Hendrik Siegeln reflects on a decade of joined-up thinking...

Integrating business systems and processes ever more seamlessly has become the Holy Grail of modern business within the last ten years in the never ending quest to boost productivity and profit.

It’s the reason why at Integration Matters, we have honed our expertise in integration services to become a highly sought-after commodity which big hitters such as a global leader in the sporting goods industry turn to when they want to optimize their performance.

Having started with just myself and founding partner Abdelghani Faiz, our team has expanded to 25 with a 270-strong global customer base, spanning from local businesses to international conglomerates. Now a decade on from the inception, we are marking the milestone with a move to new headquarters - ready for the next chapter.

Integration Matters Anniversary: 10 years of success - to be continued

The new office at IM-Park is a statement that we’re here to stay and demonstrates our intention to become more successful in the years to come. It may seem a bold assertion, but one we believe is more than justified in view of the company’s steady growth and robust resistance in the face of two economic downturns.

At the heart of our success is the stellar end-to-end process monitoring solution, nJAMS, capable of unearthing a new level of business process insights and real-time visibility across automated high-volume processes. Efficiency and reliability are enhanced while costs are reduced. Furthermore, the discrepancies and silos that can manifest when working across different time differences and cultures are addressed, all of which translates into significant competitive advantage.

Driving our own agenda

Having cut our teeth while working at TIBCO Software for six years, Abdelghani and I made the decision in 2005 to go it alone, though by remaining a TIBCO consulting partner, the links are far from severed.

Driving our own agenda plays to our strengths, as it enables us to shift our focus from the more reactive fire-fighting which we were doing previously to delivering strategic long-term projects. 

From our first customer, a leading European travel company and tour operator, our business grew quickly, thanks in part to word of mouth. Those we had worked with previously got in touch and many have stayed from day one. Evidence of the strong relationships forged.

Indeed, a personable style has been a defining factor for our business, with a hands-on style of self-promotion and customer engagement from the outset. Thanks in no small part to a genetic quirk, it is an approach we have found has reaped dividends, enabling us to make our mark in what is often a faceless industry.

Becoming the face of our business

Initially, it had seemed a natural decision to call the business Faiz \ Siegeln, but in renaming it “Integration Matters” we believe it better communicates our ethos and core belief that integration is the core driver of the IT world.

Indeed integration permeates every aspect of our entire approach with a lot of our team trained on early projects developing an inbuilt understanding and core expertise. It means we are well-placed to meet the ongoing challenges of an industry that has evolved considerably over the last decade, resulting in customers increasingly seeking our counsel as well as technical expertise.

An evolving advisory role

Central to this development has been a declining focus on the low-value tasks such as software installation and basic configuration work. At the start, 90% of our revenue came from product implementation, compared to just 16-20% nowadays. As these tasks are increasingly outsourced to India, China or Mexico, Integration Matters has been able to concentrate on its core expertise, namely high-value work such as project management which accounts for 80% of our remit.

Nowadays most of our clients, and especially the long-term ones, are engaging us to create a strategy for certain parts of their businesses. We can help them decide what technology they should use, how to improve their business processes and customer experiences. We are not seen as much as an implementer anymore, but as an adviser. This has been a real change for us.

And it’s not the only one. Technology evolves so fast now that in some cases the technical knowledge of today will be entirely redundant by next year.

Soft skills as well as technical skills

This greater fluidity has changed the company culture and our way of working, and the kind of people we now employ. Previously, those hired had to be data scientists who focused solely on imparting their technical knowledge. Now there is a greater need for soft skills and those who can communicate and interact effectively.

It’s more about how well they can interact with the business partners, understand the real business requirements and translate them into IT architecture. Our mission for the next year is to become the best possible partner. We really want to develop our skills and software to become the best possible combination for customers who need to understand how well their business processes functions from the very first touchpoint with a customer. After our 10-year anniversary look forward to the next decade of Integration Matters with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement.

About the Author: Hendrik Siegeln is co-founder and Managing Director of Integration Matters.