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The Road to Real ROI : Extending Your IT Investment Through Integration

From my colleague, Tom Tennant…interesting way to think about integration and ROI for IT investments…

Okay, so you’re ready to build the bridge (you remember the bridge, right?) between your line-of-business (LOB) systems, whether that’s SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and so forth, and your data (structured and unstructured). How do you do it strategically? And how do you maximize that investment?

You start by making sure those systems work well together.

In our last post, we discussed how connecting LOB systems is great for your end-users because it provides them with a better way to retrieve information, which leads to more efficient work – and even better customer service. (Some could argue the customer service aspect alone justifies the investment.)

Now it’s time to figure out how to make those systems work well together. More so, it’s managing how data moves through the system – over the bridge, you could say – if it moves through the system at all. Or as Hyland Product Evangelist Carolyn Kane says, “Your information is only as good as how you use it.”

Let’s extend the analogy. You’ve built the bridge, but now you have to consider how traffic will flow over it, otherwise you’re headed for disaster. Or at the very least creating “fender benders” – or roadblocks – to lead to bottlenecks and user abandonment.

So we have to ask, is this bridge a one-way street? A two-lane road? Or a four-lane highway with multiple off ramps? How does our information flow from our enterprise content management database to our LOB systems?

Building the right bridge – being strategic about how information flows between systems and how end users interact with the data – yields great rewards: it eliminates bottlenecks, detours and roadblocks, leverages current software investments and improves data accuracy and worker efficiency.

Built right, you move beyond driving information from system to system across the “bridge.” You reach a point where, as Kane says, “you drive information right up to the front door.”

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