Ever feel like your IT resources have built the Titanic when all you needed was a dinghy?
Time and time again, we’ve seen clients make the classic mistake of jumping into solutions before the problem is clearly defined. That’s a guaranteed way to miss the mark and spend more money than is required.
Sure, with the plethora of sexy technology tools available, it’s more fun to think about the great things you’re going to do, and how wonderful the results will be – but what does the business demand? What exactly are you trying to accomplish? And most importantly, what will be the return on your investment?
Define the requirement in terms of need, and limit the problem statement to desired results – resist the temptation to prematurely apply specific technology to the problem. If you define the business need accurately and completely, the technical solution will follow naturally.
For example, consider System Integration, even among disparate platforms. Best practices demand that you focus on the business need and avoid getting distracted with the technology too quickly.
Instead, start with the basics:
- Document each system integration point.
What information needs to be shared?
- Direction, volume and frequency of data integration.
Does the integration need to be bi-directional or one way?
For each integration point, what is the volume of data?
How often does the data exchange need to occur?
- Anticipate future growth and technology advancements.
Once current requirements are documented, consider company plans for expansion and planned technology upgrades. How will those impact the integration?
- Consider budget, technical requirements and external constraints.
Don’t forget infrastructure requirements. Are you already at capacity with your current configurations? Will additional servers, processing power and network resources be required to support the needed flow of information?
For interfaces with external partners, what technical constraints do they have, and what improvements and upgrades are planned? Some external parties, especially government and others with sensitive PII data, have strict security protocols and standards.
- Examine technical alternatives
Once these basics are defined, you can chart a course forward knowing that the technology you deploy will be appropriate for the business demands and your system environment. Remember to “Keep It Simple.” Complex technology is not only difficult or expensive to implement, but it can be a nightmare to maintain.
For example, while a company might assume that a real-time solution is required, sometimes that approach is neither warranted nor beneficial. We’ve seen complicated and expensive modifications made to systems to generate “real-time” transactions, which were later fed to other applications via batch process! If it had been understood that this real-time approach provided absolutely no benefit, the job would have been far less expensive and easier to implement. Avoid defining the solution without understanding the true needs and boundaries of the systems involved. Look for protocols that are simple, are scalable and satisfy the needs of the business. To see some of the widely available tools that Dumas Software has successfully deployed, take a look at our Systems Integration page.
Jumping into technical solutions before the requirements and constraints are defined can lead to over-engineered system integration solutions that are difficult to manage and costly to maintain. Critical budget dollars are wasted, deadlines are not met and you may miss the target completely! Take the time to define the requirements, understand the true business needs and perform a realistic cost-benefit analysis before jumping into any systems integration solution.
Interested in finding out how Dumas Software can address your System Integration needs? Contact Us Now or Call Us at (770) 753-9623.