Skip to content

Selecting an Integration Approach That Meets the Business Need

Understand Requirements

Today, more than ever, a wide range of complex business challenges drive the need to unify information and make it readily available. This, in turn, impacts what is needed from your integration engine.

Selecting a data transfer systems involves identifying and quantifying strategic requirements (summarized in our Blog Post “Six Easy Steps to Identify Data Integration Needs”), and then matching them to integration options. As there are, however, literally hundreds of integration tools to choose from, this Post suggests ways to home in on the types of integration systems that are likely to meet your business imperatives.

The first step is to look at the various categories of integration solutions. There are many ways to sort different systems – for instance ETL versus EAI versus data visualization – however small to medium sized companies, which make up around 99% of businesses and up to half of private sector employment (in the US, at least), can benefit from a more pragmatic sorting, as suggested in the table below.

Table I: Three Possible Categorizations of Integration Systems.

Select the Category that Best Fits Your Needs

Once you have identified categories and their key attributes, match these to the list of “must-haves” identified from a review of your business requirements. It is best to keep to high-level objectives at this point, as demonstrated in the example below:

Tables II and III: Identify Key Requirements and Match to Options

The trap to avoid is simplifying needs. For instance, where development time needs to be short, the project is a one-off, or performance monitoring is not important, point and click solutions can be a great bet. On the other hand, if the project is a work in progress and requirements could change suddenly, or if volumes are expected to increase significantly, a point and click may be a bad choice. In other words, don’t be short-sighted. Look beyond the immediate requirements to avoid wasting time and money on an inappropriate approach.

Pricing

An expansive view is also helpful when reviewing pricing options. Across and within all categories, there can be large differences between initial and ongoing fees. For instance, adding users, increasing volumes and building in more automations/jobs (a complex project can have thousands of these), can all lead to a dramatic increase in cost. As an illustration, the graph below shows how some typical pricing models are related to volume increases.

Graph I: Relationship Between Pricing Models and Volume Growth

Too much, too little, or just right?

There are two big problems when selecting an integration approach. The first is to take the process too seriously, the second is not taking it seriously enough. In other words, the evaluation process can become bogged down in detail, or not look beyond the immediate project requirements. These are easy traps to fall into given today’s data complexity and the allure of “quick-fix” tools, however keeping sight of key business desiderata, and making sure these are met, will help identify the integration approaches needed. Done correctly, the final match of requirements against options will result in an approach that helps springboard your company to ongoing success.

Six Easy Steps to Identify Data Integration Needs

Choosing the best integration solution for your company has never been tougher.

Which is surprising, right?

After all, with the plethora of integration tools available today, in some ways it has never been easier to move data around. The sheer range of options, however, is overwhelming, especially as huge differences between systems can make direct comparisons difficult, and what works for one integration project may not work for another.

Yet today, more than ever, being abreast of the digital curve is imperative, and integration is key to this. As Massimo Pezzini, Gartner, recently noted:

“Through 2020, integration work will account for 50% of the time and cost of building a digital platform.”

Given the importance of integration, selecting the wrong solution is expensive in all respects: cost, lost time, and missed opportunities. Clearly, it’s important to make a good choice, especially for critical business opportunities.

Following is a summary of six key areas that impact data transfer today.

With so much to consider, data integration is no longer the realm of simply shuffling data around. Rather, it needs to be viewed as a means of supporting the delivery of highly competitive applications in the context of business processes and data flow. The following table presents ways of managing the complexity associated with today’s business and market demands.

Choosing an integration approach, whether for a specific project or a companywide standard, will be most successful when the entire data requirement – from client need to delivery mechanism to environments – is understood and agreed. Only then should the selection process begin.

Next week’s post will look at three categories of integration solutions and will suggest ways to match them to the identified business need.

InaPlex specializes in data integration and CRM migration services and solutions, with a focus on difficult, niche projects. Our licenses are in use throughout the world and our International Services Team provides implementation and app development. Contact us today for a free presentation, or to chat through your tech needs with one of our consultants.

Developing a Custom API for Cloud and On-Premises Integration

Integration between on-premises and cloud systems, for instance to retrieve on-line CRM data, can be achieved with the development of a custom API. This blog describes how.

Read more

Cloud and On-premises Integration Tips

Use of the Cloud for software and services continues to grow even as companies retain on-premises solutions. Managing the performance of these hybrid environments has many challenges, including performance issues. This post looks as ways of improving integration performance in the hybrid setup.

Read more

Overcoming the Real Challenges of a CRM Migration Project

Moving to a new CRM system remains fraught with obstacles and is difficult to fully automate. This post examines the reasons it can be so hard to move to a new CRM system, and presents techniques for overcoming the real CRM migration challenges.

Read more

Close More Business with Improved Lead Management

The need to respond rapidly to online leads has been well known for several years, so a recent Berkeley intern at InaPlex was excited to be involved in lead management projects. In this post she describes the positive impact that InaPlex apps, including a lead router, had on helping to improve client efficiency.

Read more

A Tale of CRM Migration

If you've ever moved to a new CRM system you'll appreciate this cautionary tale about CRM Migration. Let us know how it fits with your experience.

Read more

How Would You Survive The Game Of Thrones?

Are you a Game of Thrones fan? With Season 6 imminent, we thought you'd enjoy seeing how you'd survive in Westeros with our Game of Thrones Management Style Quiz.

Read more

InaPlex CRM Migration Toolkit

Download the InaPlex CRM Migration Toolkit for a successful move to your new CRM system.

Read more

Fast, Secure Access to Cloud CRM with a Custom API

Financial Service Providers can offer clients direct access to their cloud database, for instance for leasing or insurance details. A custom API can be a the best way to provide secure, real-time access to cloud resident information. This post explains why.

Read more

%d bloggers like this: