Every year, the technology needs of modern businesses get more complicated. Most companies have hundreds, if not thousands, of different tech products they depend on and seemingly add more every day. If those products don’t work well together, it can cause problems across the entire business.
Reducing the number of technology systems you use isn’t always an option. What you need is a technology infrastructure that enables integration between all your different tools. Too many businesses lack a plan for connecting tech across the organization. Less than one-third of IT leaders have a digital strategy that takes into account the full enterprise. That’s understandable. With the pace business moves at, taking a step back to make a big infrastructure change can be daunting.
Having a disconnect between products and departments creates silos that cost you in time, money, and missed opportunities. To correct the disconnect issue, you need to embrace a digital transformation that allows for IT architecture flexibility. The first step to getting there is creating a thoughtful strategy.
Why Having an Implementation Strategy Matters
A digital transformation project can help you get more out of the data and tools you have, and enable more collaboration between internal departments. You can’t rush into it though. Before you tackle any big integration project, you need to think carefully about how the process will play out.
If you’re going to commit time and money to change your IT architecture, you want to make sure your project addresses the main challenges your company faces. To keep business running smoothly, you have to minimize or eliminate downtime for your employees and customers as much as possible by creating a well-crafted implementation strategy.
5 Steps to Creating an Implementation Strategy
In our experience helping companies implement a tech infrastructure change, we’ve found that creating a successful implementation strategy should include five main steps.
1. Identify the Problem
“Digital transformation” may be a business buzzword at the moment, but being told you should make a change to your IT infrastructure isn’t a good enough reason to do it. You need to work out why it makes sense for your company.
This should start with the C-level, as they understand the larger ecosystem and scope of the problem. Once they’ve determined the primary business challenge to solve, they need to then work hand in hand with other departments that can help provide more details on the challenges a tech implementation project should address. By bringing everyone in the organization with a stake in the change into the process, you can identify and prioritize the needs the project must meet.
2. Choose the Right Technology
To make connections between all the technology products you have now, you’ll need the right integration technology. A product like MuleSoft or Oracle will help you achieve the level of integration you need to solve your current problems and realize greater IT architecture flexibility moving forward.
3. Build a Foundation
A functional IT architecture requires a solid foundation. Once you’ve outlined your challenges and selected your integration technology, it’s time to build that foundation. This step includes developing APIs for connectivity, establishing your security procedures, clarifying DevOps, and creating proper documentation.
4. Determine the KPIs to Measure Performance
As your technology implementation project is meant to solve specific problems, it’s important to make sure you measure its success in doing so. Figure out the best key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your main goals. Make sure you measure your performance before the project, so you have a comparison to see how much progress you make after it’s complete.
When determining the right KPIs, think both about your internal needs as a company, and about what matters to your customer. You want any infrastructure change you make to improve your customers’ experience, or at least not make it worse in any way.
You don’t want any last-minute surprises—especially if they put customer experience or employee productivity at risk. Before you implement your changes, test them out. By running tests—both regression tests and performance tests—you can make sure that you know exactly what you’re doing in advance and everyone involved has clear steps to follow. Testing both scenarios decreases the likelihood that you’ll face big problems when you launch and helps you work out a plan for what to do if you do run into issues.
How Better IT Architecture Flexibility Leads to Less Work
A successful IT architecture project that improves integration will help you achieve strategic IT-business alignment. It will remove silos that keep departments from seeing the big picture and working together, and it will cut down on the amount of work your IT department has to do to maintain the tech systems you depend on.
One AVIO client had four legacy tech systems, all disconnected from each other. Their data was in silos, they were paying for more functionality than they needed, and their IT had to attend to all four systems at once.
We helped this client move to a cloud-based system where all their departments could work on one platform. They were able to save money by retiring costly legacy systems and improve collaboration across the organization at the same time.
Getting digital transformation right requires developing the right implementation plan from the start. An experienced IT partner can help you craft a strategy tailored to your needs and priorities, so you can execute an infrastructure change with minimal disruption to your business.