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American Express Interactive

            The Missing Link: Adding Context to Integration Strategies.
             Connecting data and information is much larger task than simply putting two information systems together. The problem is even greater when the two information systems are from dissimilar companies that are merged together. Each company's system is developed for the unique uses of the company. What are the IT people supposed to do to fit everything together? The author states the approach to use is it to deliver the contents of the integrated systems in "context" to the information user. Stated another way is get the end user of the information system data specific to the user's needs and tell the user why the information is meaningful. .
             The difficult and costly way to integrate systems is accomplished by building middleware to allow different systems to send and receive data. These projects often take nearly two years to complete. During the time span to completion, the company's business requirements could change. Furthermore, the delivery of the data to unique users becomes a convoluted mess because the user cannot determine if the information they received is what is needed. The author refers to the Tower of Babel to illustrate the scenario above. My interpretation of what the reference to the Tower of Babel is supposed to illustrate is the company builds a giant hardware system that is a very, very impressive achievement, but it is not what is important to the company. (For your general knowledge, Christians parallel the Tower of Babel in the book of Genesis to people who construct monuments to themselves to call attention to their achievements with material items such as expensive cars, huge homes, or "important" jobs.).
             The most cost effective and purposeful way to integrate systems is to simply gather the data that is relevant to the user's needs and inform the user as to the relevance of the information. This is accomplished by using an integrated content management system.

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