I have seen it all the way from the smallest boutique and workshop to the biggest multi-international enterprises and factories. The similarities are surprisingly many. Both parts of the spectrum have often found themselves stuck in between a rock and a hard place. Or literally between integrations and systems. Can we live without any of them? No, both are totally necessary to get your business to a decent technical level, to drive sales and to support your internal processes. So, what has happened then?
To rely on just 1 system can be dangerous, and we don´t want to put all eggs in the same basket. But it doesn´t matter how hard you try to maintain and think about your IT environment. Acquiring a company or other strategic decisions can change that from one day to another.
No matter if you choose 1 ERP or 100 ERPS and other specialized applications in your own IT-environment. Every new integration is the adding of dependency and complexity.
So, the reduction of integrations and the increase of control of your complete IT infrastructure can be both an efficiency boost for your organization and a direct cost decrease. With a closer vendor/partner dialogue and a complementing integration platform with interface capabilities you will learn that you might have systems that does things that others might do equally good or better. That´s always your step one. Ask yourself, do I really need this system?
Based on my own experience we tend to buy more systems because we lack strategy and knowledge about what we already have. And to live in this complex situation today you need to enhance your own capabilities regarding integration.
As an effect of a tangled legacy situation, I have heard quite a few creative ideas for how to get rid of it:
- 1 system in equals 1 system out. This will give you a status quo but at least not an environment which is increasing in number of systems once a day.
- 1 system in equals 2 systems out. Now it gets interesting, because in some cases this tactic works very well. It´s not only the fact that we reduce systems, but we also smoothen out processes as well as gets rid of unused or poorly used systems. And primarily it gives us the ability to see the root-problems clearly, which are:
- You didn´t evaluate your systems properly before buying it.
- You didn´t measure the usage/efficiency for the processes using the systems
- and you for sure didn´t have a proper off-boarding routine of systems.
The complex and agile future ahead will force you to become versatile. There will be dependencies to new systems due to new circumstances. But always remember that unique integrations towards a handful of systems is hard to maintain and adds a lot of risk.