When I was a child, my family regularly took long car trips to visit out-of-state relatives. To pass the time, my sisters, mother and I would sing songs and listen to comical music. One of my favorite songs from this time was Heywood Banks’ “Toast.” This half-song, half skit plays hilarious homage to the most common of foods, toast. Heywood lovingly praises the dish in the verses. In contrast, for the chorus, he literally screeches out “Yeah, Toast! Yes, toast!”
What does a silly toast song have to do enterprise software, you might ask. Well ….fall is the time of year that Gartner analysts think about the future and imagine what might happen that is surprising but relevant. We do this in preparation for our famous “predicts” reports.
One of the ideas we are batting around is when, oh when our enterprise apps will plug and play with each other. Imagine a world where order-to-cash could work seamlessly work across our finance systems, digital commerce systems, CRM systems and supply chain fulfillment applications. Imagine Coupa, Workday and Concur sharing data and process, like a powerful version of the apps we use every day on our iPhones and Androids.
But wait. Haven’t we been thinking about this type of seamless connectivity for years? And years? I can remember CIOs stitching together procurement systems with real-time integration tools 15 years ago. And 15 years before that – CIOs commonly installing extract, transform and load (ETL) tools to share financial and supply chain transaction data between systems. Nonetheless, toda I continually find many if not most of our clients unable, unwilling or failing to connect their solutions together. Almost every day I field a client request asking for help to diagnose a botched application integration project. What the heck is taking so long?
Well…..here is where I want to screech out TOAST! YES TOAST! Good old Heywood Banks . . except the word of the day is INTEGRATION! YES INTEGRATION! WELL INTEGRATION! It is the most basic of capabilities that we need in the enterprise (and from our enterprise apps vendors) to create our lovely, plug-and-play environment. Will this happen? It’s not if, its when. We have to get good at integration. It must be a basic competency of all enterprises. Let’s do this! Yeah, TOAST!