Why you NEVER want to integrate - Part 1
Integration is the PLAGUE (The Covid of IT)!
#1: Integration shows you how poorly people are doing their job
The best place to hide poor performance is behind an opaque process, too complex to describe or track, with data locked away in silos too sensitive to be shared with other teams. By denying access to hard data and facts, it’s impossible for competing teams to prove how bad the situation really is. Mud slinging and anecdotes are the best they have available. As a manager, sometimes ignorance is bliss. Afterall if this is your function, then isn’t their poor performance your responsibility? You wouldn’t want to shine light on it unless you genuinely want to improve it!
#2 Automation (via integration) takes mundane work away from good staff. Work they probably weren’t really doing anyway, but everyone thinks they were.
Let’s face it, FTE headcounts are important, we need to keep as many staff employed as possible. That may mean we need to keep 10 additional staff manually typing data from one system to another, as they are the only ones with the expertise to ensure the data is copied correctly.
There is an added benefit that staff always look busy when walking around with a pile of paper, the stuff that needs to be copied to the other system. It doesn’t matter that some of the papers get misplaced or ruined when said staff member stops for a coffee and chat whilst moving the papers from person A to their desk, it’s all part of the current process which is perfect as it is.
We can ensure the department is always busy with a backlog of work, as transferring information is an important function, even though the changes entered may be done six months after the actual change, if at all. I mean, how would you know?!
Staff costs are normally one of the highest costs to organisations, and the one most commonly looked to for efficiency gains. Mundane tasks that can be easily automated freeing up staff time are a no-brainer for efficiency gains, and many organisations have tackled these opportunities as low hanging fruit. Subject matter experts should be used for process improvement where they can tackle real world problems, not menial tasks that add little value to the organisation.
Human error is a thing, it happens more often than not, regardless of how good the individual is at their job. Integration as one tool used to automate the mundane action of moving data from one system to another, in a consistent and efficient manner. It is one of the best actions to improve data quality where inter-system data is one of the problems, as business rules can be consistently applied, and escalated when exceptions are encountered.
Data corruption can occur at input where a system is unable to apply the appropriate level of validation, and one place to identify these issues is performed as part of the integration, where alerts can be raised to identify and seek manual correction data in an automated fashion.
The importance of data driven decision making has never been more important, and getting the right data at the right time is king. Operating with old data is no longer acceptable in most businesses, and timely information is required to make the right decision. Integration can help if done correctly here, but having a good understanding of the business needs is critical, along with how data flows through the organisation. Some organisations look to address this with a business intelligence solution, however without good process and business rules are just kicking the data quality issues further down the track.
We hope you have enjoyed the read so far, keep an eye out for our next posts to address items 3 to 6...