Data integration involves bringing together information from disparate sources in order to generate meaningful insight. Reconciling data generated from software, equipment, and personnel across all of the functional areas of your business can provide you with the valuable information you need to make the right decisions.
However, combining these different sources of data can be a complex, and frankly, headache-inducing challenge. It can be quite difficult to know the exact scope of a data integration project, particularly when data is siloed across many different functional areas of your business. If you aren’t adequately prepared, the project could be plagued by mounting costs, open your business up to security risks, or simply fail to launch.
Therefore, before initiating any data integration project, it is necessary to take the right steps in preparation. While every company has its own unique needs, there are some general tips you can follow in order to achieve smooth and successful data integration.
Identify key stakeholders
- Who needs to be involved in this project?
- Have you involved a representative from each department?
- Does everyone involved have defined roles?
- Do you have someone who will champion this project?
Establish your key objectives
- Why are you undertaking this initiative?
- What are you hoping to achieve with this project?
- What are your expectations?
- What is your timeline for this project?
Assess your current processes
- What processes (both manual and automated) are currently in use?
- What legacy systems are in place?
- What (if any) cloud-based data stores are in place?
Identify your data
- What are you getting from your data?
- What do you want to be getting from your data that you aren’t currently?
- Do you know the source of the data?
Evaluate data integration solutions
- Is it affordable?
- Will you require additional hardware?
- Will the maintenance costs outweigh the value it brings?
- Is your in-house team equipped to use it?
- Will it scale to your business’s changing needs?
Monitor and manage
- Do you have metrics in place to track success?
- Do you see trends that will help future data integration projects?
- Is there a need to scale up or scale down?
Data integration is a complex undertaking that cannot be fully encapsulated in a checklist, but following these steps will set you on the right path toward ensuring that your team is on the same page and there is a plan in place for success. But whether you have a plan in mind, or you aren’t sure where to start, The SMS Group can help. Contact us for support with all of your data integration needs.