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Anyone interested in implementing enterprise software solutions will have questions. In the case of software integration, business leaders want to ensure that they’re connecting the right platforms in the right manner to meet organizational goals and solve current issues. Below, our experts have answered five of the most common questions about software integration to help you create a single source of truth to run your enterprise.
1. Should we integrate our software?
If you’re considering a software integration, chances are you’re experiencing pain points in your business processes or desiring improvements to drive growth. Software integration can help with both, particularly if your organization is currently plagued by data silos, limited visibility and poor efficiency.
An integration automatically gives users access to the data they need, when and where they need it. Rather than manually enter data into multiple applications or search across platforms for vital information, employees will operate out of one system. This has the potential to powerfully reduce errors, speed up tasks and generate deeper insights. If that sounds like something that would substantially benefit your organization, a software integration is worth consideration.
2. Which data should we transfer, and how often?
This all depends on how you run your business and which applications you use or need to implement. One of the most common integrations for manufacturers and distributors is ERP and CRM. That’s because ERP serves as the hub for back-office data, whereas CRM consolidates front-office data. An integration will help back offices obtain a closer look at sales forecasts and customer information, while giving front offices insight into order statuses, inventory and products.
Business process modeling will help you evaluate your current operations and detect performance gaps, so you can determine which data should be integrated to deliver improvements. It will also help you determine the frequency and direction of data integration. Some information might only need to be delivered unidirectionally (flowing from one system to another) in a read-only format, while other information might need to be updated daily in both platforms, requiring a bidirectional integration (flowing back and forth between systems).
The important thing is not to overdo it. You don’t need all your data to be integrated bidirectionally in real time, but you want to ensure that users have critical information easily available to meet business goals.
3. Will integration hurt our data integrity?
Understandably, moving your data around could sound a bit risky. You certainly don’t want to muddy up reports and dashboards or let information fall into the wrong hands. That’s why you should make sure you diligently follow best practices during your integration project. A few of these best practices are:
- Cleaning Data: Before migrating data or establishing which sets will be transferred, get rid of any errors or outdated information, and make sure data is entered consistently. If you don’t clean your data, any mistakes in one platform will get replicated in the other.
- Creating Security Protocols: Ensure that data is only accessible to authorized users, and create a plan for handling errors or backing up data to avoid losing valuable information.
- Running Test Scripts: Test that data is being transferred between applications as defined. Be diligent during this process; it’s much easier to fix errors in test environments than in a deployed solution.
Though ignoring best practices will result in risks, the end result of a successful integration is improved data integrity. Data automatically flows from one platform to the other, so users only need to access data from their familiar systems and can reduce error-prone data entries.
4. How challenging is software integration?
For most organizations, particularly SMBs with little or no IT personnel, software projects are intimidating. In most cases, an integration will require custom coding, mapping and error handling—skills that might be lacking at your company. With a pre-built application, however, you won’t have to create a single line of code.
Unity is designed to be rapidly installed, transferring data between Epicor ERP and your CRM, eCommerce or Marketing Automation software without any coding on your end. Plus, our certified consultants will fully manage your solution after deployment. This takes out all the complexity that is typically involved in systems integration.
5. How do we get ready for the project?
As we’ve established, a successful integration entails developing a plan that enforces best practices and prioritizes business processes and requirements. It also helps to have an expert at your side. Find a software consulting firm with a wide range of integration experience as well as knowledge of your specific industry.
At Datix, our certified consultants specialize in providing support from start to finish, implementing solutions in line with each company’s nuanced needs. With Unity and our integration specialists, you can mitigate project risk and eliminate the hassle of traditional integrations.
Systems integration amplifies insights, increases productivity and maximizes the value of your software. For over 20 years, Datix has transformed manufacturing and distribution enterprises with Unity. Our scalable solution makes it easier than ever to connect your platforms. The only certified partner of Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and Salesforce, we’re leaders in ERP and CRM solutions and services. We also specialize in eCommerce and Marketing Automation integrations. Unity will give you a single source of truth to optimize your business performance.