System Integrators (SI) help combine hardware, software, networking, and storage products into powerful and functional solutions for their enterprise customers. They plan, coordinate, implement, test, and maintain these systems for the company.
As more companies undergo digital transformation, the demand for SI services has increased. Companies are using numerous tools to streamline or automate their processes. However, these tools operate in silos. There is an urgent need for an integrated ecosystem. The integrated ecosystem is more streamlined and enables the company to achieve its business goals. It also helps in improving people’s productivity and efficiency as they don’t have to spend time on laborious tasks.
Although SIs promise to integrate the disparate systems to make it a comprehensive ecosystem, they face certain challenges that make it hard to balance business expectations.
Challenges SIs And Companies Face During Integration
- Digital transformation issues
Most companies have well-established processes and systems. Their resources are trained specifically to use these systems and follow the processes. So, companies face resistance internally from the people during digital transformation. The absence of change management can make the job of an SI harder as they need to help the companies set new processes, establish governance, and train resources on using the integrated systems. They would also have to gain backing from the top management to go ahead with the integration.
- Difference in goals
Most conversations with the company involve only the technical teams. The core objective of an integrated ecosystem is to simplify the tasks of all users and improve their productivity. So, the goals can’t be set through the technical lens. Without a consensus from all technical and business stakeholders, an SI will not be able to go ahead with the integration. All stakeholders involved in the project need to be on the same page to take the project forward.
- Complex systems and software
From monolithic systems to complex systems with several sub-systems and non-standardized APIs, combining disparate systems can be quite a difficult task for system integrators. Sometimes there are concerns about IP and data ownership too. Apart from that, certain software, especially customized ones, don’t work seamlessly together. The system integrator will have to consider and maneuver these challenges while planning and coordinating the different systems and software. Before integrating the systems, they need to develop a plan to address the data ownership, governance, security, maintenance, installation process, and other such factors.
- Limited risk management
Risk management is one of the biggest concerns of companies. System integrators have to find a way to mitigate the risks and ensure that the systems are not exposed to vulnerabilities during and after the integration process. Security risk mitigation is not a one-time exercise. Integrators have to put a process in place to continuously monitor and test the system’s security to ensure its safety. They have to balance providing access to users, maintaining the process workflow, and securing the systems from vulnerabilities.
- Distributed or centralized systems
While integrating the systems, the SI has to decide if the systems should be centralized or distributed. Both options have their benefits and downsides. For example, distributed systems take less time to install, while a centralized system will have fewer failure points. They are also cheaper than distributed systems. The SI must factor in different use cases, budgets, and business objectives while planning the design.
How To Strike A Balance Between SI And Business Expectations
- Initiate change management
Change management is the keystone of a successful digital transformation. The SI must help the company embrace modernized systems and let go of the legacy systems that have been in use for a long time. They must help align the processes with the new systems and train the resources on using them. They must ensure that the company has the right set of people in the strategic and operational processes to make the digital transformation successful. A SI cannot proceed without initiating this transformation in technologies and mindset.
- Set common goals
The SI must urge the company to set common goals for the integration project. Communication is the key. Stakeholders need to put aside differences and reach a consensus. They must communicate with all departments to understand their challenges and consider them while planning integrations. Software may have to be customized, which makes the entire project complicated. Such problems can be certainly resolved if the requirement gap is bridged and a common goal is defined.
- Define methodology
Different companies will have their own processes and business needs. The SI’s must choose an approach that would work well with the company and meet their expectations. They must define a methodology that would help them manage the entire integration program right from requirement gathering to implementation and post-implementation support. They must ensure that the methodology covers all the compliance and audit trail needs and provide a framework to manage the integrated ecosystem efficiently.
- Support through partner programs
System integrators could consider joining the vendor’s partner program to gain technical, financial, and sales support. Some vendors also offer training and certification programs. These programs can prove beneficial as the system integrators will be better equipped to support the companies during system integration. In the case of failed projects, many experts end up wondering if the implementation would have worked if the customer had been guided correctly. Widely publicized implementation failures and their subsequent losses are a major takeaway for system integrators to forge partnerships with companies and support them through the entire lifecycle of system integration.
An integrated system is critical to streamline and automate work in an ever-changing market. However, it’s a complex process and needs experienced SI to manage it. The SI should have the domain expertise to overcome the integration challenges and lead to successful implementation.
At GroupSoft, we leverage our deep domain expertise to implement the right solution for companies.
To know more about our offerings, contact us.