By Alice Westerfield, Liaison Technologies
In my previous post, I outlined the first step in this series—establish and prepare your team—which focused on how to prepare for and what to expect when starting a new integration project. The keys to preparation include getting team commitment, keeping everyone updated and expecting the unexpected. Now, let’s discuss the next crucial step in the process.
Step Two: See and Understand the Big Picture
Return on Investment
Now that you know who will be involved in your integration project, everyone needs to have a clear indication of the value you’re trying to generate. Questions like “What are we trying to do?” or “What’s wrong with the way we do things now?” will likely be on the minds of some team members.
Be ready to tangibly communicate the value of your project. For example, if the integration project is estimated to cost $100,000 to implement, how quickly will you start seeing a return on that investment? Will the project impact the bottom line only through cost reductions or will it have a direct top line impact as well?
Define the Scope
Exactly what are the deliverables of your integration project? What is in scope? Just as importantly, what is out of scope? Projects can easily get sidetracked and delayed if they become everything to everybody.
Clearly defining the scope in advance ensures that the team doesn’t try to accomplish too much too quickly. Consider starting small with a pilot project or just a couple of connections. Then, grow as you are ready. It’s better to inch forward with a growing series of successes under your belt than to launch everything at once and have the project collapse under the weight of too-lofty goals.
As a side note, I’d like to point out that one of the benefits of cloud-based integration solutions becomes quite apparent at this step: scalability. Cloud solutions have scalability in spades, allowing you to start small with minimal upfront costs and grow steadily out from there.
Next time: Step three – Lock down security and compliance protocols