3 Tips to Effectively Implement Enterprise Integration to Optimize Your Business Operations
Implementing Enterprise Integration into your business requires a well thought out plan. Enterprise Integration is focused on optimizing business operations to help increase your team’s productivity. A thoroughly planned Enterprise Integration can help overcome the business challenges including market globalization, B2B relationships, B2G relationships, critical business applications, and increasing volumes and complexity of business data.
Enterprise Integration needs to be well planned but it does not mean that it has to be a daunting exercise! To implement Enterprise Integration in the most effective way, here are 3 tips: 1) Start by prioritizing your goals; 2) Review your Enterprise Integration project from a holistic view (i.e., see the big picture; and 3) Develop an implementation strategy following a 5-step approach. Let’s look into the 3 tips in detail.
Tip 1. Determine & Prioritize Your Goals – Must-Dos and Nice-to-Dos
The way a city would go about planning for improvements to its infrastructure serves as a good model for how a business can do the same thing. When it comes time for governments to invest in city improvements, money is allocated to the must-do projects to either update or install core infrastructure or to the nice-to-do projects to enhance the experience of residents and visitors in more creative ways.
The Must-Do Projects
Core infrastructure projects – such as roads, waste management, and public transit – may not be the most glamorous of endeavours, but they are critical to ensuring that the foundation of the city is sound enough to handle everything built around it. However, these projects can be easy to neglect until serious problems arise because they aren’t initiatives that get people engaged and excited.
The Nice-to-Do Projects
In contrast, projects like entertainment complexes, state-of-the-art sports facilities, and high-rise condominiums with innovative designs get residents buzzing, draw in more visitors, and create new value in the city. But these projects still rely on a good enough level of basic infrastructure to remain up and running.
The direction in which a city proceeds to invest is determined by answering the question: What is most important to us? Once a city government answers that question, it can proceed to implement its decisions.
In the same way a city must determine and prioritize its municipal drivers, your business should prioritize its business drivers. A successful Enterprise Integration project will benefit greatly if your business already has determined what are its Must-Have elements and its Nice-to-Do elements. By knowing these, you can follow with creating the goals and strategy for your own integration.
Tip 2. Review your Enterprise Integration project from a holistic perspective
Integration projects have historically been framed as being about either applications or data, with the primary output being a technology selection. The focus on adding technology, combined with constant pressure from business units, as the primary solution to integration issues is short-sighted and fails to address how new systems will impact the current environment.
A better, more useful method is to use a holistic approach to integration that will span your data, applications and processes. Here are 3 benefits to a holistic approach:
- A strong stakeholder buy-in with a solid connection to corporate strategic goals while maintaining realistic cost goals.
- Preventing additional costs due to having to re-work integration changes that turn out to be unrealistic or unworkable.
- Generating business satisfaction and lowering resistance to change by reducing system complexity.
Tip 3. Follow a 5-step approach to develop your Enterprise Integration implementation strategy
The most important thing to remember is to have a clear strategy for your integration. Implementing too many integration projects end up doing more harm than good if there was no clear strategy in place.
A meaningful Enterprise Integration strategy is directly related to your strategic corporate drivers as well as the current state of your business processes and how much they are already integrated. The best way to develop your Enterprise Integration strategy is to follow a 5-step approach to exploring your existing applications and data.
Step 1 – Identify if your organization places a greater emphasis on enabling operational excellence or business intelligence/ predictive analytics.
Step 2 – Enterprise integration needs to bring together business processes, applications and data, in that order. Kick-start the process of identifying opportunities for improvement by creating business process maps that incorporate how applications and data are coordinated to support business activities.
Step 3 – Revisit your initial direction for the Enterprise Integration strategy and the corporate drivers after integration mapping activities to identify that the primary use cases for improvement are completed.
Step 4 – Prepare for the next steps of carrying out the strategy by reviewing a variety of solution options. The goal is to determine what tools or methods you can use to implement your Enterprise Integration.
Step 5 – Develop a compelling business case by consolidating the outputs of your mapping activities, establishing metrics for a specific process (or set of processes), and quantifying the benefits. This will include costing, potential risks and overall benefits.
By following these steps, you can be armed with a plan that all levels of your organization can buy into, and turn into an actual integration.
Enterprise Integration is an effective process in keeping your business ahead of your competition. Enterprise Integration needs to be well planned but it does not need to be a daunting exercise! Our team has worked with many organizations and is happy to chat with you to help you understand how best to implement Enterprise Integration within your organization. Let’s chat. Contact us today!