I will explain the challenges and best practices that good software integrators should guarantee to their clients along with giving you some insights for finding the right partner.
By Dario Calamandrei
Head of Marketing and Sales
20 May 2021
When it comes to the introduction of new software, whether it’s custom software or a software product, the hardest part it’s always its integration within the software already present in the company.
In this article, we will go through the challenges of software integration and the best practices that good software integrators should be able to assure their clients. But first of all, why does this subject matter to most businesses? Why is it so crucial for a company to constantly introduce and update its software?
Upgrading software is crucial because not only implements the business unit, but in many cases it impacts the whole business. It’s a moment where a manager can align the business to its vision, create simpler processes, increase efficiency, or give a new interface to employees and customers. This is why software should be always a top priority for management.
Yet many times software implementation is not “so easy” because of the challenges software integration brings. Let’s see some of them and how to deal with them.
Software integration is a very tricky subject. It requires levels of expertise that in most cases cannot be found within a company, therefore an organization should rely on the right partner for this specific task. And when choosing the partner the company should focus on partners whose core business is software integration. Not necessarily an IT consulting firm, nor a Big, but simply a company whose employees are skilled and experienced software integrators that have already faced tough challenges through years of experience. Unwillingness to outsource the operations to a third party might result in a block. This brings us to the second important aspect of software integration.
When I say “choose the right partner”, I mean a partner with whom communication is clear and goes straight to the point. Often consulting firms offer a wide range of accounts, project managers, technicians, etc. But what really matters the most for a Manager is to speak with someone who understands the problem right away and offers a clear and satisfying solution, without all that back and forth with the consulting technicians’ department. In 2 words: Managers prefer to talk with very competent technicians, not accounts managers. Transparent communication and simplified information interchange are fundamental when building long term software integrations relationships.
Another delicate aspect is trust. A good software integrator has a strong track record of successful projects that deal with sensitive information. Trust is often blocking when it comes to sharing information and this is why many times Managers tend to value trust above skills. But be careful! Sometimes trustable partners lack skills, agility, and adaptivity. Those are the qualities that distinguish a good integrator from an ok integrator.
Flexibility and agility
An integration partner should be flexible and agile when dealing with the occurring changes in the project. Often, the more the project advances, the more a company realizes that needs also “this” and also “that”. Here an elastic approach can benefit immensely both the partner and the client. The client can take advantage of the responsiveness of the partner because it can pivot its needs as the project unfolds in a matter of very little time, and the partner can benefit from this approach because it helps to create a long-term trust relationship between the parties. The bigger and structured the integrator is, the more rigid and confined the project becomes resulting in a slowdown.
Ahead of some of the most common problems in software integration comes a clear definition of where the functionality should reside. This is because when integration occurs often many business units are impacted and therefore many managers rightly tend to maximize their units’ revenue. Software integrators must discern and guide the client to the right identification and allocation for functionality. Only partners with experience can juggle multiple demands and meeting deadlines at the same time.
I hope that those insights gave you the chance to reflect on software integration and focus on choosing the right partner.
At Extendi we have been developing software since 2005 and have gained, over the years, broad experience in the field of integration.
Head of Marketing and Sales
After a few years spent in consulting, Dario joined Extendi with the goal of boosting its market development. He is passionate about economics, sports, and music. He is an avid listener of Alain de Botton's and Rory Sutherland's talks.
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