations, online information, consultants, and competitors.
  • Existing models, systems, and information repositories that will be consulted to gather information for the project.

As the consultation of the initial resources identified proceeds, additional contacts and sources will surface and can be added to the list. Depending on the time availability and the depth of organizational contacts of the project sponsors, the initial list can be limited or it can be fairly comprehensive. It should not be exhaustive.

2. Build "Best Guess" Models

The goal of the next step is to develop a starting point for viewpoint analysis models that capture the essence of each significant point of view represented in the project.

Scenarios and viewpoint analysis models enable you to model current usage of applications across the company, interviewing as needed to understand individual differences in requirements. You then produce a series of models for each viewpoint, gathering an understanding of what is most important to each perspective.

The integrator will do just enough preliminary research to pull together a straw man, or discussion starter, as a basis for interviews. The straw man is a descriptive model you set up so that people can knock it down and correct it, which is easier than starting from scratch.

3. Validate "Best Guess" Models

Validate the starting point models by reviewing with members of the technical team, and by reviewing existing documents. If necessary, do some external research on the industry to make sure you understand the basic concepts of doing business in the target market space. Test your models against a brief review of industry norms.

4. Conduct Interviews with Internal Experts and External Sources

Serial interviewing is the preferred method of gathering information in viewpoint analysis models. The goal is to understand the different viewpoints without having them modify one another, as usually happens in a group setting such as Joint Application Design or focus groups.

Interviews should start by introducing the goals of the project, the point of the models, and the conventions of the models. Interview subjects can depart from the preliminary models and just describe their situation, or they can offer updates to the models. Use them as conversation starters, not as formal controls on where the interview can go. In the same vein, predetermined survey questions are usually not recommended. If desired anyway, send them out ahead of time and collect responses at the interview, only clarifying verbally what's not clear from the written responses.

A sample scenario and the related view model are presented next.

The CIO Scenario

    The IT department has teams supporting systems in 12 sites across the country, and the only similarity between the 12 is the general function the systems are performing. Different hardware and software configurations are in each site—some PC-based, some midrange, and a couple even running dumb terminals against old mainframes. The software was written at different times by different vendors, some of which aren't even in business anymore. It's a hodge-podge of aging systems, and a big problem is there's no way to leverage resources across that chasm.

    No one can provide an overview of all the systems. None of the technical managers can see the forest for the trees, and they spend all their time putting out local fires. What's needed is not just knowledge of all the systems and what they do in technology terms. What's really needed is to know why they do what they do, and whether they need to continue doing it, today and tomorrow. Because not only must yesterday's systems and technology be understood, but also the main charter is to bring those systems into the new millennium by installing Enterprise Resource Planning systems. At the same time, new technologies must be utilized to pay off by supporting re-engineered business processes and the changing demands of a fast-paced marketplace, before the competition does it first, and puts the company out of business altogether.

The CIO View Model

The CIO View model (see Figure 2) shows a broad viewpoint, with high-level information about systems, and the end users of the technology represented. It describes the functions of the systems while stopping short of employing technical names.

Figure 2

The CIO View model depicts what the CIO sees when looking at the technical environment from a top-down perspective.

5. Analyze and Improve Models

This is the point where you step back, review the viewpoint analysis models, and begin to select and apply the desired integration models. Scenarios and view models typically reveal the integration issues of the project, surfacing the concerns of the business area representatives.

As you begin to identify solutions, you will update the models and return them to interview subjects for their feedback and corroboration. This process is an iterative cycle that terminates when the new models have become clear and project participants understand the responses to their particular concerns.

In our example, the CIO View model revealed that this company was storing duplicate information about the same business subjects, as well as maintaining multiple non-matching sources for that information. They were producing marketing reports from one set of systems and financial reports from another. Little wonder that those reports rarely delivered matching financials to the executives.

Before implementing a new system, the redundant data needed to be consolidated into a shared data repository. The seed template, shown in Figure 3, provides the visual pattern for the strategy of building a shared data repository.

Figure 3

The seed template provides the visual pattern for an integration solution.

6. Generate Recommendations

The outcome of one or more iterations of analyzing and improving viewpoint models is formulated into a set of recommendations for the overall solution. The recommendations should include action items at two levels: near-term deliverables and long-term plans.

An effort to identify areas of opportunity where relatively simple, minor, or low-cost improvements can be made in such a way that significant integration benefits are accrued is needed. These opportunities are considered "low-hanging fruit" because they are most within reach and available to be harvested early on in the Enterprise Resource Planning project.

The purpose of introducing a tactical element at this time in the project is twofold:

  • Early returns in cost and time savings
  • Visible successes from the project early on to build credibility and support throughout the organization

The recommendations presented should provide both interim solutions and long-term or strategic solutions.

The relevant portion of the CIO View model is redesigned, based on the seed template, to consolidate sales, order, and customer information into one shared data repository that can be supported by the packaged ERP solution. The model in Figure 4 shows the solution applying the data sharing strategy.

Figure 4

The CIO View Solution model applies the Seed Integration model for a core component, which collects and contains an array of inputs.

7. Present Deliverables

Deliverables presented should draw on the pool of scenarios, view models, and integration models developed. They are organized to present the recommended solutions in the context of their business setting.

View models and integration model solutions are presented to the project champion and business area contributors. They provide the requirement basis for configuring the ERP package. The integrator will collaborate with specialists knowledgeable in the installation requirements of the package selected.

Integration model solutions provide the basis for subsequent technical models. A subset of the solutions models and subsequent technical models are presented to the technical teams who will carry out the actual implementation of the packaged solution. View models can be presented if the team needs orientation to specific current implementations.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020