Big Data has been on the horizon for years, but not all businesses are prepared. Enterprise organizations across every niche know this; 95% of companies realize they have unstructured data they need to organize and integrate but don’t have a solution ready. It may seem too big of an undertaking: quarterly goals demand attention, big projects can temporarily hurt revenue efforts, and no one enjoys a big data reorganization project.
But data integration with the proper integration and automation platform promises more straightforward automation, more scalable revenue growth, and a clearcut picture of your business. Get ahead of the curve by developing a plan. Creating an enterprise data integration strategy instead of jumping into the project without a plan can assuage those concerns, minimize anticipated revenue disruptions, and set the foundation for growth. Use this quick guide to get stakeholders on board and build a successful strategy.
Why an Enterprise Data Integration Strategy Should Be the Priority for Every Business in 2023
All business stakeholders need to have clear and organized access to data. Salespeople benefit from a precise analysis describing new leads’ origination and pain points. Financial teams need access to marketing and sales pipelines as a component of forecasting growth. Product teams must also know customer pain points and market insights to prioritize new developments properly. However, because these teams work on disparate platforms, the data is often disconnected, delayed, or simply unavailable.
Data integration shares all necessary information with qualified users (ensuring maximum communication with minimal security concerns). Organizations can do this through two different types of enterprise data integration strategies:
- One-Time Migration: Your organization needs to shift data or processes from fundamentally unaligned tools to more modern software that facilitates integration. This is a big project but a rare event (often reserved for mergers and complete tech stack upgrades).
- Ongoing Integration: If your data will remain decentralized but needs an “integration layer” to allow current and future tools to share information, you need a strategy for continual efforts that don’t impact other initiatives.
Either approach can be the right option for your business based on your current tech stack, the software your organization needs to thrive, and your standard workflows.
The Value of Enterprise Data Integration
While most business stakeholders will agree that better data integration and management is always important, they may not see it as urgent. However, in today’s data-powered markets, being able to analyze your business in real-time and have solid data-tracking infrastructures is a matter of urgency.
Monte Carlo’s CEO Barr Moses states, “In 2023, more and more companies will seek to integrate ways to track and monetize data generated by their products as part of their core offerings to drive competitive advantage. As a result, the onus on quality, governance and compliance will be even higher.” Without data integration, businesses will start to fall behind.
If stakeholders in your organization think there’s no choice but to leave data integration on the back burner, consider these key benefits that rely on implementing an enterprise data integration strategy immediately.
1. Consolidate Data From Multiple Sources
Even as early as 2020, enterprise-level organizations used approximately 75 tools in their tech stacks. That’s a lot of information and effort that’s not crossing over from one team to the next. With an integration plan, your organization can align those tools, so data from one gets shared with the others in real-time, and your analytics tools can make more complete pictures with the data. This also reduces manual data transfers, repetitive task completion, and lost information.
2. Use Your Tech Stack’s Full Data Analysis and Predictive Capabilities
AI and machine learning are significant components of any business’s 2023 strategies. Still, enterprise businesses can only utilize predictive analytics, AI-powered data analysis, smart suggestions and next-step recommendations with data they can trust. The best data integration approach moves your data continuously through a tech layer that can dig into all the information and create more accurate insights.
3. Avoid Blind Spots and Miscommunications
Inadequate data integration is a liability for your business. On a superficial level, it invites inaccuracies. Different teams will be operating with incomplete information. The problem also goes deeper: you won’t have the insights your competitors are using.
On the data governance side of your operations, integration allows you to manage your data better, protect it, and ensure it’s accessible and accurate.
But You Need to Start With a Solid Enterprise Data Integration Strategy
No organization can flip a switch and have all the data navigate through a seamlessly aligned tech stack with tools that can all read the data flawlessly. The wrong tools can disrupt business operations, and simply beginning a data integration project without sufficient preparation can overload your employees and make them resistant to the project. Your teams must know what changes are happening, why, and how they will impact day-to-day operations.
That’s why it’s vital to start the project by crafting an enterprise data integration strategy. This living document establishes the plan for combining, analyzing, and accessing data across your organization. It should clearly outline the following:
- All the different data sources that the project will impact
- The type of integration (centralized or decentralized, continuous or one-time)
- New data management and governance standards
- In-depth plans for the transition
Take These Steps to Streamline Your Enterprise Data Integration Strategy
As you create your enterprise data integration strategy, remember that your efforts here will set the tone and determine the project’s impact on revenue and employee morale. Take these steps to minimize disruption and provide clarity.
Create a Timeline
Establish the estimated length of the project from start to finish. Also, delineate the periods of most significant disruption for different teams who will be involved or impacted by the integration efforts. Financial teams can use this information to adjust forecasting models, and revenue teams can rearrange projects to keep workloads under control.
Get Buy-In From All Impacted Teams
Busy employees and teams under deadlines for other initiatives may resist data integration projects. It’s essential to get feedback, clearly explain the benefits they’ll see, and consider their time demands. You can revise your integration timeline to accommodate other teams’ pressing needs and garner more support. Also, these conversations can help you gain a clearer insight into what data sources are a priority.
Ensure People Are Available for Critical Tasks
Representatives from different teams must collaborate with your enterprise data integration strategy. Internal audit and information teams will need to craft data governance protocols. Sales managers will need to ensure data integration doesn’t cut off or jeopardize vital sources of information or leads coming through their pipelines. Have departments appoint representatives to ensure the data integration project fulfills their team’s needs.
Clean Up Data Ahead of Time
Data gets messy, especially if it’s been sitting in disjointed and legacy tools for a while. Attachment file types may be old, custom fields in one database may translate poorly to a new database, and there will likely be many duplicate accounts. Back up the data in its original forms, then devote time to cleaning it up as much as possible. Prep work here can help cleanup efforts go much more smoothly after the fact.
Identify Potential Silos
Ultimately, every enterprise data integration strategy relies on excellent communication. The project leader will need to know all the tools and data sources that should be integrated, but no employee has all that information. Seek feedback and details from long-term employees to create a plan for replacing or incorporating all of the tools in your tech stack.
Use the Right Software for the Job
The right data integration and automation software will be critical to your project. Choose a platform that can work with all of the business-critical tools in your business and fluidly move the data to make it useful in all of the different contexts of your business’s operations. As you consider platforms, look for the following features:
- In-built data cleaning capabilities to simplify human efforts
- The ability to accurately work with different data types
- Smart tools for finding discrepancies and potential errors
- Integration automation features for continually pulling data into a centralized system or through decentralized stacks
How Your Enterprise Data Integration Strategy Impacts Revenue Growth: The Short View and the Long View
Every data integration project will have an impact on your company’s revenue. In the short term, it can slow revenue efforts by diverting focus into in-house data cleanup efforts. Your teams may need a transitional period for adapting to new front-facing software tools, training on new data governance standards, and finishing up tasks that crop up along the way.
However, the medium- and long-term implications for your revenue are much more positive. Those benefits include:
- Cost reduction because you can more easily automate or eliminate tedious, manual tasks.
- Better marketing and sales efforts because of a more cohesive pool of data and smarter tools that can identify the best opportunities
- More efficiency, which allows internal employees to focus on more creative projects and resolves customer-facing bottlenecks for more customer satisfaction and retention
Put Your Strategy Together With Vertify
Start your data integrations on the right foot by choosing Vertify’s data integration and automation platforms. Our software can help all your existing tech stack tools communicate and share data, allowing you to streamline your current data integration efforts and make it easy for your business to adopt new tools in the future without having to run through another data integration project. Contact us today for support as you build your strategy, or schedule a demo to see our platform at work.
CPO & Co-Founder