What To Think About When Considering Integration of Systems

Why Integrate?

Most businesses use multiple software applications that are industry specific packages but their systems won’t automatically talk to each other. Examples include:

* Membership management

* Customer Relationship Management System

* Ecommerce System

* Inventory Management

* Financial Packages Business move at such a pace that business owners can never be sure exactly where they are without combining reports from different applications. When systems are separate, reports only reflect the information from one system unless data is re-keyed or reports are combined manually. Either way is inefficient and prone to errors that could dramatically effect business planning and efficiency.

Factors for Choosing Method of Integration

There are multiple methods used to integrate systems and selecting the right tool requires a well thought out approach…consult with experts. When evaluating tools, consider the following:

* What technologies will the integration connect?

* What are the business requirements for the integration?

* To define how the integration will work, build a flow diagram.

* How much data will be integrated?

A programming professional can help you make the right choices for your specific requirements. Consulting with a person experienced in your industry provides you with better insight in to what other organisations like yours are doing.

What to consider when choosing an integration partner. 

* Have they completely understood the issue and explained how they plan to solve it?

* Do you trust them?

* Have they tested to see if the project is possible?

* Has the project plan been explained?

* Have you seen a copy of the project timeline?

* Have you agreed the key milestones?

* Has the sign off process been explained?

* Have you checked who owns the IP?

* Is there an agreed timeframe after implementation for glitch fixes without costly support packages?

Some of the suggested questions above may seem a bit obvious but time after time we encounter companies that have not asked the above questions and therefore end up with software that does not actually resolve any issues.

If your staff are spending time entering data or creating the same reports over and over again, you are wasting valuable resources. Is this your organisation? We are here to help you understand the benefits and pitfalls of not planning integration projects properly.