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How Hard Will It Be to Integrate Systems?
July 11, 2008 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
I’m Ed Sullivan, editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today’s topic is planning for building systems integration.
Not all integration projects are created equal. Some are fairly straightforward; others are just the opposite. Exactly how difficult it is to link systems depends on a range of factors, including the architecture of the existing systems, the hardware involved and the goals of the integration project. In some cases, integration is impossible. Even when it is possible to connect systems — other than ones designed for interoperability – functionality may be lost and gateways are generally required. All of that can lead to surprises when facility executives start receiving bids. What the facility executive wants and what the organization will pay for may be far apart.
The only way to know what an integrated system will deliver, what it will cost and how hard it will be to accomplish is to lay out a very precise specification. And the specification should be based on a careful analysis of the benefits that the integrated system will deliver. That will make it far easier for the facility executive to decide if integration is worth the price when bids start coming in.