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CHAPTER 3 Best Practices for Integration A successful integration project reflects the time and effort taken beforehand to prepare for the integration properly. Unless care is taken to set the goals and objectives, identify the existing processes and systems, clarify the vision of a successful outcome, and evaluate all of the benefits and costs of integration, the resulting project will not meet the desired outcome. Instead of set- ting up a plan to succeed, an airport might inadvertently set up a plan to fail. Airports that have integrated several systems and achieved results that met the expectations of managers, users, and customers have developed a series of best-practice integration steps that led to their success. This chapter describes the steps those airports have taken. Whether the airport is a small, medium, or large airport, the thousands of complex informa- tion processes and millions of pieces of data are similar. Adding to the equation are sophisticated technical systems, some old and some new, which can make the integration process overwhelm- ing. Therefore, using a phased approach by department or by functional area helps airports realize success. Integrating airport systems using this phased approach has proven more palat- able than the integration of the entire airport. Another way to look at it is: If your desk is full of paperwork, how will all the work be completed in a timely manner? A best practice is to review all the documents, prioritize the workload, and start with a small part of the paperwork before moving on to the next. Part of using a phased approach is performing a financial cost-benefit analysis of the proposed integration effort before beginning integration and updating that analysis along the way. The financial cost-benefit analysis can help an airport determine which functional area to include in the first phase and how much integration makes sense. Throughout the steps, the analysis is updated to reflect new information and the financial feasibility of the project is continually revisited. For example, it might become apparent that, although it originally seemed sensible to integrate the existing financial and maintenance systems, it turns out that it would be more cost- effective to get a new maintenance system that already has a built-in integration with the current finance system. By creating a long-range plan and using a phased approach that adequately reflects the prior- ities of the airport's business needs and objectives, airports have achieved positive results. After the objectives and information needs are identified, the data are scrubbed clean and data rules are then applied. Identifying specific business-critical information that is important to senior management can help define into what phase and priority the particular integration process falls. Within the stakeholder group described below, airport middle managers can help identify and deliver what senior management needs. If the integration effort is embraced throughout the air- port and is based on basic problem-solving approaches, integration is more likely to occur. The integration process involves many people working together for a common goal and exchanging information between systems accurately, in context, and on time. 16