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Four things to know before launching a systems integration project

Remember that leading a successful systems integration is not a science; it is an art form. Develop a team of "artists" and ask them early and often for guidance. Team members are valuable resources and need to be treated as such.

By Phil Dayalu, Kaplan Compliance Solutions

The 4th quarter is a time when most companies are budgeting for new projects, including software investments. Whether large or small, a systems integration comes with risks if it is not approached with the right knowledge and planning.

Before embarking on a systems integration project, here are four things you should know:1. Know your business, the technology's goal and your role in the process. Systems integrations must deliver measurable business value; "because it's newer" is never a justifiable reason to move forward with a project. The delivery of value is possible only when the business project champion is involved from beginning to end.

2. Know when "good enough" is, well, good enough. Perfection does not always equal success if an entire project is put at risk to eliminate a non-critical issue. Instead, document the issue and address it at the appropriate time.

3. Know when to communicate and when to ask for help. Don't operate in a black hole by forcing the project champion and your team members to ask for information. On critical projects, it is not possible to "over communicate." Raise critical issues/roadblocks as soon as you know about them. Waiting to communicate that a critical issue exists until you've "tried one more thing" is a good way to lose credibility.

4. Know when to share both the pain and the glory. Instead of covering up mistakes, communicate them to your team and enlist the team's help in coming up with a solution. Remember that leading a successful systems integration is not a science; it is an art form. Develop a team of "artists" and ask them early and often for guidance. Team members are valuable resources and need to be treated as such. About the author: Phil Dayalu is the Vice President of IT for Kaplan Compliance Solutions, a provider of services and technology solutions for the insurance and securities industries to help manage the producer/representative onboarding process and career cycle. Phil can be reached at KaplanComplianceSolutions@Kaplan.com.Remember that leading a successful systems integration is not a science; it is an art form. Develop a team of "artists" and ask them early and often for guidance. Team members are valuable resources and need to be treated as such.

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