To integrate or not integrate, that is the question. ERP systems, such as Microsoft’s Dynamics, provide an interface that can synchronize data from other environments, maintain key data from other sources, and much more. By integrating, organizations can create additional efficiencies within your ERP system.
However, every business is different, so you will have to take into consideration the unique objectives your company is after and determine if those goals can be accomplished by an integration within the ERP system.
Some benefits of integration include the ability to upload both historical and current data onto a single platform during the initial ERP system setup as well as the ability to synchronize data from various software systems – such as payroll data or eCommerce website analytics.
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An ERP system can track most data and it is best practice to use an ERP system. However, some required data may not always be available within a system, so establishing the goals for the integration first are essential.
Identify Your Goals
How do you go about identifying and establishing those goals you ask? Through question and analysis of course. Question if you actually need to integrate or if your business objectives can be met within the current ERP system. If integration is the answer, then what kind of data do you want to integrate? Is this going to be a one-time integration or periodic integration?
Develop a Plan of Action
After answering these questions and determining the goals for the integration, the next step is developing a solid implementation plan. Like any good plan, it needs to answer the fundamental questions: who, what, when, and how.
Who is going to do what? Identify the specific roles needed for your integration and calculate the amount of human resources needed. Who is responsible for running, testing, verifying, and maintaining the integration? Assign the individuals responsible for each task.
After the integration roles are established, examine what and when the integration will take place. Figure out the destination of the integration in the ERP system and what the integration source information is. Then, create a timeline for when and how often the integration should be performed.
The last questions to tackle for your integration plan are the hows. How and which tools will be used to integrate the data? Common integrations tools include, but not limited to, Integration Manager, Smart Connect, Scribe, and SQL scripts. How will the source data be formatted, captured, compiled, collected, and verified? How will the integration be run, tested, verified, and maintained? The how’s are normally the most laborious to answer, but the more in-depth you go here, the smoother your integration will be.
Now that your integration plan is in place, I will just leave you with two final tips to hopefully prevent you from experiencing hours of integration frustration that many others have experienced. One, always fully test your integration before putting it into production and two, always verify the integration after each integration.
When implemented properly, ERP system integrations can streamline data across all departments to create a single cohesive professional ecosystem that can continuously adapt to your shifting organizational needs.
If you need help with your next integration, KTL has a team of consultants that are readily available to provide our expertise. As a Microsoft Gold-Certified Partner, we pride ourselves in our consultants’ broad knowledge on a range of technology solutions in different industries.
If you are interested in learning how KTL’s decades of consulting experience can help support your integration journey, schedule a complimentary initial phone consultation with us today.