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The six most common mistakes in integration projects

Successful business integration projects lay an important foundation for the future and can result in a more efficient organization. But 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 M3CS, has worked in the IT industry for 25 years and has been involved in more than 60 projects. In other words, he knows how to create business integration solutions that achieve the desired results and perform well over time. In this text, he lists the six main issues that can stand in the way of a successful integration project.

1. Those in charge do not know all the business processes involved

An all-too-common problem is that clients don't have the right people working on the project. You need someone who knows all business processes, not just those that affect a particular department."

Here's an example: A client uses old integrations. At five o'clock every day, they export all of their 17,000 customers from the ERP system and import them into 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:

Create an integration that automatically exports a customer when a change occurs.
Instruct the system to export only active customers.

Which is the right solution depends entirely on the customer and their needs. If you have a person who is well versed in the processes of the organization, you can make better decisions."

2. There is no well-defined requirements specification

Every project needs a detailed requirements specification that tells everyone involved exactly what needs to be delivered at each stage of the project.

3. It is not clear who is responsible

As in most other situations, steering 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

Not making sure that the manager or other key people on the client side have enough time for the project is a common mistake.

5. You don't focus on the big picture

I often see clients spend a lot of time and money trying to solve problems or situations that rarely arise. For example, they want specific automated rules for specific customers. Then my role as a consultant is clear: I question their motives and ask them "Is it 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 knowledge is often lacking. One of the most important parts of business integration is careful planning. Complexity is always a risk factor and large companies have many different processes that must be considered. With careful planning, you reduce the risk of nasty surprises. I always start with a workshop and ask the client: “What is your current situation? What do you want to achieve? What are your plans for the future?" That way we can create integrations that work well and last a long time.