Most businesses think they are doing alright when it comes to software integration. Yeah sure, they are a bit rough around the edges, but who’s integrations aren’t right? Wrong!
Sorry, but think again, super competitive and high performing businesses leverage all their technology and software to its furthest points. And, the integrations that hold all that together are treated and managed with equal measure. So, if you want your business to start seeing real return and value from your IT and business software investments, it’s time to work out where the most fragile parts of that are… and fix them.
What is a ‘fragile’ software integration and what is the impact?
Fragility in IT can simply mean that what you have made, breaks a lot. In a wider scope, that can mean something much bigger. A software integration that is hand-made or relies on simple API led-solutions; means that not only does the services it provides have a lot of outages or downtime, but it also breads an unreasonably high amount of maintenance and siloed knowledge.
Let’s talk about siloed knowledge for a moment. This is one of the biggest productivity killers in the modern IT department. The reason this is related to fragility, is because the more you depend on a single person for knowing how a specific integration; script or bit of code works, you create an organisational bottle neck within the service it supports.
For example, if you have an integration in place connecting your Service Desk software to you your HR platform, which is used to connect up service requests around new staff joining the company. When that integration was hand coded (perhaps using a few scripts and API connections) by that one person in the Sys-admin team (perhaps because they knew a little bit about the HR tool…), this knowledge is now locked in their head. Sure, another person could try and work it out and sift through some notes to see how it was setup. But in reality, the person who built it will be called upon every time it goes wrong, and they will then apply some sticky-plaster code to fix it, which will most likely go undocumented. You can probably see where I am going here!
The same principles apply across the management and upkeep of the integration. And it makes it a high-risk, quick to fail and fragile integration. Now, when you do this at scale and 75% of your software becomes tied together with odd and inconsistent bits of code, poor use of APIs which and loosely documented at best, you’re in big trouble. It is only matter of time that this while things come crashing down.
Why do businesses end up with fragile software?
Because it’s easy to do. I am not going to say it’s down to laziness, that would be unfair. However, I do feel that this often comes down to a lack of interest from IT leaders as to what their operations and support staff are spending their time on. Fixing broken integrations and API’s is often seen as ‘a part of the job’, but this simply doesn’t have to be the case. So, when that Sys-admin does end up disappearing for a day trying to fix something that shouldn’t have broken in the first place, this is perceived as ‘normal’ rather than the consequences of badly designed, implemented and managed integrations. Instead, there should be a top-level view of how much time and resource these issues consume. Then when that looks to be too high, meaningful action is taken.
What is the solution?
There are two actions to take really. One is highly pro-active and the other is more improvement or CSI focused.
Solution 1. Avoid building them in the first place
Easier said than done, that’s for sure. But as discussed above, look for markers that suggest this stuff is going on right under your nose and you didn’t even realise! Find out who’s bad habits (maybe yours!) are causing poor or old-fashioned integrations to be taking over your software eco-system. Is it a person, a process or just a certain piece of software that otherwise seems ‘un-integratable’? Find the chink in your armour and hammer it out. Also, make it more widely known across your team and business that the reason you have downtime, outages, slow response times and aging service requests is because you don’t have the resources to put robust integrations in place.
Solution 2. Modernise your strategy
Changing the approach to technology is a good start, but to really transform and improve the strength and resilience of your software ecosystem, you need vision and strategy too. Traditional strategies evolve around long term business goals and buying the right enterprise toolkits to get the job done. Modern strategies remove the need for ‘choosing’ one tool to rule them all, and instead focus on giving people the flexibility to build their system of tools, software and processes. This means giving all-levels of IT more transparent access to the business goals IT is working towards and also providing the permission and accountability to manage which tools end up in the business. Integration is one of the single most important factors to consider when moving to this way of working. This is because a quick, easy and agile way of choosing and using software and getting new tools to talk to the whole ecosystem from day one, totally removes the complexity and cost from traditional software integration and implementation.
Here at ONEiO, we have built a global integration hub, which enables you to connect up tools such as ITSM, Service Desk, HR and CRM in as little as one day. We have pre-built integrations for the most common software integrations such as ServiceNow, Jira, Salesforce, hubspot and SAP and our experienced team can help you to fully and seamlessly integrate the people and process elements of your business too.
If any of these ideas or challenges sound familiar to what you are facing in your business right now, get in touch with our expert team today, who will be delighted to learn more about your software integration goals. Or, watch a demo video about seamless ServiceNow, Jira and Zendesk integration.