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The difference between CIOs who lead and those caught in never-ending reactionary cycles is often a strategic IT plan and integration roadmap. It’s the CIOs who take the time to create and pursue an integration roadmap that has the greatest chance of breaking out of always reacting to IT projects and leading them instead. That’s because the majority of inbound requests center on data, reports or analysis only deliverable by integrating two or more systems together.

Five Ways Integration Roadmaps Are Putting CIOs Back In Control

Based on conversations with CIOs across a variety of industries including manufacturing, distribution, aerospace, financial services, and retailing, five factors emerged that led to creating integration roadmaps and getting in control of IT spending and priorities. I’ve summarized these five factors below:

  1. Integration roadmaps are proving to be an effective catalyst for driving purpose-optimized integration strategies, reducing middleware costs in the process. CIOs who create and continually improve their integration roadmaps are prioritizing purpose-optimized integration strategies to more efficiently scale global operations. Creating real-time integration links between SAP and Salesforce is one example of how CIOs are using purpose-driven integration to reduce customer response times for information, improving customer satisfaction in the process.
  1. Defining a path for reducing ETL spending and dependence on logs to troubleshoot errors and measure performance.Reducing their dependence on ETL is giving CIOs and their teams much more flexibility in how they manage IT It is also freeing up system analysts to work on new projects instead of troubleshooting integration issues. With no automated error handling or recovery mechanisms, many CIOs are gradually phasing ETL out for more modern integration technologies that eliminate error logs altogether.
  1. Investing in the latest technologies that enable business process and application logic is making IT more responsive, helping them break out of a bureaucratic reputation. When I asked CIOs about the best way to increase responsiveness to internal customers, they wanted integration technologies capable of scaling across the back office and selling systems to make them more responsive. By having integration technologies that enable business process and application logic, the time-consuming, and often error-filled, the task of enabling new business processes manually goes away. And, when IT can react faster, their bureaucratic reputation is also on the way out too.
  1. Choosing to reduce and eliminate hand-built adapters and connectors from their IT infrastructures to free up support funds and time on urgent IT project needs today. One large-scale industrial equipment manufacturer has a staff of software developers and engineers who do nothing but keep adapters and connectors written in ABAP running across their ERP, Manufacturing Execution Systems, quality management, and supply chain systems. With production centers in the Midwestern US, China and Europe, the ABAP team is always busy, but never innovating. They are just ‘keeping the lights on.’ Having an integration roadmap is going to get this manufacturer out of the situation they are in today, which is draining dollars and time from IT.
  1. Move closer to quantifying the value IT delivers by showing how an integration roadmap provides support for cutting maintenance costs, consolidating apps and introducing new platforms. The ROI of IT often hinges on how effective CIOs are at cutting costs and still delivering a median or average level of service. By having a plan in place to attack integration challenges and costs, CIOs can immediately prioritize steps to improve service, reduce costs, and attain department and corporate goals.

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Louis Columbus
Louis Columbus
I am a Forbes contributing columnist, industry analyst and blogger, and serve as Director, Global Cloud Product Management at Ingram Cloud. Previous positions include product marketing at iBASEt, Plex Systems, senior analyst at AMR Research (now Gartner), marketing and business development at Cincom Systems, Ingram Micro, a SaaS start-up and at hardware companies. I am also a member of the Enterprise Irregulars. My background includes marketing, product management, sales and industry analyst roles in the enterprise software and IT industries. My academic background includes an MBA from Pepperdine University and completion of the Strategic Marketing Management Program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. I teach MBA courses in international business, global competitive strategies, international market research, and capstone courses in strategic planning and market research. I've taught at California State University, Fullerton: University of California, Irvine; Marymount University, and Webster University.

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