MEASURE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR DATA INTEGRATION PROJECT
By Henning Lund - October 02, 2020
Measuring the success of your data integration project is not different from evaluating any project. To make the best evaluation, you need to set goals at the very beginning of your project. To define your goals, you can use the SMART method with goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.
Using such method (or any other valid project management method) will get you on the right track. However this is not enough to truly measure how successful an integration project is.
Success can mean different things to different people. Typically, different stakeholders in a data integration project have different business goals. When you set up your project goals, you must think about all the different people involved in the project.
Your IT director will typically consider a success an integration that runs smoothly, uninterrupted and can easily be fixed if a synchronization occurs. The sales people will need all customer information in their CRM system, without having to switch systems. Your sales director will love it if it boosts sales. Your Finance Director will approve of it if it has not gone over budget.
Who do you want to satisfy and how do you measure their satisfaction?
WHICH SOLUTION FOR YOUR SYSTEM INTEGRATION PROJECT?
Companies collect more and more information about their customers data. They use various data management systems and data warehouses to collect the information from all data sources. Collecting data in siloed systems is not the solution and it is crucial for these companies to consolidate and combine data.
With an increasing volume of data (big data) being collected every day, it has become a priority for organizations worldwide to integrate their systems. Data integration is nothing new and many data integration platforms are available on the market.
But to ensure data integration success, you need to find the best data integration solution for your business. Many service providers can perform data synchronization and integration. The most important is to find a vendor that is well acquainted with the solutions you want to integrate.
For example, if you need to integrate Salesforce CRM with a Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution, you could consider Rapidi, who has specialized in such integrations.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE THE GOALS OF YOUR DATA INTEGRATION PROJECT?
Knowing that your project has been on target, on time and within budget is not the wow factor you are expecting. Typically, the business benefits (for example increase in efficiency or your bottom line) are much more important. Here’s a list of the most common ones achieved by our customers. It might help you make your own.
Investments in ERP and CRM systems are always consequent. But having one accounting system and another system for your customer relationships is not solving all your customer-related challenges. To gain an full business overview, you need to bind the systems together.
Integrating your ERP and CRM solutions will bring the absolute most out of both your systems. As a consequence, it will increase the return on this investment.
It can be difficult to "guess" what the ROI of your data integration will be. Therefore, we have made this ROI calculation model to help you define how much you will benefit.
When you integrate your systems, the information can be available and visible in one system (for example your CRM), ready to be used. No need for re-keying it manually. Besides eliminating errors due to manual re-keying, this can result in a reduction of the resources you need to key in and process data.
Increase your competitiveness
This one will definitely talk to your CEO and your sales force. Thanks to data integration, your staff can improve key business processes and sales routines throughout the organization, making you faster and sharper than your competitors.
Improve customer and partner relationships
CRM - ERP integration typically frees time and liberates valuable resources by reducing manual work processes and double data entries. This time can be used to serve more customers. Your sales people will have updated sales figures to make the right decisions about each customer and thereby increase customer satisfaction.
Boost system adoption
The challenge of systems implementations is always to get your staff to adopt it. They must feel that the new system is a valuable tool to work with and improve their work processes. System integration will make make this approach even more viable.
Bringing ERP data in your CRM can help your sales force perform their job. This will give them a very good reason to adopt the system. Data integration can be a very effective way to make system user adoption a tremendous success.
Efficiency gains happen when you have instant access to important information. Always having access to business-critical information in real-time allows you to quickly and accurately respond to your customers’ questions and requests. For example you can answer questions about inventory levels, shipments, customer financials, order history, returns, payments, pricing, etc. No need to search answers in multiple systems.
Remove manual routines – and error-prone processes
Remove manual routines that are time-consuming and prone to human error. Eliminate redundant data entry and have a chance to streamline processes and automate workflows. Increase response time to your customers.
This list is not comprehensive, and regardless, it should be supported by a solid data integration plan. But it should give you a good starting point. Set goals that will satisfy all stakeholders and make your goals measurable. Feel free to share them with us here or directly by contacting us.
About the author
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.