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Best practices for IT integrations

Norm Thomas, general manager of I.D. Systems, recommends fleets make sure they understand why and how any system upgrade or integration will benefit their business before making the decision to invest.

That could include leveraging internal resources, external suppliers, or independent third-party consultants. Once the decision is made to upgrade and/or integrate systems, Thomas has four pieces of advice:

1.    Plan

Create a realistic plan with specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals. Define your integration project’s scope, schedule, and cost.  Create a “statement of work” to be completed from the integration. Anticipate possible risks and develop contingency plans.

2.    Design

Design the integration with your business processes in mind and a complete understanding of your current IT infrastructure. Ultimately, the goal is to improve your business processes, so start by documenting and reviewing existing business processes and the applications that support them. Start with systems that have been updated with their most current application and technology updates. Once these processes are fully understood, identify which components are essential and which are unnecessary.

3.    Communicate

Effectively communicate the integration initiative to everybody involved. Integration needs the cooperation of teams and individuals throughout your business. Work with all stakeholders involved.

4.    Execute

Implement the integration plan in steps, keeping track of results relative to your goals. Each step can provide insights into what works and what does not.

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