Collecting, integrating and analyzing data can give enterprises the full picture of business performance, trends. They give them the visibility they need to understand business patterns and take corrective actions. However, the relevant data does not always make it to the mission critical systems that need and require it.
In most companies, systems are implemented to collect data. For example CRM systems gather customer and sales information while ERP system have a stronger focus on accounting and financial information. Without integration between these quite complementary systems, companies create silos of information. As a result, the data collected does not add much value.
At the time of big data, it is more than ever vital for companies using several systems to integrate them. Systems integration ensures that data makes it to where it needs to be. It ensure that data can be represented, changed or transformed as business requires it.
WHY INTEGRATION CAN SOLVE YOUR DATA INTEGRATION CHALLENGES
Over the last few years, the need for data integration has grown significantly. More and more companies have implemented different systems and applications to satisfy the optimization needs of different groups and departments.
ERP, Accounting, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, Sales or Marketing Automation systems have been implemented to answer different business needs in organizations. The amount of data collected daily has increased and companies must make sense and transform this data.
As a result, this critical data is spread out over numerous systems. To solve this, companies have to integrate these to have one single view of the data. Why? Because having one single view of your data is the only sane way to make business decisions.
It can however be difficult to combine this data. And therefore, it can be a challenge for companies to make sens of the collected data sets. A single view can only be achieved by bringing together these disparate systems of information.
I have to admit application integration is often easier said than done. Many companies find themselves faced to serious challenges when they get started with a data integration projects. They must find the best data integration tools and make a series of important decisions:
Which business objects should be transferred?
In which direction should they be transferred?
Do you need real time data integration or is it enough with triggered transfers?
What volumes of data do you want to transfer?
Who will internally support the data integration process?
Do you have a well established in house data governance?
The list is long and could fill up an entire data integration Q&A.
WHY YOUR DATA INTEGRATION PROJECT CAN BE A CHALLENGE
Data integration will help you achieve a unified view of your data. It does not mean it is an easy task. Typically, the complexity of your data integration project will typically grow with:
The number of systems you use: Data volumes tend to increase with the number of data sources you have. Some enterprises have hundreds of systems. Sometimes they run on multiple platforms (for instance a combination of on-premise, Cloud and private hosting). Or in various versions and different geographical locations. When data resides in so many silos it adds complexity and security dimension to a data integration project.
The customizations made to your systems: Many implementation projects include extra customization and development efforts to support enterprise-, vision- or user specific working processes and habits. This can result in hundreds of custom modules or features. This is a maintenance and upgrade nightmare, but also quite a challenge when you have to integrate the different systems.
The lack of consolidated approach to data integration: Approaching your data integration project as a multitude of point-to-point custom integration scripts without a common direction is a mistake. Data must be synchronized in an automated and reliable manner across all platforms. First then you will have one true version of the data. Errors caused by inconsistent data and manual data entry can prove very costly for companies. It can even disrupt their business activities.
SOLVING YOUR DATA INTEGRATION PROBLEMS
When you want to integrate data from various sources, these challenges can easily be overcome. You simply need a strong focus on data quality at both IT and business level. You also need a close collaboration between the two (and joint ownership of the data integration project).
Your job will then be to find the right data integration solution. The perfect solution will bring all these elements together and deliver the desired one view on your data.
Nowadays, there are many pre-configured integration solutions that can jump start your integration project. A solution like RapidiOnline provides integration between Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.
Make sure you have removed these challenges and adopted a unified approach to data quality and data management. Then you will be able to get the most from pre-configured solutions. They will be the perfect starting point for your project.
With over 25 years’ experience in strategically propelling businesses forward, Henning is considered a business development entrepreneur with a passion for transforming businesses, sales and marketing operations through out-of-the-box thinking, concepts building and process automation to improve overall performance and scalability.