It takes a lot of preparation to fly a plane -- and just as much to run successful business integration projects. In preparing for these projects, one lesson we can learn is the importance of using checklists. Before each flight, a pilot must prepare a before-takeoff checklist. Checklists are simple but comprehensive, and they are also helpful in keeping an eye on the big picture. This is especially important, because business integration projects can become complex very rapidly. In this blog post, I will show you how the before-takeoff checklists for business integration projects work when you use To-Increase Connectivity Studio.
Preparation Is Everything for Business Integration
Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” For each business integration project, you must complete the following before-takeoff checklist. Whether it’s defining a source-to-target mapping or flying an airplane, preparation is necessary to be successful.
Here is your before-takeoff checklist for business integration projects:
- Has the business integration objective been identified? [yes/no]
What is the objective of the business integration? Connectivity Studio helps you to define a project before starting an integration.
- Are business integration process definitions and diagrams available? [yes/no]
It is important to have the business process clearly defined and diagrammed before you start working on the technical aspects of the integration. In my experience, this can be as simple as running through the process manually together with an end-user. For example: How do you process a shipment for a particular customer in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012?
- Are the business requirements defined? [yes/no]
What are the business requirements? Very often, regulations and contracts have an impact on the business requirements for business integrations. In Connectivity Studio, you can record all the requirements for a project.
- Have the stakeholders been defined? [yes/no]
Once the business processes are clearly defined, you can consider who the stakeholders are. It is critical to keep the stakeholders involved during the project and manage their expectations. For best results, stakeholders should come from the business groups as well as the IT department.
- Have any risks been identified? [yes/no]
What are the risks if a business integration project fails? You can identify appropriate countermeasures only if you have insight into the potential risks.
- Are test cases available? [yes/no]
Writing a well thought-out test case will improve the results of the overall project. A test scenario should contain the complete, step-by-step manual business process along with expected outcomes for each step. Please note: To write a test case you can simply use the task recorder feature in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 (See this post to learn how this works).
Let’s Hear from the Experts
Effective checklists usually are the result of the collaboration of multiple experts. Please let me know your ideas and suggestions.