Do you have an “Integration Roadmap”?

by Murad Fatehali, December 2009

Words like uncoordinated, disorganized, and undisciplined may not seem appropriate for the “modern” enterprise. But these are the phrases we hear from c-level executives when they describe their operations, describing supply-chain, finance, and HR in the back office, to sales, service, and marketing in the front office.

Having worked with some of the largest, most successful companies, the Oracle Insight team has the broad experience and unique skills to help business and IT leaders see the impact of having processes operate in a vacuum. We often find lack of process documentation (read discipline), disparate and redundant systems, fragmented data sources, siloed applications, and complex infrastructure that does not scale named as the primary source of enterprise problems. These problems manifest as inefficient operations, missed opportunities to grow top-line revenues and profits, not to mention the frustration customers face when dealing with the same company across different business units or across geographies.

There are many reasonable causes for the lack of integration across systems, processes, and data; M&A activity, expansion into new markets, and access to new channels to name a few, however, aligning business strategy with integration strategy should not be an after-thought.

Today’s businesses face a multitude of challenges, and getting something partially right quickly is often more advantageous than delayed perfection. Nevertheless, the time is ripe to determine an optimal future course for integration based on an evaluation of the unintended and inevitable consequences of some short-term decisions of the past, for example:

 

  • Using Excel to consolidate information from multiple plant system, resulting in excess and sometimes invisible inventories due to difficulty in monitoring/ managing production schedules
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  • Developing one-off interfaces between legacy & 3rd-party systems yet experiencing costly, time-consuming, and labor-intensive enterprise reporting
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  • Duplicating & synchronizing supplier databases as means to achieve integration, only to find procurement practices not taking advantage of company-wide volumes
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  • Storing customer information in disparate, disconnected systems across different channels (call-center, sales, field service, web-front, etc.) limiting your ability to identify high-margin, high-value customers

 

The strategically correct, albeit simple, answer that addresses most of these issues is to standardize, centralize, and automate as much as possible. But the members of the Oracle Insight team believe creating an integration roadmap that clearly shows the business benefits of addressing IT complexity, process indiscipline, and data dispersion to business and IT stakeholders can help prioritize integration initiatives to support corporate objectives. Additionally, a well-thought-out integration roadmap can help identify changes to the current environment, and clearly show how it will leverage existing investments to minimize disruption by providing a robust integration platform.

For example, a leading telecommunications provider in Europe with more than 1,000 applications and complex/expensive interfaces, adopted Oracle’s best of breed applications for CRM, Billing, HR, and Content Management and leveraged Oracle Fusion Middleware capabilities (like AIA, BPM, and MDM) to reduce integration costs. As a result, the company expects to improve its time to market by 30% and benefit from significant savings in creating its application landscape using pre-built integrations, as opposed to having to develop them from scratch.

At Oracle, integration is not just a slogan in our Complete, Open, & Integrated messaging, we have the requisite products offering pre-built integrations (AIAs and FPs), a complete suite of BPM & SOA capabilities & tools, data mastering solutions, applications (EBS, JDE, PSFT, and SEBL) that expose standards-based interfaces, a large numbers of reference customers already benefiting from our integration offerings, and finally the Oracle Insight team that brings the ability to quantify integration benefits that business can relate-to and IT can support.

The only question that remains to be answered then is: Do you have an “integration roadmap”?

For additional details on the Insight program, please visit: www.oracle.com/insight

 


Murad Fatehali is Senior Director, Industries Business Unit - Insight, at Oracle Corporation. Oracle is the world’s largest enterprise software company.

 

 
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