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What are the risks of not having an integration strategy?

Large enterprises with many different systems need a clear integration strategy to manage data, make better decisions, and run their processes efficiently. Unfortunately, this type of strategy is not always seen as a priority. However, having an ineffective, unclear, or simply non-existent integration strategy can lead to several consequences for your business. As a result, we can almost guarantee that after reading this, you will immediately push the question of an integration strategy in the company you work for.

Consequences of an inadequate integration strategy

Loss of information

Departments and systems of the business risk operating in isolation from each other, leading to fragmented information, data silos, and difficulties in getting a comprehensive view of all available data. When different parts of the business cannot communicate effectively, information can be lost entirely, and the company misses out on crucial insights needed to make strategic decisions.

Increased manual work

Without an effective integration strategy, manual data transfer between systems becomes necessary, leading to incorrect data, slower processes and decreased operational efficiency.  

The cost of increased work associated with manual data entry and transfer, as well as having to maintain multiple separate systems, can be high. In addition, the costs related to rectifying errors arising from a lack of integration can also increase expenses.

Innovation stagnation

The lack of a well-designed integration strategy can also stifle innovation in your business, by making it difficult to implement new technologies or processes that rely on data from various sources and systems. As a company, you may fall behind your competitors who are able to leverage integrated data for innovation.

Decreased customer trust

If your business lacks access to necessary information, so will your customers. They expect to receive relevant information when they need it, and without your systems working together, your customers will quickly become frustrated and lose trust in you.

Increased IT complexity

In the absence of a well-planned integration strategy, systems and applications may be introduced and implemented differently, without a plan or coordination between systems. This creates a complex IT environment that's difficult to oversee, and that only gets more complex as time passes. Moreover, more time and resources need to be allocated to system maintenance.

Reduced analytics and reporting capabilities

If your systems are not seamlessly integrated, your ability to analyze your data to gain insights and inform strategic decisions will be challenging, maybe even impossible. Businesses can miss out on identifying trends, making accurate forecasts, and optimizing their operations based on data-driven decisions.

Increased dependence on customizations

By implementing new systems and applications in an ad-hoc manner, you'll become dependent on customizations for your systems to communicate with each other. Not only does this increase the complexity of your IT environment, it also means that scaling your business becomes more and more difficult, if not impossible.

Insufficient monitoring

When systems are not seamlessly integrated, monitoring of processes can be very difficult. This can lead to delayed detection of system failures or errors, loss of productivity, potential security vulnerabilities going unnoticed and missed opportunities for improvement and innovation.

Security risks

An unclear integration strategy can result in increased security risks, as there may not be a clear and consistent way to control security. For example, disparate software systems complicate access control, potentially exposing sensitive information. Similarly, data integrity can be difficult to maintain when data is copied or moved manually, increasing the risk of errors and unauthorized access. When it comes to incident reporting, like a data breach, it's harder to gather all the needed information and act swiftly if systems aren't integrated properly.  

Don't wait with your integration strategy

A solid integration strategy is crucial for efficient business operations, helping to prevent the issues mentioned earlier. Investing in such a strategy pays off with improved efficiency, more innovation, and sustained (or even increased) success. Implementing an integration platform can be a central part of it, coordinating systems, applications, and databases for smooth operations. You can explore the benefits of adopting an integration platform and assess whether your company shows any signs suggesting you need one.

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