If you’re planning a data integration project, it’s clearly important to know how to make it a successful one. Even if you’ve got a data integration service that you trust on board to do the technical nuts and bolts, it’s vital that you are clear about what you want from the project and how to achieve it. Data integration isn’t just about the techy stuff – it’s about building relationships and achieving long-term business goals.
Know what you want to achieve
There are lots of good reasons to instigate a data integration project. Maybe you want to:
- Avoid sharing data manually.
- Protect yourself from mistakes and data breaches.
- Make life easier for your team.
- Build in marketing automations.
- Get better at strategy.
Most businesses looking at data integration want to do all these things, and often more. But none of these things will be achieved, or at least not as successfully as you’d like, if you don’t also have one crucial thing: buy-in. This is the secret to successful data integration.
To gain buy-in, you need to communicate, plan and lead.
Planning your data integration
Start by looking really closely at where you are now. What systems are you using at the moment, and how are you using them? Who does what, with which types of data? How do you share data and what problems result from the way you do things? What works well about how things are right now?
By drilling right down into the way you currently work, you’ll gain trust far more easily. If your team can see that you’re investigating, listening and acting on their thoughts, they’re far more likely to believe that data integration is right for the business, and right for them.
People often love change, but even flexible, forward-thinking people will resist it if they don’t think it’s the right thing to do. Remember that, while your IT team or tech guru might be leading this process, pretty much everyone in your business will be affected by it. So talk to them – all of them.
Choose the right integration
When you know what you want to achieve, and you’ve got the confidence of your team, then you can get to the techy stuff. If you’re using a decent provider, this bit should be easy, as they’ll be able to advise you. You might well find that, even if your business is relatively large or complex, an out-of-the-box integration will meet your needs, perhaps with a few extras.
Some businesses will need a truly bespoke solution. If you do, it’s vital that you choose an experienced provider who can really see exactly what you need and get you there with the minimum of fuss.
Most of the time, if you’ve done the prep work well, your integration will work pretty smoothly once it’s in place. But make sure you keep talking and learning. Make sure you deal with issues quickly. If you do, you’ll keep that hard-won buy-in that’s so important to successful data integration.