In my previous blog I already indicated that integrations was the subject of the Webwinkel trade days in Utrecht in The Netherlands. And in particular the issue of integrations in the broadest sense of the word. With issues such as: where is the focus of the company, is this online, offline or both? What is the purpose of the organization? How do we want to serve customers? (How) are we going to embed the eCommerce part in the organization? etc. These are important issues that underlie the eventual implementation of an IT solution or changing business processes.
In my field, I often see that if the above issues are not clear, there is a lack of a clear focus or vision, the implementation of, for example, an eCommerce solution can be a challenge if it is integrated within the IT landscape. The eCommerce puzzle piece must fit within the existing business processes and systems, which requires a holistic approach.
How do you handle it?
Below are a number of tips that will make an implementation run more smoothly:
- Determine the purpose of the integration or other IT solution.
- What do you want to achieve with it?
- What “problem” or issue does it solve?
- Determine the Return on Investment (ROI), and you will have an idea of what the budget should be.
- This helps to make the right choices when determining new needs/priorities.
- Determine the requirements and document them.
- Determine the minimum requirements that the system or interface must meet.
- In the case of an interface, determine which flows are sent back and forth.
- Determine which system is leading for the information.
- Document the necessary configuration.
- Make a plan.
- Agree with consultants and developers on what is feasible.
- Allow room in the plan for discussion and for issues that go back and forth.
- Ensure there is enough room for testing/rework and then testing again.
- Determine when you need it and whether phasing is possible.
- A well-prepared plan is half the work, so create test scenarios to help test faster.
- Try to test as much and as thoroughly as possible in one go to prevent the number of rework rounds. Rework rounds usually take a lot of time because parties often have to wait for each other.
- Configuration document.
- Also create a configuration document that describes how fields should be configured. If certain values trigger an action in the linked system, it is advisable to document this.
- Going live.
- Going live with a connection involves different actions in different situations. Make a Go Live plan which steps to take during the live fase
- Allow enough room for all involved parties to switch if something goes wrong during going live.