Connected Enterprise Report: Top IT, Data Integration Opportunities


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Despite all the talk about the importance of integration to the “Connected Enterprise,” we have yet to see that vision fully realized. The findings from the annual Scribe Software’s “State of Customer Data Integration 2013″ study point to worryingly low levels of connectedness in the enterprise today. The survey was conducted in March of 2013 with leading software providers and consultants including Marketo, Znode, ON24, Trillium, PowerObjects, Ledgeview and Slalom Consulting. More than 920 respondents from companies of all sizes came from a cross-section of industries and more than 50 countries. Put another way, this year’s report offers a comprehensive, realistic view into some of the top IT challenges and opportunities faced by companies of all sizes. Below is a look into some of the most important insights.

IT Challenge: Low Levels of Full System Integration

Only 16% of the businesses reported full integration among their various business systems, a small uptick in the right direction from 2012 when 15% shared that their core business systems were tightly integrated. Partial integration is still the norm, with 10% of companies reporting complete lack of integration among systems despite general consensus on the importance of close systems integration – for example, 74% of businesses state that CRM needs to be closely integrated with their BI systems. This discrepancy represents the real opportunity: businesses need to stop agreeing on what’s important, and start doing.

Rather than chasing the elusive promise of Big Data, businesses today need to focus on integrating and making smart data available – data that leads to actionable business insights to drive solid decisions across the organization. And that means starting with integrating core financial data with key customer data – only 13% of enterprises today have a tight integration between their ERP and CRM systems. CRM-to-ERP data integration challenges are driven primarily by valid concerns regarding data security, governance and reporting. However, integration options have come a long way and are increasingly addressing these issues. These advances in turn will put data and systems integration at the core of the business agenda for 2013

IT Challenge: Growing Importance of Hybrid Environment Support

We’re at the intersection of a number of significant technology shifts happening all at the same time: the transition to the cloud, the promise of Big Data and analytics, a more mobile enterprise, and an improved, multi-channel customer experience. Applications and infrastructure are moving online – it’s no longer a fad. Hybrid environments are the new norm, posing interesting opportunities and challenges for IT and the business. For example, CRM is leading the way with 26% of businesses reporting a pure cloud environment for CRM, while ERP and BI systems are still predominantly on-premise.

We live in a best-of-breed IT and systems culture – business leaders continue to choose the technology solutions that best meet their increasingly complex needs. This trend toward coupling best-of-breed business applications, regardless of where they live, will continue to push our industry toward hybrid integration solutions that get the job done well, every time.

IT Challenge: Supporting Business Growth While Keeping Customers Happy

Regardless of where your applications live today or tomorrow, the top business priorities are consistent: growing new sales and keeping your existing customers happy and loyal. We heard those priorities loud and clear from all respondents in our annual survey regardless of function or seniority. 73% of businesses and 80% of systems integrators report revenue growth as their top priority; increased customer satisfaction and increased revenue per customer are the next top priorities.

To increase sales and maintain loyalty, businesses need customer data and they need it now. Expect to see a shift from talking about the value and need for Big Data towards actually integrating relevant and actionable data in 2013. Customer data is where the recurring value lies and fuels your sales, loyalty, and satisfaction

IT Opportunity: Hire a Partner – Systems Integrators Drive Higher Integration Success

Businesses that use the help of systems integrators see higher levels of systems integration across all core business systems. The critical role of third-party systems integrators is even more evident when reviewing the levels of non-integration between systems – businesses serviced by systems integrators all report some level of integration between their systems.

The Business Opportunity – Close Collaboration between Business and IT Leaders

Over 50% of budget ownership for core business systems today resides outside of IT. Although IT continues to own a sizeable portion of the budget, sales, operations and marketing departments together are responsible for 65% of the planned systems investments in 2013. IT is no longer a big black box under the sole purview of deeply technical professionals. Consumerization of IT and BYOD have forever altered the scales and are bringing all executives to the table – CEOs, CMOs, CIOs, and CTOs, to jointly tackle the growth imperatives for 2013. This prevalent shift requires businesses to shed operational silos and find ways to collaborate on driving business outcomes. Technology and its connecting tissue – flexible, increasingly cloud-based systems and data integration solutions – need to be accessible to all business leaders and help them get the most out of their joint IT investment – turning IT from an operational expense into a center of innovation and creator of business value.

I welcome your feedback, reactions and insights on this latest industry study and want to extend a special thanks to all our partners who supported the research initiative this year. Please join me on June 11th at 11am EST for a live webinar including analysis of the survey results and an interactive Q&A

Lou Guercia
As President and CEO for Scribe Software, Lou is responsible for Scribe's direction, continued growth as a leader in mid-market and enterprise integration as well as the company's entry into the cloud through integration-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings. He is a member of the SIIA Software Board of Directors and the MassTLC Cloud cluster.


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