If your business hasn’t bothered to integrate its IT systems, it’s at risk of falling behind. Using an integration strategy, organisations can align their culture and business objectives with their IT systems. With IT infrastructure’s role in business becoming increasingly more important, aligning IT function with the overarching aim and direction of the business has given many a competitive advantage.
Define Your Destination
In order to execute an integration strategy, there needs to be a vision of where you are moving to. Leadership within the organisation must be able to express what things are going to look like following a successful digital integration. In turn, management needs to be able to communicate this throughout the various tiers of the business.
For any change initiative to succeed, digital or otherwise, people need to believe in it and support it. You need to able to answer and explain, what does IT integration truly mean for my business?
Integrated IT systems are all that new businesses have ever known, and, in a sense, that gives them an important competitive advantage. Older businesses have needed to strategise their integration process. If they haven’t, they need to do so in the near future. Failure to integrate means that they run the risk of obsolescence – without integrated IT systems, a business is competing in the marketplace with one hand tied behind their back.
Integrate with A Roadmap
By definition, an integration strategy requires all components to work together cohesively. This includes databases, applications, networks and hardware all successfully blending with employees and whatever systems were previously in place. Of course, many of these will be replaced by newer digital processes, but a transition will be necessary. Building a roadmap for your integration strategy will provide the framework with which to move forward digitally. It’s also an effective means to communicate the change initiatives to your team members. Although integration looks different for every business, they can use the following practices to guide their development of a roadmap:
- Define what IT integration means for the business;
- Break the transition down into manageable parts or phases;
- Identify and leverage value throughout the process, instead of waiting until completion;
- Focus on the implications for your employees including cultural, systems, skills and organisational impacts; and
- Pivot your strategy as necessary.
What You Can Expect
The business integration process is unique to each organisation that undertakes it. Even so, it fundamentally involves the restructuring of various internal systems. Consider a business moving on from paper records of clients. Hard copy files will need to be digitised and backed up, while the new digital database and admin system is set up and employees are trained on using it.
The degree of transformation required throughout an integration strategy depends on a range of different factors. Some of these include the specific industry, the age and scale of the company, the number of systems that need to be integrated and the leadership that will guide the transition. Prioritise planning and transparent communication because these will help the process no matter where and when it takes place.
As they become more developed and useful, business integration strategies have an expanding range of implications present at every organisational level. Although the role of technology experts will continue to be relied upon, it’s clear that business leaders must embrace IT systems in order to keep their organisations relevant and competitive. For more information on business and IT integration strategy, reach out to the team at Independent Data Solutions.