4 steps to achieving systems integration

Disconnected systems can cause a business a lot of pain.

Faced with a complete overhaul of your systems is intimidating. Change means taking tools that have been part of your business for a long time — and have grown and mutated with your business — and eliminating or starting over with them.

You may have even made an attempt at systems integration, only to find it was too difficult and unwieldy to implement. 

But can you afford not to do it? 

Why you should take the planned steps to systems integration: the hidden costs of disconnected data

In our last blog, we outlined how your productivity suffers if you’re living with disconnected data. You could be:

  • Spending lots of time and effort transcribing data;
  • Suffering delayed access to critical business information;
  • Underutilising useful and valuable systems;
  • Making errors during the data transcribing process, or;
  • Not capitalising on valuable data available to your organisation.

In short, your system is too disordered to handle.

If you could get your programs to talk to each other, you’d reduce your workload and increase accuracy.

The hard truth is: systems integration is vital — regardless of how difficult it may seem.

‘Why do my attempts at systems integration keep failing?’

Attempting to tackle integration on your own is daunting. And trying to do it in one big leap can easily result in catastrophe.

Instead, you need to step back and break down the project into smaller, actionable steps:

1. Establish a clear vision

Why are you doing this?

Systems integration is a huge shake-up, with a lot of potential for failure. You have to know what your ultimate goal is, or you’re doomed from the beginning.

Try and look at your systems with a fresh set of eyes, and ask yourself some hard questions:

  • ‘Is the way my systems are interacting a smart way to do things?
  • ‘If I was setting up this business as it is now, what would I do from the start to optimise efficiency?’
  • ‘Why do some people think that this system is fine the way it is?’

Take into account all the current inefficiencies and set down a detailed vision of what a successful fix would look like.

2. Ensure you’re considering reasonable pathways

Is what you’re asking of your systems reasonable?

It is vital to understand the capability and technology behind your systems, and not overreach. It’s all too easy to create unreasonable expectations that you simply can’t deliver.

Before you begin to map out your systems integration, considering the following essentials:

  • How much access do you have to the database?
  • What other interfaces are available?
  • Who has ownership of the source code?
  • What time frame does this need to be completed?

Once you have an understanding of your capabilities and limitations, begin to build and map out an information flow so you know the pathway you want.

3. Gain agreement from stakeholders

Getting agreement from stakeholders can be the hardest part of the process — especially if you’ve got people who are extremely resistant to change.

Most companies make the mistake of attempting to do this step first - and get shot down immediately. Wait until you have a clear plan to bring to the table.

It is better to say ‘we are going to reduce our workload and increase our accuracy with this system’ than it is to say ‘I think systems integration might work, but I can’t be sure’.

4. Ensure everything is tested

Are your new integrated systems even going to work?

To ensure your systems are fully operational, they need to be tested under adverse conditions. This is especially true of production lines, as they need to be able to hold up to getting swamped with information. 

You don’t have to achieve systems integration alone

Breaking the task into these smaller steps will give you a much more manageable ride to fully integrated systems — and the efficiency, accuracy, reduced workload, and timeliness that go with them.

But some expert help could make it a lot easier…

Why go it alone, when you could call on specialists who have been helping businesses integrate tricky systems for over 35 years.

Mintec brings a fresh set of eyes and years of knowledge to your systems integration challenges. We can help you break down the task - establish reasonable, achievable goals and plans - get your people on board - and make sure your systems ultimately work the way they’re meant to.

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you optimise your systems and achieve an unprecedented level of efficiency and productivity

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