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      Overcoming Tech Stack Integration Issues for Ops Teams

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      Everyone wants to connect the dots in their tech stacks, and for good reason: keeping data clean, removing human error, reducing manual tasks, and more. But if the benefits are so clear, why do so many teams struggle to do it? We're diving in to the three top reasons plus how you can overcome them.

      Everyone wants to connect the dots in their tech stacks, and for obvious reasons:

      ✅ Keeping data clean

      ✅ Removing human error.

      ✅ Reducing manual tasks

      ✅ Driving powerful, multi-system automation workflows

      The list goes on and on.

      With the list of benefits being so long and clear, why do so few companies reach integration bliss? 

      Having had this conversation with hundreds of stakeholders who want their stacks integrated, I think that these three blockers are at the root of the problem: 

      ❌ Your team doesn't know how to do it (technically)

      ❌ Your team doesn't have a clear plan for doing it (data flow, rules, and conditions)

      ❌ Your team can't decide who will do it (ownership and resourcing)

      One would think that such straight-forward issues would not plague a solid organization, but the fact is that for myriad reasons, these issues come up regardless of the size or stature of the organization that we work with.

      Now that we know what roadblocks are most common when seeking to fully integrate your tech stack, let’s take a look at why these roadblocks come up and how to solve them.


      1️⃣ Your Team Doesn't Know How To Do It (Technically)

      This roadblock is an interesting one because it does not necessarily mean that a company lacks the know-how that would let them build the integration.

      The real issue here comes from a lack of understanding of who owns the integration and what tools should be used to complete it.

      Does IT own the integration or does RevOps?

      Should you use a tool you already have or should you procure a new one?

      Who is responsible for reviewing tools for procurement?

      Which team will use their own resources or use part of their budget to procure the services if internal resources aren’t available to complete the task?

      The list goes on.

      This roadblock isn't just one big concrete barricade. It is more like a series of potholes, speed bumps, and roundabouts.

      The more complex and nuanced a roadblock is, the less likely that it will be removed, even if the benefit of removing it is impactful at a strategic and tactical level. 

      And this problem does not get better as a company gets bigger and more established. To the contrary, it often gets worse.

      So what should you do to determine who has the tech and talent to complete your integration?

      ➡️ Identify which team(s) the integration impacts the most

      ➡️ Determine who will own the integration project

      ➡️ Evaluate your tools and resources to determine if you already have the tools and talent to complete the integration

      ➡️ Decide if you need to enlist outside help from a vendor

      ➡️ Set your budget and timeline for completing the project

      This will get you well on your way to solving for “how,” but there are still more blockers to integration bliss that need to be addressed.


      2️⃣ Your Team Doesn't Have a Clear Plan for Doing It (Data Flow, Rules, & Conditions)

      Integrations aren’t simply plug and play solutions.  Once you have solved the problem of ensuring that your integration can be done and that you have the tools to do it, you now have to define the integration.

      This is where most teams struggle because defining data flow can require extensive conditional logic and a high level of data architecture knowledge and it usually requires multiple teams.

      Which objects will map to one another?

      Will all records pass through or just some?

      Do we need to update existing records and under what conditions?

      How do we account for anomalies?

      Which system is the source of truth for other integrations?

      Again, a myriad of small roadblocks that can be negotiated in a myriad of ways.

      How to define your data flow:

      ➡️ Determine which teams and stakeholders should be involved in defining the data flow and get buy-in on diagraming this for your custom integrations, then, pick a lead for diagramming this process and owning data collection

      ➡️ Create a LucidChart (or Miro, etc.) for your integration to define the process of data flow based on your current business processes - be sure to include all conditions, if/then branches, etc.

      ➡️ Create a diagram or spreadsheet that defines which properties or fields map between systems

      ➡️ Apply these properties or fields to your diagram so that your diagram has all details included

      ➡️ Decide if your diagram is complete and then share it with the person who will be completing the integration to uncover gaps, surface questions, etc.  

      Once these are resolved you should be ready to build.


      3️⃣ Your Team Doesn't Know Who is Going to Build the Integration (Ownership & Resourcing)

      Once you have a clear owner and have defined your integration requirements, it is time to start building.  

      Of course, this person needs to have the skills to build the integration using the tools that you have chosen, but how do you go about choosing that person? 

      Do you do this build in-house or do you hire a developer?  

      If you hire outside help, do you hire a contractor or an agency? 

      These two simple questions can cause a lot of upheaval when it comes to getting things done.  

      Why? Let’s look at a few examples of how this plays out: 

      A manager or director insists on having your own IT department complete this integration because they have the skills but your IT department doesn’t have resources for this project for another 6 months.  

      You have a dedicated RevOps leader who wants to handle it but never can find the time because marketing and sales constantly have last minute requests that impact today’s revenue directly. 

      One person on your team knows a guy and another person does not like hiring solo contractors and prefers agencies. 

      The stories of disagreement go on and on and on… 

      How to choose your integration builder: 

      ➡️ Perform your own internal evaluation of options so that you can get buy-in from your leadership team, regardless of if you want this built in-house or by a vendor. This starts with determining if anyone at your company has the skills and then determining if they have time available and if their timeline aligns with yours. 

      ➡️ If you determine that you do not have the internal resources, determine with your internal collaborators whether you want to work with an agency or a contractor and why.  

      ➡️ Get buy-in from the necessary decision makers to move forward with either an in-house or vendor-led project

      ➡️ If you are going to complete this work internally, create a project plan, milestones, dependencies, timeline, testing groups, go live process, etc. 

      ➡️ If you are going to hire externally, define the parameters of your project, your budget, and your timeline and then interview 2-3 agencies or contractors who have a proven track record in completing this type of work. Confirm that they can build within your chosen technology solution for your integration project. Once you choose your vendor, collaborate on the items mentioned above in step 4 and get to work on reaching integration bliss! 

      The blockers between you and the integrated tech stack of your dreams are few but complicated and they are 99% surmountable with a solid grasp on these actionable steps that you can take to remove them.

      That being said, sometimes teams need outside help just to get over these blockers and get ready to build. If that is you, we understand and are here to help.

      Happy integrating!

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