Still searching for that killer business model or genius game plan? Get your head out of the clouds and realize that in the real world, it's not just about what you do but how you get it done. Enterprise process integration is critical to ensuring that all of the gears that comprise your business turn in tandem even if they're doing their own things individually.
Of course, knowing that your processes could stand to get on the same page and actually creating an environment that fosters integration are two different animals. Cloud-based services may just be the lynchpin in your attempts to get everything working together.
Sidestepping Common Integration Failure Modes
For every enterprise application integration success story, there are scores of failures. Why doesn't integration always work? Modern academics highlight many challenges, such as
- Integration projects costing significantly more than other IT undertakings,
- Projects succumbing to the dreaded scourge of scope creep,
- Poor inter-business-unit communication regarding critical processes, and
- Employees fighting changes tooth-and-nail.
Interestingly, working in the cloud may actually make such problems easier to solve. Although these aren't the only challenges that pop up in the middle of otherwise promising integration efforts, they're some of the most pressing. Getting them out of the way by using the cloud might dramatically improve your odds:
Distributed Computing Facilitates Superior Cost Control
Cloud-based enterprise integration makes it easier to monitor the costs of vital processes in real time. True, projects like integrating distinct APIs will always represent greater expenses than something like migrating to a single new programming API. Still, using distributed computing models gives you more freedom and flexibility to ensure that things work before you get in too deep. When your entire workforce is moving in the same direction, you can avoid costly do-overs.
Scope Creep Is Easier to Prevent If You Keep Yourself Honest
IT project management is more functional when it's transparent. Sharing project progress with your leadership team and organization forces you to stay honest by shining light on why things don't always pan out as planned and who should be held responsible. Even better, cloud-based management tools help you disseminate mapping information from the very beginning to cultivate a more widespread awareness of where complex integration projects are headed at any given moment. Having more eyes on your progress raises the likelihood that someone will notice when things start to go beyond the original scope.
Shared Data Promotes Consensus
Business units often have markedly different views of the same processes and their flaws. By making data accessible to stakeholders via the cloud, you communicate more clearly and cultivate shared perspectives. You'll never get everyone to agree on every aspect of your project plan, but you'll spend less time arguing about who's right when the evidence is in clear view for all to see.
Employees Welcome Change When It's Wearing a Familiar Disguise
People dislike sudden transitions, especially when they're accustomed to working a certain way. With today's leading cloud-based project management tools, you retain the freedom to keep using all of your existing cloud-based collaborative apps. It's easier to stomach the sudden shift when the backend changes but the process still looks the same.
Will the Cloud Power Your Next Integration Project?
Distributed computing drives successful integration endeavors, but it's just one variable in the equation. Centralized project management tools that tie it all together are essential for ensuring that you stay productive, focused and on target.