How to prepare for an Integration Project

Having your Software integrated can be a daunting and nerve racking prospect. Whilst all integration providers will have their own methods, a structured and detailed approach based generally works best regardless of what your current set-up looks like.

So, what steps should we take to ensure we're ready for the integration?

As detailed above, all Software Integrators will have their own approaches to tackling such projects, generally it will depend on the complexity of your current environment and the desired outcomes. However, here are five steps that should always be present in Software Integration projects.

Define your business outcomes - they key word here is Business. The first step to any Software Integration work should be to clearly understand and defined the outcomes you want to achieve increased productivity, less time to on-board and automation of tasks are all examples of what these may be. It is critical to focus on the business, rather than the technical outcomes at this stage.

Map out your current work-flows and the processes that underpin them - for any successful Software Integration project, it is vital to understand what you are dealing with. Being able to clearly see which systems or processes are responsible for what can help you understand the priorities and also whether you should consider any additional mitigation measures particularly for Business Critical systems or applications. An example of a measure that could be taken to mitigate risk is keeping both the current system and the new one running for a period of time in parallel before switching off the old system. You may also decide at this stage to scrap some of your current processes.

Analyse the current systems you have in place - This will give you an idea of what is and isn't possible and what the outcomes of the integration(s) will be. Understanding if and what the APIs in the current systems look like for example will give you a clear idea of what is and isn't possible.

Define your integration strategy - what approach will you take to the integration? Your integrator can guide you on this. Create a plan with the method, priority and any additional measures that need to be taken when undertaking the integration for each work-flow. Ensure relevant stakeholders are engaged and a communication plan is in place. It is always a good idea where possible, to have a 'roll-back' option if you're able, this essentially means the software will revert to it's original form.

Plan for the future - where possible, you should envision what you want the very end system to look like in terms of what outcomes it can produce even if you're not quite ready to move certain aspects. It may be that you want to be able to integrate software in the future, in which case it's sensible to do your research early to ensure the approach you're taking now, is sustainable for the future. 


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