Andrew Johnston: Professional Consulting Services

Case Study - Integration Architecture Development for National Grid Plc (2002 – 2012)


Development and evolution of a powerful and flexible enterprise integration architecture

Key Outcomes

Delivery of a flexible integration architecture which has delivered continuous business value as well as significant reduction in cost and complexity for several major system upgrades

Key Challenges

Wide range of systems to be integrated. Multi-party delivery environment. Continuous pressure to “shortcut” good design

Key Technologies

SeeBeyond, BizTalk and JCAPS integration, JMS, MSMQ, web service integration, XML, XSD, canonical data modelling


In late 2002, working with external consultants and the business, I articulated a new vision for the systems supporting Nation Grid Transmission's asset and work management. This was based around a central asset repository, with a document management system, a field force solution, and a comprehensive data warehouse with Business Intelligence tools, all integrated by a shared EAI backbone.

In subsequent years I acted as National Grid’s lead architect as this vision was progressively implemented, providing guidance and supervision to internal and external service and solution providers, maintaining a “hands on” approach.

I was actively involved in the design of the integration architecture. In order to provide maximum flexibility and isolate different systems from the complexities of one another we developed a scheme based around a canonical “common message model”, which has proven very capable particularly during a number of subsequent major system replacements. When the core asset management system was upgraded and restructured in 2007-9 we avoided any downstream impact on the field force, GIS, document management or data warehouse systems. Subsequently a number of other systems have been integrated, but it has frequently been possible to re-use existing flows, minimising the costs of new integration development.

I personally invented the solutions to a number of key problems, including a mechanism to track asset changes by comparing messages passing through the integration layer, and a rule-based “transformation engine” which transforms between the common message model and a very complex proprietary model doing away with a very large number of complex hand-coded transformations.

The benefits of the canonical integration architecture formed the subject of a paper I presented at the 2011 Enterprise Architecture Conference in London.


© Questa Computing Ltd. 2014
Page last updated 10 February, 2014 11:29

Questa Computing Ltd. is registered in England and Wales number:2889117.
Registered office: Ember House, 35-37 Creek Road, East Molesey, KT8 9BE UK
For credits, copyright details and cookie policy, see here.

Search my Sites:

Share this page:

Share |


Favourite/Major Articles
All Articles by Category
All Articles by Title
Review Index

Site Map:

Welcome / Home Page
Contact Me
Search the Site
Thoughts on the World
Consultancy Services
An introduction
Key Skills
Career Summary
Case Studies
IT Knowledge/Education
Customer Profiles
Training Courses
Previous Experience
Download Full CV
National Grid Group Plc
British Energy Power and Energy Trading
Legal Marketing Services Ltd.
Marks and Spencer Plc
Faith Footwear Ltd.
Barclays Sales Financing Ltd.
Oracle Corporation UK Ltd.
Livingston Rental Group Ltd.
National Power Plc.
Agile Development
Coding Projects & Thoughts
General Thoughts
Products and Projects
Reviews: Books, Music & Films
Website Announcements
Full Index
Publications and Papers
A Hacker's Guide to Project Management
Conference Papers
Agile Architecture
Practical Enterprise Integration
Modelling an Enterprise Data Architecture
Strategies for Flexibility
Getting Sizing Right
Muzzling the Alligators
Evolution of a Test Method
Photography Articles & Discussion
Photo Gallery
Projects and Products
RelQuest - Reliability Modelling Tool
ConQuest - Container Yard Management System
Full Index
Biography and Personal Endeavour
Construction & Civil Engineering
Human-Computer Interaction
Mathematics & Statistics
Military & 20th Century History
Modelling & Analysis
Photography & Photographers
Physics & Cosmology
Project & People Management
Psychology & Human Behaviour
Science, General

Contact Me

Email me

Feeds and Tweets

Follow me on Twitter


Thoughts on the World
(main feed)

Feedburner XML
RSS Version XML (direct)

How many subscribers?

Other Feeds

Professional Blog
Photo Blog
Photo Album
Review Pages

About my feeds

Google Blog Search

References to
References to

Sister Sites: