As retail IT infrastructure becomes increasingly complex, many retailers’ internal systems integration (SI) organizations are struggling to maintain the processes and resources required to support vital systems and applications. To make things worse, SI is no longer limited to technology alone, but has expanded to include broader business aspects of the entire retail IT environment and lifecycle.
Therefore, choosing a system integration partner is no small task. Below are five questions retailers should ask themselves when choosing a partner:
1. How will my system integration partner build the most effective program that meets my business needs, my budget and my timelines?
The ability to build an effective program relies heavily on your SI partner’s knowledge of the products and applications within your organization. This characteristic is vital to delivering strategic, high-quality services that are on budget and on time.
By selecting a partner that thoroughly knows and understands your technology ecosystem, you will save time and money while becoming more efficient and responsive across your business.
For the best project results, your partner should implement a structured program that includes all of the necessary building blocks of successful deployments – change management, quality management, delivery and architecture services.
2. Does my prospective partner have enough experience and resources in-house to create a comprehensive program?
To achieve ideal results, make sure your partner has seasoned experts and professionals on staff with relevant experience in the retail industry, technology and products. They should also be able to properly assign the most qualified resources to each task, per the program goals and objectives.
By outsourcing IT activities, retailers can re-focus on their core business, while the system Integration partner completes the IT tasks at hand. The partner should also routinely report back to the customer and provide complete visibility and transparency into all deployment processes.
3. Can my partner execute on a program that incorporates multiple vendors?
Be sure that your SI partner can successfully implement complex programs with multiple vendors. The partner should offer a structured plan based on best practices and proven methodologies, including communication programs that ensure successful planning, execution and management of the solution implementation and the business transformation process.
An effective communication plan helps guarantee that accurate and consistent communications are conveyed at the right time, by the right source, to the right audience, via the right channel. The result is a system that communicates important information to program stakeholders and sponsors and enables timely and ad-hoc decision-making.
4. Does my system integration partner know how to maximize the potential of my applications, while aligning them with my business strategies?
One of the most important characteristics of a system integration partner is its innate ability to unleash the full potential and benefits of your applications. With their deep knowledge of your products, they should already understand all features, functions and capabilities of the hardware and software that you’ve deployed. Thus, they should be able to easily analyze your business requirements and configure your systems in a way that effectively meets your objectives, while generating efficiencies and cost savings across your business.
5. Will my partner help ensure a smooth technology deployment?
As retail technology becomes more sophisticated, capable and intricate, practical implementations become increasingly complex, time consuming and costly. Therefore, it is important that retailers engage highly professional service providers with the experience and skill-set required to simplify and streamline deployment processes.
Whether facing system integration tasks of limited scope, or highly complex, , be sure that your partner can provide you with ideal solutions for any implementation needs. If you need help finding an SI partner, please contact the Retalix SI Services team today at email@example.com