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Finding the right system integrator for eCommerce growth is as important as identifying the right technology. Why? Because system integration is multi-tiered, complex, and involves several stakeholders. To begin with, you need a system integrator that is experienced and understands the technology. Secondly, the integrator should understand your industry rather than being a mere transactional vendor. Add to this the need for an equally sound understanding of your business, and you’ve got a pretty extensive list of must-haves. 

Unsurprisingly,  too much can go wrong when it comes to system integration. This blog explores some of the most critical challenges you could face when working with a system integrator.

What keeps eCommerce companies from getting the most out of system integrators?

1. Lack of communication: The most critical, and hence the first, on this list. Communication can make or break system integration projects. The lack of it can lead to delays, misunderstood requirements, and a lack of alignment with business objectives.

2. Scope creep: The larger the integration project, the harder it is for system integrators to plan and scope the same. What might seem to be a reasonable timeline at the start can very quickly turn overwhelming once the variables kick in. This can easily result in scope creep, leading to increased costs, delays, and challenges regarding resource allocation.

3. Complexity: eCommerce companies use a mix of systems, including commerce platforms, payment gateways, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, inventory management systems, etc. – the list goes on. Integrating these systems with data mapping and synchronization can lead to several unpredictabilities and complications.

4. Security and privacy breaches: The complex systems we mentioned also contain sensitive customer information and transaction data. Dropping the ball during the transition phase can jeopardize this data and lead to breaches and legal issues.

5. Customization complexities: System integrators that use a cookie-cutter approach might give the impression of great time-to-value, but this usually comes at the risk of ignored business requirements. On the other hand, over-customizing systems can lead to stability issues that hinder eCommerce performance. System integrators often find it challenging to balance these two extremes.

6. Technical issues: Glitches, bugs, and bottlenecks are all inevitable in system integration projects. However, the real challenge arises when these issues lead to delays, technical debt, and spillover into customer experience. 

7. Disruption: When you allocate internal teams to work with system integrators, the situation can disrupt mission-critical activities and processes.

8. Prolonged lock-in: System integration projects are highly technical, which leads to the possibility of disproportionate dependency on single vendors. If projects eventually fall behind timelines or fail to meet objectives, businesses have no option but to stick with the initial vendor because of this dependency. 

9. A lack of change management: Integrating new systems requires changes in existing business processes and workflows. Similarly, you must train employees on new systems to ensure they make the most of them. Inefficiency in managing these changes leads to resistance to adopting these new systems and prevents businesses from making the most of the integration.

Mitigating these challenges is difficult. And this is why eCommerce companies must work closely with system integrators to create a clear project plan, define roles and responsibilities, outline targets and milestones, and communicate effectively when undertaking system integration projects. You must work with your system integrator to set realistic expectations, conduct regular testing, and develop contingency plans in case important milestones are not achievable. For system integrations to benefit your business, finding a system integrator that works more like a partner and less like a transactional vendor is crucial.

About Pivotree: Pivotree designs, builds, and manages frictionless commerce experiences for brands and their customers around the world. We provide end-to-end solutions and services in Commerce, Data Management, and Supply Chain for hundreds of brands globally.