Systems integrations can make a big difference in your ability to launch new services, generate more value from data and systems you already own, and thrive through organizational change.
Systems integrations that connect people across the organization with information and software capabilities are critical when you acquire or merge with another company and need to create a coherent organization. It always takes a while for employee groups to mesh after a merger or acquisition, but when systems are not well integrated, their effectiveness may well be compromised and it may take even longer to bring everybody together behind the same goals.
When data generated by a merged or acquired company is left in a standalone legacy system, generally only former employees of that company will know about it and refer to it. If they enjoy privileged access to their former systems and nobody else does, over time their decisions and actions may take a different direction from their colleagues. If people have to navigate multiple software environments to see the merged organization’s customer histories, product versions, or other information, they will only do so if they have the time to do so or if they feel some important detail might otherwise escape them.
Bringing organizations together through integration
In the absence of integration, some areas of the operation might lose touch with changing business needs. For example, the maintenance department may not be fully effective if its employees can’t work with the information in the merged company’s former, computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), and the time and budget for training them on it may not be available.
As an alternative, you could migrate the merged or acquired organization’s data into your ERP, CRM, content management system (CMS), or other business-critical solution and thereby give everybody in the company access to what they need. Or, you could integrate key business management systems of the newly acquired or merged organization with, for instance, your ERP system and ensure a bi-directional flow of data. Either way would help people connect and collaborate across the enlarged company and result in unifying business activities and culture.
Integration from the network edge to the heart of the business
A comparable scenario takes place when you connect machines, infrastructures, and facilities systems to the internet of things (IoT) and thereby generate data from the edge of the network. Some companies capture that data on specialized servers and storage devices, often with analytics and presentation software to help people make sense of it. For employees who handle maintenance, manage facilities, or are in charge of production lines, this can be useful. But the information does not really exist for anybody else. An integration that provides even a digested version of the reporting on that data stream could be of immense value to demand planners, operations management, compliance managers, and others. Integrating core business systems like ERP or CRM with the IoT data intelligence can also be greatly helpful in planning and launching new, digitized products or services.
Integrations can facilitate change management
If you do implement systems integrations, they should be robust and easy to manage for IT when systems are updated. It’s always preferable if business users can take ownership of this traditional IT task and help ensure that the outcome of integrations in terms of data visibility and access to software capabilities is what the company needs. If they can, with some training, experiment with configuring integrations on their own, that’s even better.
Columbus integration and migration solutions have for many companies been instrumental in supporting organizational change, such as mergers and acquisitions, and have simplified the launch of new products and services. Manufacturer Dynea Group relied on them when it rebuilt its organization. Lead consultant and part-time CIO Jakob Ingemann says, “The business integration solutions helped us perform rapid and successful technological and organizational change at a large scale. They contributed to a much lower overall IT footprint and significantly lessened complexity, and made it possible to introduce the flexibility and scalability the businesses sought.”