As summer is slowly coming to an end I decided to reflect on the first half of 2014. One of the things that struck me about the first half of the year was the number of conversations I had with people who custom coded complex integrations and were very happy to continue doing that despite the time it took. Maybe its because the economy is picking up in North America that companies are once again looking to streamline processes and searching for solutions. I don’t know. From those conversations I gleaned five gems that I thought I would blog about. So I titled this blog 5 lies your IT people told you about integration. This is not to slam IT people but rather to expose 5 issues senior executives have to be aware of when it comes to integration.
The 5 Lies
Integration is Easy: This seemed to be one that just kept coming up again and again. The refrain was always in some form of; “Oh, its not that hard we can custom code that”. It would come up on a call and the IT programmer dude would be giving me the gears about the complexity of integrations. They aren’t that hard to code. On the surface it sounded like technical grilling but I think there was more at play here. So ask yourself why your IT people think its so easy. Dig beyond the technical jargon and get them to build you a plan and timeline.
We can do it far Cheaper; This is one I just love. This is like the DIY guy trying to build a house. Geez that contractor is a rip off he’s charging blah, blah. The reality is you can’t do it cheaper. If you have the right tools and the right experience a seasoned pro can do things faster and cheaper. This one reminds of of the cartoon that is going around Linkedin. It says very simply. If you think its expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur. Love it.
You can’t possibly do it in that time; This one is always prefaced with a long dissertation on the complexities of technology and the particular process teh company uses. There is always a sufficient amount to technical jargon thrown in for good measure. The audience is not me but rather the person’s boss who has limited knowledge in most cases. It is designed to get the boss questioning your capabilities. The reality again, is a pro with the right tools can do things quickly and efficiently. If it takes 300 hours to code a basic integration and I can do it with the right tools in 30 hours where is the saving?
Our Business Processes are too Complex for you; I can’t count the number of times I have heard this one. The reality is a professional does analysis of the data flows prior to recommending or building a solution. They build on years of experience and solution creation to work up the best solution. Every business has its complexities. None are insurmountable they just need the time to be understood. The flip side is that most IT people also don’t understand all the complexities and in some cases are the worst people because they are only focused on the IT aspects and not the operational aspects of the business. You need to look at processes from both sides.
Finally the one I love the best.
Building it ourselves will be cheaper than buying your solution; What? You really believe that. I once bet a business owner that if his IT guy could build the middleware I was proposing selling him for the same price I would hire his IT guy on the spot. Nothing came of my dare unfortunately but the guy did stop and reflect. The reality is that commercial off the shelf solutions involve years of design, coding and user experience to get to where they are. You could argue that not all the features are useful or required, and yes I would agree with that, but the reality is you can’t build it for cheaper. The other issue that people refuse to acknowledge is that you only see what you want to see and if you don’t have a wider experience you will only build what you know. So its never cheaper to build it yourself, ever.
We also have a great infographic that lays out more reasons the DIY approach is not that wise with complex integrations. My own question to any business owner listening to their IT people is this. Does the investment in building your own solution build value in your business. If the answer is no then why try to build it.
We would love to hear your comments and experiences.