October 06, 2020
Written by Erkka Heinola

Here are 9 questions to ask yourself when starting any integration project

 

Too many integration providers promise a simple journey to success, but in reality, this is far from what ends up happening!

A common pitfall for service providers is saying... "I just need to integrate these systems with each other, what does it cost" 

 

So how do we stop this from happening?

There are many things to take into consideration when thinking about the whole integration project and we want to help you identify and address these. 

A successful integration delivery project can be visualised into the following steps:

A pretty picture, with lots of steps. But of course the real question is: "How do we do it and how much does it cost?".

To answer that, there are 9 questions to be answered first. 

 

Q1: What are you integrating?

This is a multiple-choice question, and here are your options:

  1. Customers
  2. Service Providers
  3. Internal systems

 

Why are we asking this?

Integrations always have (at least) two ends. It's important for you to understand that the complexity of the project might vary between these parties. Are you able to control both ends, does the customer or service provider have somebody from their end to work with you?

 

Q2: Do you have a Project Manager...

  1. We have someone in-house who runs the show
  2. The service provider or customer is providing the Project Management
  3. We are using an external provider / consultant on the project management

Why are we asking this?

Like in any project the manager plays a crucial role in the success of the end result and keeping the elements together.

 

Q3. What other resources will you need? 

  • Tool admin?
  • Integration architect?
  • Process owner?

After you have sorted out questions 1-3, we can move forward.  And now the project will be divided into two tracks. Technical and process tracks. 

Let's start with the technical track.

 

Q4: What systems are you looking to integrate? 

 

  • Application 1: __________________
  • Application 2: __________________
  • Application 3:___________________
  • Application n:___________________

Why are we asking this?

The complexity of the system and depending on how sophisticated it is might have an effect on the total time and effort needed to execute the project. We have seen all kinds of interesting systems and API's in our life. 

 

Q5: Are your systems running in the cloud or on-premise?

  1. Cloud
  2. On-premise
  3. Both

Why are we asking this?

This might not have a direct cost related to the project, but it might slow things down. When opening firewalls and allowing IP addresses there are usually certain policies in place and those might take some time. So take this into consideration when planning the project and thinking of the timeline.

 

Q6: Do you have enough knowledge of the systems you are integrating with?

  1. I know my own tool
  2. I know both tools
  3. I have no knowledge over these

Why are we asking this?

It's more of a fact than a myth that all tools and their characteristics are individual and designed in a unique way. Even if we avoid having to make changes in the corresponding systems. Sometimes you need to be able to create some triggers or web-hooks from your own system. Especially if you have something custom build. 

 

Q7. Have you defined the use case you are looking to integrate? 

  • Yes
  • No
  • Sort of... (maybe you get the process, but it hasn't translated into a genuine use case yet)

Why are we asking this?

First of all, let's address the question: "What the he** is a use case?" 

Our experience shows us that the most important thing to understand is what are you looking to do. Meaning what is it that you are looking to do on a process and logical level? This is the most important part of a successful integration project and will define a lot on the length and success of the project. 

 

Q8: Have you defined the field and value mappings? 

  1. Yes, the fields and values to be mapped are clear
  2. Our side is done, waiting for the other side
  3. Nope..

Why are we asking this?

Mapping the fields and values that will be exchanged in the integration and the use case will ease the actual configuration work when setting up the integration.

 

Q9: Have you defined a test scenario that you are looking to run?

  1. Yes
  2. No

Why are we asking this?

When the configurations have been made to accommodate the use case, there should be testing involved. The test scenario and acceptance criteria's should be agreed with the parties prior to know if the project was successful!

 

Now, what is the expected cost for my integrations?

Unfortunately, we cannot answer without seeing your systems up close. But it is very quick and easy to do, and 'just looking' won't cost you a dime. However, we are 100% certain that we can help you reduce the total cost of delivery with your next RFP. 

This is great news for you because it means more profit, better value for your customer and a faster time to value. 

At ONEiO have +20y experience in integrations. Been there, done that. We have seen all the pitfalls and successful projects. Based on our vast experience we have created a tool to assess Request For Proposals for integrations and integration platforms.

ONEiO is a cloud-native integration service provider connecting people, processes, and tools – enabling seamless collaboration without traditional integration hassle. Provided as a turn-key solution, as self-service, or something in between. You choose.