At ONEiO, we’re considered vampires of the integration world because we been working on integration projects for a long time. From the dreamy ‘couldn’t have gone better’ projects to nightmare scenarios, we've seen it all.
Here we will look at some of the nightmare scenarios of projects that haven't gone to plan. They will act as a cautionary tale so you may avoid the horrible fate that befell those before. These are three integration project horror stores that will give you nightmares.
1. The Tale of the Endless Integration Project
Once upon a time, there was a large-ish business that was upgrading and migrating a significant part of their IT infrastructure. Along-side they were completely ripping-and-replacing their old and tired CRM and ITSM toolsets. They didn’t quite have the resources in house to manage it themselves, so they brought in a ghastly external consulting company, to help design the new infrastructure and write a project plan.
A month into working with the consultant, there were some great architecture drawings and some very slick looking slide decks around how the project would play out. But one huge area of the whole thing was missed...
According to the project plan, around 30 days of work had been allocated across to integrate all the legacy, existing and new systems. “Hey, how hard can it be?!” They thought. "It’s just configuring a few API’s and writing out a few documents to demonstrate how it works, right?"
But they were wrong. Dead wrong.
One year later, there is an army of new servers and backend services in place, a brand-new Salesforce implementation and a flashy new version of ServiceNow at the heart of the Service Desk.
But nothing talks. No data moves from one system or service to another. People are picking up the phone to chase up files they sent to be uploaded to other systems weeks ago and the consultant that designed the whole thing was never seen again. The company has been left with lots of new toys, but with no real way to play with them… or see any kind of business value from them. The consultant ghosted them and left them all for dead.
2. The Terrible Tale of the Integration Project that Made People Hate Their Job
Welcome to Big International Bank (which you have probably heard of, but we'll keep their name a secret). These guys are BIG but have a small system administrator team based in London. Once a week they had the delightful task of updating their own ITSM toolset with ticket data from around 3 other managed service suppliers.
Here's where the nightmare begins. The time delay in downloading/uploading the data, and then the added delay of having to normalize miss-matching field names meant data was never consistent or up to date. It was a futile process. So, the team was tasked with creating a more ‘real-time’ integration to allow a more seamless exchange of data between systems.
The team knew their way around building a script. One of them had learned to code in Python so it seemed like a straight forward task. Why hadn’t they thought of it before? However, four months into playing around with scripts, databases and thousands of lines of code, they eventually got to a place where data would pass around the integration a few times a day then just die.
By then, there was a large expectation from IT Leadership and the suppliers that this would be working seamlessly. The team would rush around every day, trying to repair the bad lines of code and find the data that got lost during the outages. But the truth remained. Hand-coding such a complex integration was a terrifying solution. It was too fragile and the systems had too many differences and variants, so there was rarely a standard exchange between systems.
Managing, maintaining and repairing, slowly became a full-time and very stressful job. Then one-by-one each of the System Administrators left the bank, never to be seen again. This left the bank in a tricky position where they had a crucial integration in place and no one in the company with the knowledge to oversee its success. Six months later the bank paid over £100,000 to replace its ITSM software.
3. The Tale of the IT Manager Who Knew Too Little (About API's)
Our final story ends in a beautiful mess...
It's 2016, the dawn of SIAM (Service Integration and Management) and a European retailer has launched a massive digital transformation project to sell more products online. A key component of this project was a wide scale SIAM implementation.
If you're not familiar with SIAM, for this company it meant hiring a third party to manage all top-level service requests. Then for those service requests to be farmed out to a selection of about 18 different suppliers and internal teams. The third-party was then responsible for overseeing the overall fulfilment of each ticket, including the management of SLAs and KPIs across the different suppliers.
However, setting this up was no easy task. It required a number of integrations between service desk tools, as trying to manually push ticket information around an ecosystem of that size is almost impossible. With the right technology in place, it could be achieved. However, the IT Manager who was leading this project under estimated the complexity. They instructed their team to simply gather the details of APIs and setup point-to-point connections between their own ITSM tool and each and every tool of their suppliers. Already sounds messy right? It gets worse...
The problem with APIs is that they are simply ‘sockets’ that other applications can plug into. There is no logic that understands the context of data being sent back and forth. Each API connection is unique too, meaning new code has to be hand written and maintained for every end point.
The IT Manager at this retail company didn’t really know any of this. He had simply assumed that API’s could enable a ‘plug and play’ network for all the tools in the SIAM environment. But in reality, what he had created in the end was a ridiculous set of API calls. Ticket data didn’t make any sense to the other systems receiving it and involved close to 50 new API end-points, which no-one really understood or knew how to manage!
The SIAM project was a killer. Not because the Service Providers couldn’t live up to their SLAs and KPIs, or because the staff at the various suppliers were unable to work together and collaborate over solving issues. As a result, logged support tickets and service requests hit dead ends and now haunt the network seeking the correct endpoints for all of eternity.
Read our success story how ONEiO integrated the supplier ecosystem of a pharmaceutical giant
Don't let your integration project become a horror story
As dramatized as some of these may seem, they are all based on situations that many IT organisations find themselves facing every day. Don't let nightmare software scenarios become the cause of your demise.
Whether it be through the use of poor technology or misunderstanding the actions required to implement effective integrations, modern businesses are relying more and more on broad ecosystems of services. Therefore, getting these projects right first time and avoiding the horror story has never been more important.
Do you want to share your integration horror story or avoid situations described above, please fill in the form:
At ONEiO, we are committed to ensuring businesses can seamlessly integrate ITSM tools and other applications across both their own set of services and their suppliers. 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.