4 Oct 2016

Nine Years In The Integration Business – What We’ve Learnt

October marks 9 years in the integration business for Integrella, so we’re taking this opportunity to look back over what we’ve learnt over the years with Marcus Davies, CEO.

How has the company developed over the last 9 years?

Integrella has changed a lot over the years. At first we simply thought that customers needed good people and that they were paying more than they should. Now I believe that customers also want companies to bring good ideas to them and hold their hand through the process of delivering change. As we work with more customers in different industries and with different needs, we are learning all the time. We are increasingly taking the time to look at what we are doing – and continually changing and improving to help our clients even more.

What was the reason you set up Integrella?

I worked for a great start-up technology company in the dotcom era around 2000, which I will never forget. I loved the buzz of working in a dynamic and growing environment and always came back to the idea of creating something similar in the integration field. I wanted to create a company which is great at what it does. I wanted it to be a great place for people to work and give them an opportunity to feel proud of what they do, and I believe I have done that.

Did you see a particular gap in the market at the time?

I think the gap I spotted then is still relevant to us now. I believe software integration adds a lot of value to customers because it’s about leveraging what they already have. For some reason there are very few medium sized companies focused on integration. The big systems integrators have great processes and products but are often expensive or less agile, whereas the ‘one-man-bands’ are not systematic enough. Our strength is in combining the agility of a small business with repeatable processes of a large systems integrator.

What value do you think you bring to your customers?

Our customers typically fall into one of the following categories, and we have a great track-record of helping them in these areas:

  • Customers who have an old integration environment / middleware, for example JCAPS, which in some cases may not be supported by the product vendors anymore – we help them to shore up their systems, or to select and migrate to new systems.
  • Customers who have some middleware but are considering migrating to Cloud – we help them to develop their strategy and implement it.
  • Customers who have middleware but are not using it optimally – we often do integration reviews for customers, and find many ways they can be getting more from their systems, and help them fix problems which they have sometimes been struggling with for years.
  • Customers who have no middleware at all, with disparate systems which are not integrated in any way – we help them develop an integration strategy where applicable, perhaps select an ESB, and then design and implement it for them.

What are your biggest achievements and what are you most proud of?

It has to be our track record of delivery. In 9 years we have had so many great customers, and delivered hundreds of successful projects. We are continually learning and developing from our projects. I am also proud that we are also completely self-funded – this makes as agile and autonomous, and we can work, change and mobilise in the best interests of our customers as we see fit.

What have been the toughest challenges? How has Integrella improved because of these?

Consultancy tends to be a feast or famine environment so the toughest challenge is to predictably grow the business and deliver on our promises. Also the constantly changing environments in the various industries can make it tricky to keep up. Changes to regulations, technologies as well as political and economic changes can mean we are constantly having to learn and innovate, and change our offerings as a result. I believe we are getting better at this all the time – after all – agility is one of the key benefits we offer our customers.

Recruiting great talent is another challenge, which we have recently been able to turn into an opportunity for us and for our customers. Because we have well-developed recruitment tools and methodologies, and have developed a fantastic pool of talent, we have now opened this up as a new part of our business – Specialist Resource Provisioning (SRP) where we can supply people to our customers on a short-or long term basis.

Looking forward, what are your biggest targets and goals?

During the rest of 2016/17, we are excited about continuing to expand our offerings, and working more closely with our partners on joint campaigns – in order to offer our customers the best services possible. As I mentioned, we launched our SRP service earlier in 2016, and we look forward to working with more customers, and more tightly articulating the value we can offer in this area. We have so much to offer in this space, because we have been recruiting and retaining specialist resources for years. It makes perfect sense for us to extend this service to our customers, and we seem to be going from strength to strength in this area.

An overall goal is to become top UK IT integrator amongst our peers and competitors in terms of the range and quality of services we offer. In the field of integration we sometimes see our customers suffering from delayed or failed projects, which we are called in to help sort out. Because we’ve seen first-hand what can go wrong, we are investing a lot of time to improve our services and methodologies to deliver projects better, faster and more systematically. We are also looking to develop our specific tailored industry offerings so we can cater to our customers in the specific ways they want. In addition, I think there are also plenty opportunities for us to work more closely with our product partners, and I look forward to driving some new synergies with them.

I’m looking forward to hitting the Integrella decade mark!

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