“Integration” is an overloaded and overused word in Tech. It is easy to ignore its potential when we use it in conversations as a throwaway term.
Integration of people, process and tools are the core processes of any business. Technology aids by implementing this Integration.
In the spectrum of the possibilities of System Integration that is available to businesses, most people tend to sit on the different ends of it and call their implementation as the holy grail.
I have seen people with 27 cloud-based systems, all integrated through APIs and using a variety of hacks. I have seen monolithic ERP systems that do most of everything a business need. I have even spoken to business owners where their EAs do all the “Integration work” manually every day. I have worked with organizations that run on dynamic business application platforms.
While I have my preferences, lucky for you, I have chosen not to preach my practice of Integration in this post. Rather, I want to explore the Secret Powers an effective business integration can bring out so that you can dominate your market. At a high level, I see three sets of Secret Powers.
Secret Power 1 : The All Knowing
Integration of two seemingly disparate business activities can provide unseen insights when they are put together in a way that makes sense for your business.
The secret to knowing the secrets is this Integration. The knowing power makes you smarter. If you can truly understand where your ideal customer comes from, what their next need going to be well ahead of time, you can take advantage and serve them better than your competitors.
Say, you are a coffee shop, and you have a Pokemon stop right at your door step then you are going to be seeing more business than your nearest competitor. If you could prepare for the scores of Pokemon hunters that are going to be coming your way in advance and promote a “Pokeshot”, then you are going to be a lot more successful than before.
Watching what is happening in your locality and what your customers are doing is an important activity that not many do. Most businesses spend a lot of time keeping their lights on. They think that they cannot afford to do anything else. Many just react to events too late and poorly. Without preparation, any knee-jerk reaction becomes a bad execution.
However, Using Well Integrated business systems, you can gain insights from the day to day transactional data.
Secret Power 2 : The Well Deciding
Decision making is a crucial activity for every business. Day to day tactical decisions to long-term strategic decisions that are made over the lifetime shapes the path a business takes from inception to exit.
Just Knowing the market situation is one thing and genuinely understanding that is another.
Any Data that is required to create Knowledge about your business is already there. Every customer visit, their interaction and the transactions they make has a story. Understand the story, and you own the author.
Integrated systems, manual and automated, can provide you immediate decision-making insights. In a price sensitive market knowing the going rates for your product, services or resources along with projected sales and profits will help you make the hiring decisions swiftly.
Understanding which businesses are downsizing, which ones are being sold and become listed on the stock market may seem like the dinner time news items. But this information shapes economies and create fortunes for the brave.
In-depth understanding of what is going on can help you calculate specific options to making the next move. Good integration systems make it easier to take big decisions quickly and win.
Secret Power 3 : The Awesome Execution
Once the business management makes a decision, how long does it typically take to execute it?
Does your business achieve all the desired outcomes of a decision?
We see projects getting sanctioned, budgets created and people hired to execute projects all the time. But, over 70% of projects don’t meet all the desired outcomes.
Execution seems such a challenging task. But, Integration can bring super powers to execute projects right.
Knowing who is doing what, for how long, why and how they do it seems like useless information. When you have decision makers’ careers at risk and significant projects at play, this integrated information is what going to save the day.
No Business will voluntarily admit to any issues with their execution. After all, their offer to the market is based on this performance. But, what is typically forgotten is that they are no longer a start-up, and now they have a scale problem.
Scaling is a good problem to have when you see most starts failing in the first year or two. However, sucking at execution is easily solved with properly Integrated systems.
Quality assurance of execution is crucial. Whether it is training your staff or checking a document for missing information, verifying quality of a process is essential to business success.
The Quality of a product or service delivered to customers can be verified using automated processes. By adding check points over time, you will build a rigorous verification process that will ensure your output is improving in quality by many folds over time. Integrating this with customer care processes, manufacturing processes, training processes and hiring processes, you can achieve unprecedented levels of success.
By employing well Integrated systems, this can be automated and enforced. Execution efficiency is a key aspect to all project success.
You can insert all the legal clauses into engagement contracts and ensure the commercials are air tight but if you do not have the right people, process, and tools your business will fail at execution.
The Value of True Business Systems Integration is still unrealised by too many firms. Would you like to Possess the 3 Secret Powers of an Integrated Business? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org