Why is this important?
Interoperability refers to the functionality of systems, allowing them to “talk” to one another and “understand” the information they pass to one another.
Most of us benefit from interoperability every day, perhaps without even realizing it. We’re able to read the same messages on our phone, laptop, and tablet. We can quickly log in to a wide variety of systems using our NetID. When we access MyUW, we have quick access to personal information such as our payroll or Wiscard balance.
Delivering this type of functionality to users and providing access to high-quality data for technologists can be elusive in a complex, highly distributed IT environment like UW-Madison. That’s why interoperability is a team sport, most effective when we work together to improve the ways that integrations are done through the use of shared vocabulary, practices, and infrastructure.
Note: Considering interoperability is especially important if you are thinking about buying and integrating a new tool or developing a new solution. See Principle #9 (Choose tools and technology with care) for additional considerations.
Who can help with this principle?
For general inquiries or to get started, contact the DoIT interoperability team
The DoIT interoperability team is currently developing resources and documentation to support integration and to identify best practices.
What should you consider?
- How does your product, technology, or idea fit into the broader IT ecosystem? Are there other similar tools or solutions that may inform your need?
Note: This principle is especially aligned to Principle 2 (Solve whole problems) and Principle 7 (Create a secure service). All of the questions that are considered there should also be considered here.
- How will you align data and access decisions to the business process needs?
- Who do you anticipate needing to use the system? When should they no longer be able to use the system?
Note: If you aren’t sure check out Principle 1 (Understand users and their needs).
- What integration decisions might you make today to set yourself up for long-term success? How might you select an integration method that won’t have to be redesigned as a result of other changes?
- What maintenance will be required to ensure the integration works in the long run?
How can I get started with this principle?
It can be daunting to get started with putting these principles into practice. Consider using the Design Principles and Practices worksheet linked below to capture information and work through the principles systematically. If you need assistance with this principle, contact the Center for User Experience to schedule a consultation.