Strategic Integration: Business Building Tips from 2008, Part II


I've shared five ways companies used integration and integration-related strategies to build business and solve business problems in 2008. Here, I continue the list with five more business-building integration strategies.


Stop customers from abandoning the Web sale and the company. If your company does online sales-and who doesn't these days-you can improve customer satisfaction and potentially stop your company from losing customers by ensuring that information from the business Web site is integrated with the call center. That's the moral of a Harris Interactive survey conducted in the U.S. and the UK for TeaLeaf, which offers customer experience management solutions to companies. While the study focused on abandonment rates when customers experience problems online, it also showed that calls to customer service didn't help because customer service was generally clueless about the Web site.


Make users more efficient with better application integration. In July, I shared an Aite Group study showing how technology integration affected investment advisory firms. With advising firms, you want financial advisors spending time on clients and portfolio management-not frittering away time on administrative tasks and compliance. The study found that when IT created tight integration among the supporting applications, advisors spent 50 percent more time with clients than the average financial advisor. It also reduced their administrative burden by 33 percent and their compliance workload by 30 percent.


While you're at it, don't forget desktop integration. An Aberdeen report highlighted in November found that businesses could reclaim six hours per employee of lost time each week with better tools, citing in particular integration between enterprise applications and desktop tools.


Use MDM to fix spend analysis. It never hurts to help out your company's CFO-and one of the data complexity problems causing CFOs a lot of problems is spend analysis. One company reportedly reduced its overall purchasing spend by about 5 percent after using master data management strategy on spend analysis data, according to this Supply-Demand Chain Executive article, written by Jessie Chimni, a vice president for the supply chain business and technology consulting firm Bristlecone, Inc.


Address integration, pre-merger and acquisition. Companies aren't as adept at mergers and acquisitions as you'd like to think. Integration in particular tends to be an afterthought, according to this August CIO Insight article. In an effort to fix that, companies are starting to pay more attention to operations and other issues that involve IT before the merger goes through. The piece theorized that CIO involvement and focusing on data integration in particular could boost the success rate of mergers and acquisitions.


Also see Strategic Integration: Business Building Tips from 2008, Part III.