For many businesses, the integration and communication between increasingly important eCommerce websites and legacy back-office systems is an ongoing struggle. Often the problems can occur daily. Problems can be with system sync issues, data entry and access errors. These problems undermine productivity and good customer relations. This article is about why software integrations often fail.
1. eCommerce Integrations Cause Integration Problems
Integrations between systems become desirable because business users make investments in multiple software solutions at different times. Then they want the common data between them to transfer easily.
In an ideal world, there would be one fully integrated solution that meets all the varying needs of a business. A solution that allows data to be accessible to all parts of the business and flow freely.
Some big corporate software vendors claim to offer this. For example, Oracle, Microsoft or IBM. But, very often these are expensive to set up and maintain. Nor do they adequately satisfy all the needs of the business.
Individual specialist solutions then need to be connected through integrations. This can very often work well. But it can also be complex and unreliable. This eCommerce managers guide is a great guide to successful system integrations.
2. Connecting eCommerce To Other Systems Is Tricky
The rate of change and innovation in hardware, infrastructure and software has been and continues to be rapid and varied. Cloud computing has provided reliable and proven alternatives to on-premise investment in server hardware and dedicated co-located machines for maximising internet connectivity.
Nevertheless, concerns around security, privacy and regulatory compliance mean the challenge of bridging the gap between on-premise and cloud applications does not go away.
On the first examination, there are technical service principles and practical API layers that do the job of translating chaos into clarity. But for simplicity to arise from complexity someone needs to roll up their sleeves and sort it out.
3. There’s a Shortage Of Skills In IT & eCommerce
Software development and computer science is a complex and varied subject. Many claim competence where true or appropriate skills may be lacking.
System integration is a whole discipline and industry in itself. A successful integration project will involve a multi-skilled team able to bring specialist technical knowledge as well as an understanding of how business processes differ between departments. With general and widespread IT skills, shortage integration projects are further hindered.
4. It’s Difficult To Align People & The Vision
Successfully assembling a proficient integration team is only half the battle. Next, you face the daunting task of aligning everyone to achieve the project’s objectives. This alignment isn’t merely about addressing technical concerns. Instead, it’s crucial to clarify both business and process improvement goals.
By doing so, you can combat departmental protectionism. Often, guardians of various systems might be hesitant to collaborate, each having a unique perspective on data. Moreover, internal IT teams, eager to contribute, might assert their capability to handle the project. However, diving into such a project can be a gamble for them, given it’s outside their usual responsibilities.
The complexity escalates when you’re integrating with third-party systems. These external entities might be even more resistant to collaborating for an optimal solution. Encountering such challenges is, unfortunately, not rare. To navigate these hurdles, robust support from senior management becomes indispensable.
5. Stakeholders Experience Inertia And Never Get Started At All
When faced with the prospect of change it’s understandable why many businesses delay the decision as long as possible. The task often looks too overwhelming, and the workaround process is now familiar to everyone, even though it adds countless wasted hours to the day. Why go through the added pain of fixing what is only slightly broken?
The catalyst for change can often be the opportunity to upgrade one part of the mixed software set and starting with one sub-section is often a good way to reduce the risk and get an achievable result.
Software vendors are constantly evolving their solutions and building out additional features and functions that are more unified and inclusive in their approach.
By breaking down the barriers between business functions and having real-time access to a single data set the need for integration can sometimes be eliminated, which makes a strong argument for implementing omnichannel retail software.
Integration problems can have a devastating impact on day-to-day operations. Wasted time, reduced morale, customer disappointment and distracted staff are all symptoms of ill-fitting systems. The most forward-thinking businesses will review their systems every 2-3 years and look to see how they can scale what they already have or leverage new technologies for ways to do things better.
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