The six most common mistakes of integration projects
Successful business integration projects can result in a more efficient organization and lays an important foundation for the future. However, achieving the desired results requires planning and a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve.
Christer Söderlund, Integration Architect and Senior Consultant at Columbus Global, has worked in the IT industry for 22 years and has been involved in more than 40 projects. In other words, he knows how to create business integration solutions that achieve the desired results and work well over time. In this text, he lists the top six issues that can stand in the way of a successful integration project.
1. The people in charge don’t know about all the business processes involved
"An all too common problem is that clients do not have the correct people working on the project. You need someone who knows about all the company processes, not just the ones that affect a specific department.
Here’s an example: A client is using old integrations. At 5am every day, they export all their 17000 customers from the ERP system and imports them to the CRM system. While this may work well in most situations, the method does not account for new customers being added to the system during the day.
To improve the process there are two different solutions:
- You set up an integration that automatically exports a customer once a change happens.
- You instruct the system to only export active customers.
The correct solution depends entirely on the client and their needs. If you have a person well-versed in the processes for the organization, you can make better decisions."
2. There is no well-defined requirements specification
"Each project needs a detailed requirements specification, which tells everyone involved precisely what is to be delivered in each stage of the project.”
3. It is not clear who is in charge
“As with most other situations, governance is of course very important. You need someone with a clear mandate to make decisions. This person is always someone on the client side.”
4. There is not enough time allocated
“Not making sure that the person in charge, or other key people on the client side, has enough time allocated for the project is a common mistake.”
5. You are not focusing on the big picture
“I often see clients spending a lot of time and money trying to solve problems or situations that rarely occur. For instance, they want specific automated rules for specific customers. Then my role as a consultant is clear: I question their motive and ask them “Is this worth it?” In many cases, it is not.
6. There is not enough planning
“Many clients come to me with ideas and know what they want to achieve. But often there is a lack of knowledge. One of the most important parts of business integration is careful planning. Complexity is always a risk factor, and big companies have many different processes that need to be taken into consideration. With careful planning you reduce the risk of getting nasty surprises. I always start with a workshop, and ask the client: “What is your current situation? What do you wish to achieve? What are your plans for the future?” That way we can create integrations that work well, and last a long time.”
Columbus are experts in designing, developing, implementing, upgrading and maintaining digital business applications that help businesses succeed in digital transformation. They have more than 2000 employees and serves customers worldwide.