The Data Jungle - Integration

The Data Jungle - Integration

What is it?

As I get older I get particularly cranky with things and people wasting my time. Having grown up before the calculator was invented, and being a definite C student at school, it has often been difficult and frustrating for me to be dragged into the IT age. However, now I’m here, and have the privilege of working with an exceptionally talented development team, I am conditioned to identifying opportunities for saving time and making working lives easier.

Quite often, several systems need to work with the same common information but are not integrated, meaning someone will need to manually enter the same data several times. Not only is it inefficient, it stops your talented people from doing something more valuable.

Why is it important?

Recently we learnt a major university spent millions of dollars building  two separate systems, one for Finance and the other for Human Resources. Each system contains similar data, and despite needing to share this data with each other, this was not possible.

In an additional waste of money both systems had been developed by the same company. The university then commissioned them to build a 3rd system to enable data to be sent between both systems. A reasonable solution? Apparently not! Changes made in either system have taken up to 24 hours to be reflected.

Sensible planning would have saved not only millions of dollars, but plenty of time and stress for end users! Whilst an extreme example, similar scenarios exist everywhere in business.

Where do you start? 

The problem with the university scenario is it will never be economical to change from these systems. Too much money has been invested in both systems to simply throw them out in favour of another solution. Users are no doubt complaining about having to use very slow systems. On the bright side they are now integrated!

As part of your sensible planning we suggest you start by answering these questions:

  • Why do you want to integrate your systems and how important is this?

  • Will it make your business more efficient?

  • How much money is it going to save you?

  • Are you going to be able to recoup the development cost? 

  • Will it help your customer?

Our story demonstrates the last thing you want to do is compound the problem with knee jerk decision making. We keep harping on about the value of Business Analysts, but their role is vital in seeing the big picture. After working with large institutions for over 22 years we know many internal departments or branches don’t actually talk to each other, therefore don’t realise they share common problems, processes and/or data. Business Analysts look at the big picture, then:

  • identify data sharing opportunities

  • potential for cost savings and easing workloads

  • and the feasibility of integrating your systems.

They will work with your team to determine which integration pieces will deliver the best business value.

Constant customer feedback during the development phase produces a superior product. Changes made earlier are usually more cost effective. A good BA will be able to translate your requirements to a development team. A development approach such as the one we use delivers results quickly and allows for early customer feedback.

If you know you need to change, but don’t know where to start please contact us for a no obligation chat. Phone: 9485 0725 or email: .