IT Integration Challenges

When systems and technologies don’t talk to each other, simple tasks turn complicated and everyone struggles to keep up. It can be expensive as well — there can be huge costs to living with such problems. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to know the real problem and the real solution. Here are a few things to consider when looking at your own integration problems.

Investigate the extent of the impact.

The impact of poor integration is often felt around the business — for example, complex management reports that require lots of manual tinkering, or duplicated effort when teams maintain separate (and maybe contradictory!) reports; or stalled ecommerce initiatives because back-end systems are a barrier. Make sure you grasp who is affected and how.

Root out the causes.

Our principals bring years of experience to integration problems and dispassionately investigate what’s really happening. First, are there simple issues that need fixing? A staff member incorrectly keying sales orders? Bugs in the website? The sales team and finance team using different codes for the same territories? And by the way, the network keeps crashing? Such issues are frustrating, time-consuming, and potentially expensive. But they may not require a complicated solution.

However, a deeper fix may be necessary. You may need new software, or new management information systems to create better reports that can draw data from several existing databases. Many businesses are full of frustrated staff with their own spreadsheets and piles of post-it notes, because the company’s main systems don’t solve the whole problem, or can’t cope with new business channels and products.

Fix the real problems.

Freeman Clarke principals are unique in that they have the maturity and breadth of experience to address the root causes of integration problems. Our principal will ask the important questions like: Are the company’s systems driven just by historic ways of doing things, or by the real needs of the customers? Does the client lack a healthy relationship with systems vendors, so it’s difficult to get changes made quickly and at a reasonable cost?

Our principals can fix integration challenges by understanding them and driving simple solutions — or we can initiate major initiatives when necessary.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.