To be a successful marketer, integrating data across systems is a must. You need to enable your team to see a holistic picture of customer data in order to deploy effective campaigns that target the right audience, at the right time, with the right message. That only happens when you have access to clean, updated, and accurate data.
How do you ensure data is correct across your most-used systems? By enabling data to flow from one tool to another using data integrations. But there are some issues that might be standing in the way of complete data harmony. Here are 7 data integration difficulties marketers face when tools don’t integrate well.
Challenge #1: Isolation
In most cases, applications are built and deployed in isolation, making data integration an afterthought. In an ideal world, business professionals would build and deploy business applications with data integration challenges in mind, so that they’d already be thinking about how to tackle issues like the workflows of their colleagues, as well as compliance and future technology upgrades and additions.
Challenge #2: Business needs
Even if an enterprise employs a few standardized database systems, it’s more likely that it uses multiple data products that don’t automatically work together. Aside from systems, companies have a variety of data, and a lot of it, employed through CRMs, marketing, support, and finance systems.
Challenge #3: Department needs
A given department’s needs and reasons for using applications continually change, requiring the use of new applications. For instance, when the marketing or sales department needs to employ a great application that will revolutionize how they do business, it’s likely that the app will need to integrate with non-compliant systems. The process is unintentionally designed to serve data integration needs as secondary to business activities.
Challenge #4: Technological advancements
Innovative IT engineers will forever be generating new and improved products that meet mission-critical processes that no other application can serve. Unfortunately, again, integrating the data is not top-of-mind for IT professionals. It’s a job that’s essentially the user’s problem.
Challenge #5: Data problems
There is nothing that brings data problems to the forefront like the data-integration process. The process brings to light challenges with data integration when data is incorrect, missing, uses the wrong format, incomplete, and so on. Before onboarding systems, businesses should first profile data to assess its quality—for both the data source and the environment in which it will integrate.
Challenge #6: Timing
Any data-integration system that doesn’t take into account how to deliver real-time data as well as periodic access isn’t worth its salt. For an integration solution to work, it must be able to handle real-time needs and batch updates to suit the business activities it’s designed to support.
Challenge #7: It works today…
But will it work tomorrow? Let’s say you’ve put in the long, hard hours getting your existing data-integration platform to work for your existing business systems. But what about tomorrow? As technology changes and you add new applications and management systems, will the platform work to seamlessly integrate these new data requirements? Forward-thinking companies take future needs into account when choosing a data-integration solution.
For an enterprise to use an array of critical applications, the systems must be able to effectively use data, seamlessly sourcing it from where it’s located to where it can be used. Even though data integration difficulties are—and always will be for at least the near future—a reality, the systems still greatly benefit corporations. Strategic project planning, and inclusion of critical team members, leads to a successful integration process, overcoming the challenges inherent to integrating data.
Ultimately, effective, comprehensive integration procedures leads to a unified view of highly usable data. Enterprise can achieve these goals by partnering with a data-integration provider who understands these challenges and has the foresight to generate compliant systems.