System integration can be a time-consuming and demanding process. There are many articles revealing how to do it well, and the key steps to follow. This article tells you what not to do.
System integration is challenging but worthwhile
System integration is one of the most demanding projects an organisation can embark upon. It’s about combining disparate sub-systems, whose components may have come from different vendors. Or which might be out of date, or no longer fit for purpose. Thus ensuring systems work together and usable information flows easily between them.
Of course you don’t have to integrate legacy systems. You could buy a new system to do everything you need. But that means spending time on understanding it and training teams how to use it. So, it may not be an efficient alternative to an integration process.
A good integration has many benefits: improved information sharing, better process tracking, greater productivity, to name a few. To help optimise your integration process, here are some of the pitfalls to avoid.
Three things not to do
1. Choose the wrong type of integration for your needs
There are multiple ways of integrating legacy systems, depending on how they work and the result you want to achieve.
For example, vertical integration creates silos by integrating subsystems according to functionality. Whereas horizontal integration uses a central, specialised subsystem as a common interface to link all the other subsystems.
Choosing the wrong integration solution for your systems can result in ineffective outcomes, and wasted time and money.
2. Lack a plan focused on your ideal operating model
We’ve all heard the quote “failing to plan means planning to fail” – or variations of it. Although it’s probably become something of a cliché or management buzz phrase, it does have merit. However, a plan is not enough if it’s not concentrating on the right areas.
At the start of your business transformation process, you should have defined your current and ideal future operating models. These also play a role in system integration, particularly the ideal future state. Any integration software or middleware must work with the future model you identified, and help you achieve it.
3. Fail to track and evaluate the integration
As the integration progresses, failure to monitor it effectively means you will miss any problems, with potentially damaging consequences. Remember to track your successes too; it’s equally important to know what worked well and why.
Try not to overcomplicate the integration process. It’s more challenging to integrate large volumes of data, so maybe start small or break it up into manageable chunks.
Get expert help with your system or data integration
Obviously the above is not an exhaustive list. You could also choose the wrong integration partner or have problems with unwieldy software. Luckily we can help solve all these challenges. How?
Firstly, our team love working on challenging projects and delivering results for you. We know what works, from extensive experience with leading businesses. At the same time, we believe system integration can (and should) be fun.
And secondly our data integration software, Connections, will enhance the core functionality of your legacy technology. It joins disparate systems and solutions regardless of software, platform or data type. Discover how Connections can help you manage any-to-any system integration.
For more support with your integration process
Check out some of our free-to-read articles:
- Get an accurate picture of how your systems are performing. Discover how process mining can benefit your business
- A good plan supports you on the way from strategy to execution. We outline the six key areas to include in your business transformation framework
- What to think about before starting a systems integration project: Three considerations for a systems integration project