The Role of Systems Integration in Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has quickly become ubiquitous in the world of business. But as our understanding evolves, and even our ideas about what digital actually is perpetually shift, how do we define the role of systems integration in digital transformation?

As we approach the end of the 2010s, technology has empowered consumers to change the way they interact with organisations. As a result, the customer journey has fragmented into hundreds of micro touchpoints requiring on-demand customer experiences, like real-time content or live customer-service, all optimised for mobile.

The huge impact of digital on consumer behaviour means the corporate world is becoming more open to CIOs having a voice in company strategic planning meetings, with research showing 72% of senior IT decision-makers believe the CIO has become more central in the boardroom over the last two years.

Unsurprisingly, this has seen more and more business processes become digitised.

Digital Transformation without Systems Integration

This increased influence of digital means organisations now rely on a multitude of different digital tools to pursue their goals. Obviously, this is not a ground-breaking idea, businesses have always upgraded their tools, but the increased rate of innovation provided by digital transformation has accelerated the trend.

Decades of upgrading IT landscapes piece by piece, alongside the acquisition of entirely new systems in mergers or expansions, means many organisations now use hundreds, if not thousands, of applications and tools – some operating on different, and even conflicting, technical platforms.

Without proper systems integration, all this technology remains disparate and unable to interact. When you're using so many different systems which aren't properly integrated, managing the new customer journey becomes unwieldy and disjointed.

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This is a needlessly inefficient way of approaching IT, and, in the worst cases, an IT landscape that has been added to continuously, without proper integration to stabilise it, is prone to collapse.

Digital Transformation Driving Systems Integration

The popularisation of digital transformation means CIOs can push for more integrated solutions. Rather than just adding new tools to a cluttered workspace, they can propose a handful of solutions that work together to perform every business function needed – usually more effectively and efficiently.

Retiring outdated systems, obsolete software and unusable data enables a business to optimise their IT landscape, which not only increases its efficiency but means it can be moved to new systems with as little baggage as possible.

This is the essence of digital transformation – ensuring all business processes are digitised intelligently and interacting with each other to deliver greater flexibility. This empowers an organisation to better service the customer at all stages of the new customer journey.

The 2016 State of Digital Transformation shows that many organisations are already seeing substantial ROI on their digital transformation activity:

  • 41% of organisations have reported increase in market share
  • 37% of organisations have reported increased customer and employee engagement
  • 32% of organisations have reported increased traffic volume generated by web and mobile
  • 30% of organisations have reported increased in revenue

So, it’s no surprise that a report released in August by the IDC suggests global spending on IT is expected to increase from $2.4 billion in 2016 to more than $2.7 billion in 2020. Of course, all this new technology will need to be integrated in order to achieve optimal results.

Systems Integration, the enabler of Digital Transformation

Organisations now have to consider how any new products or services will function in a world driven by experience engineering, internet of things, big data, omni-channel marketing and cloud computing.

For an organisation to truly improve user experience in this digital-first, mobile-first and on-demand world, they need a completely connected set of technology. This is only possible with dedicated systems integration projects, which, when done right, go further than just aligning different technologies they help align an organisation with their strategies to achieve digital transformation goals.

In short, as the customer journey becomes a more connected and integrated experience across a multitude of channels, systems integration is the process that allows you to connect your systems to better meet customers at all points throughout that journey.

Getting the right systems in place and properly integrated is a great first step on your journey to providing better customer experiences. However, amazing customer experiences are made up of many, many different elements that you'll need to master.

If you want to discover the elements vital to successful customer experiences, download our "Periodic Table of Customer Experience". It's a great tool for getting to grips with customer experience and print-ready, for anybody that wants a paper copy.

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