3 Common Integration Mistakes
We often tout software integration as an essential step for any business running multiple systems. Syncing data between your platforms promotes end-to-end visibility and streamlines processes. Furthermore, software integration has become easier than ever in the past decade, empowering businesses of all sizes to connect their systems.
However, some integration projects still manage to fall apart. These misfires tend to result from project shortcuts and outdated methodologies. To help companies successfully execute their software integrations, we’ve identified three common integration mistakes. Find out how you can avoid the following pitfalls to become a connected enterprise.
1. Failing to Clean Data
A surefire way to impede integration success is to sync unclean data. Unclean data consists of duplicates, inaccuracies and outdated information that clutter your system. Syncing this data creates more problems, populating all your platforms with poorly-maintained data. Furthermore, some systems have entry limits, meaning there’s a good chance that not all your current data can be synced.
To avoid this issue, take a methodical approach to cleaning your data. Establish a data standard before digging into your information, so users understand how each field should be entered across your software. Decide whether to merge or reject duplicate records and determine which of your older datasets to throw out and which to archive. As you comb through existing data, fill in gaps, standardize entries and remove anything irrelevant. It’s a meticulous process, but data scrubbing paves the way to a seamless integration.
2. Not Putting Business Needs First
Before embarking on your project, there are three basic aspects of your integration that must be figured out: which data to sync, the direction of the sync and the frequency. Syncing every metric in real time back and forth between your systems could strain your software, hindering performance. Having this much information could also overwhelm users, delaying critical tasks. On the flip side, when you don’t sync enough information, your users could be missing out on essential insights.
To figure out the best methods for syncing data, evaluate your business processes, detecting pain points and information gaps. Ask department heads and users where they are experiencing issues and lack of visibility. From this information, you can design a plan to improve the flow of data. You can determine whether you should sync inventory data in real time or once a day, or whether contacts need to be transferred bidirectionally or one way. A deep understanding of business processes and goals sets the foundation for an effective integration.
3. Building a Custom Integration
A prevailing systems integration myth is that businesses can save money by building their own connectors. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Developing just one connector takes several man hours. Now, think of all the other data you’ll need to sync. Then, double that work for every two-way transfer. Some software platforms are rigid, making integrations difficult to execute and adding yet another strain on your IT personnel. Once your IT team is finally finished, they must continue maintaining each separate connection.
This method, known as point-to-point integration, was once the norm. However, modern solutions have made this painstaking process unnecessary. Developers now have the tools to create pre-built integrations that can be rapidly installed without custom coding. These integration solutions utilize APIs, or application programming interfaces, to facilitate seamless communication between software programs.
After a quick installation, the solution delivers automatic synchronization without requiring extensive coding. It can even connect notoriously inflexible systems and be easily customized whenever workflows and processes change. Pre-built integration applications prove far more manageable than point-to-point connectors, making them the go-to solutions for joining your software platforms.
Businesses tend to take one extreme or the other when it comes to software integration, either overcomplicating the process by creating custom connectors or oversimplifying the process by neglecting to clean data and model business processes. Best practices for integration fall somewhere in the middle. Pre-built solutions make integration easier than ever, but steps still need to be taken to ensure your project delivers desired improvements.
At Datix, we have the premier experts in systems integration. Through our Unity solution, our consultants and developers have connected countless platforms. Unity is a pre-built application designed to seamlessly integrate Epicor ERP with CRM, eCommerce or Marketing Automation systems. Our solution is affordable, scalable and fully managed by our consultants, making it a hassle-free method of connecting your software.
To form a connected enterprise, make sure you’re avoiding common missteps and investing in the right integration solution. Learn more about Unity and software integration by contacting Datix today!