9 Best Practices for Choosing an Integration Solution
In previous articles, we’ve discussed making the decision to standardize on an iPaaS solution, like MuleSoft, or embracing the hybrid route. The pros and cons of each choice were discussed. And, we’ve identified common mistakes that trip up an organization as they analyze and make this important decision.
The way to avoid the mistakes, and the negative repercussions of a misguided decision, is to follow the set of best practices that lead to the integration solution that will support your growth and business objectives.
Start by identifying the capabilities that are needed. Create a matrix with rows for each capability and columns that help you identify “must-have,” “nice-to-have,” or “not relevant.” This will give you a basis from which you can compare and rationalize the capabilities of the solution that you choose.
Make sure that key stakeholders have a voice in the selection process but reserve the right to make the final decision. Allow them to contribute and dig into their requests and requirements. Not everyone will likely be happy with the choice you make, but having had a voice in the process will make it easier for them to get behind the decision.
Vendor Involvement (not Vendor Control)
Be sure that you are controlling the selection process, not the vendors. While a vendor may genuinely believe that their solution is the best one based on your needs, their goal is to make a sale at the end of the day. Plan on how you’ll deal with and respond to the pressure that a vendor might use so that you can avoid allowing that pressure to cloud your decision. (pun intended)
Have a Reasonable Skepticism
When it comes to third-party advisory research, be judicious in its use. We all know how these organizations work, but there still is valuable information in the reports and ratings that they provide. If you can relate with the criteria they are using for their ratings, it can offer another information point for your iPaaS vs. hybrid decision.
Seek Expert Input
When possible, consult with industry leaders. Ask how they solved particular problems and what solutions worked (or didn’t) for them. Remember, it isn’t the tool that will make or break the business or your innovations. It’s what you do with the tool that creates differentiators. Likewise, don’t be afraid to share information with those dealing with the same challenges.
Look for Communities
Similarly, find out what user groups and community support there are for different platforms. Are there local or industry groups that you can work with and talk to? Are they active? Passive? Helpful? Again, see if anyone has worked on the same problems that you know you’ll be facing. Recognize that your peers are more helpful than you might think. Our advice: make the connection and ask about their experience.
Pragmatic Due Diligence
Do your due diligence before moving forward with a selection and create a roadmap. Define the initial projects and how you will staff them. Socialize the fact that these initial projects won’t get you to your end goals but that they will move you toward them.
Have Success Defined
Create a success plan that includes business outcomes and technology goals. A success plan will give you the data points you need to measure the effectiveness of the solution.
Plan to Measure Impact
Plan on regular, even frequent, checkpoints on the solution’s impact. Use timelines that work for your organization – three (3) months might be suitable for your organizations’ first checkpoint, but six (6) months could be the correct period for another business. Set these checkpoints at regular intervals and then honestly evaluate the effectiveness of the solution. Are you seeing the value and hitting the goals you expected to? It’s better to admit a mistake and pivot than to plow forward and create more problems and technical debt for the company.
Making the decision to go with an iPaaS or to adopt a hybrid integration solution involves deliberate evaluations of the options you have and the future direction of your strategy and the business. This decision will impact your organization in a multitude of ways, today and into the future. The decision process will help you accentuate the positive while mitigating the negative.
Need help making this decision? Big Compass provides a MuleSoft Value Accelerator that can help guide your choice and give you confidence and clarity. Read the accelerator case study to see what one of our customers learned using this valuable assessment tool for their MuleSoft environment.