The power of connections; why integration is a key part of postmodern ERP

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Categories: Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP
October 17, 2019
ERP integrations

When speaking with vendors and implementation partners, it’s vital to ask whether the solution will integrate, how easy this can be done, and how automatic the workflows are.

As the speed of business increases, the necessity of finding a solution that works for your business increases as well. However, we no longer live in the one-size-fits-all world of monolithic ERP, and today’s businesses have more options than ever.

Following our last blog on the customization imperative that exists and the reasons postmodern ERP delivers for the unique needs of different industries, we would today like to turn our attention to the other part of customization: Integration.

When customized ERP only gets you close to perfect.

Postmodern ERP solutions like Acumatica are built around the company using the application. Through their industry editions, Acumatica Extensions marketplace, and a well-trained partner base, it’s easy for postmodern ERP solutions to get you 90 or 95 percent of the way to perfect.

Still much better than the “build your business around the product” mentality of the past, the postmodern ERP design allows you to get even more from your solution. However, this requires you to understand the last mile and the potential challenges you will need to overcome when it comes to the concept of postmodern ERP.

This said, if you are prepared to address and partner with a firm ready to overcome the pitfalls that could result from a postmodern ERP initiative, you can ultimately make your job easier.

Challenges in the last mile of a postmodern ERP initiative.

Complexity

Any time something is decentralized—or federated, in the words of Gartner analyst Christy Pettey—you add new layers of complexity to your business. While a solution may be able to do a single task more easily or make one department’s job less stressful, if improperly managed, it sometimes makes other tasks harder.

Complexity doesn’t have to overtake your business—it just needs to be addressed. Think of it like having a two-car wide driveway and buying a third car for your family. If you plan around each person’s schedules, you can avoid any unexpected maneuvering.

To address this, organizations need to understand the landscape of systems they currently have, the ones they intend to implement, and plan on a strategy to overcome the complexity. Often, the process of handling this could be as simple as developing a workflow or finding an integration.

Training

With a varying stack of applications comes multiple user interfaces, workflows, and processes. Though many solutions are more user friendly than ever, and with the right integration these solutions will work together, additional training will likely be required up front to make ongoing use easier.

As part of a larger initiative, you will need to invest in training on a broader range of systems, understanding when updates and changes will come throughout the year and planning for them.

Governance

If data is fragmented, maintaining quality becomes a challenge. This will become even more complex as data sources become more diverse.

To address this, proper governance becomes more important than ever in the postmodern ERP landscape. Ensuring things are in order before you make the move to implement solutions can prevent any unexpected challenges or potential for mismanagement.

Preparing for the move to postmodern ERP

Though many may be focused on the concept of digital transformation, your decision to embrace postmodern ERP will require preparation, planning, and the right partner.

Knowing this, the goal is to understand that systems will be more deconstructed than ever.

Start with a strong core

With postmodern ERP, there is still a core ERP, either as an on-premises or cloud solution, and this core is extended with certain specialist solutions. The core ERP would for example cover such areas as procurement, financials and order management, while special solutions will be implemented to meet specific needs.

In the decision to implement a postmodern ERP strategy, the core ERP product should be a top priority. Not only should the product be both functional and usable to make training easy and processes fast, developers should build the solution understanding that it is not the only product being used.

Understand the importance of integration

When speaking with vendors and implementation partners, it’s vital to ask whether the solution will integrate, how easy this can be done, and how automatic the workflows are. Integration is often an ‘easier said than done’ process for some vendors, and if you’re not prepared for integration initiatives, you can easily lose track of the complexity that exists.

According to Panorama, a vital component to managing pre- and post-integration is the ongoing management. After different components have been integrated, individual solution providers may change a component of their software. If that is the case, a refinement of the original integration may be required.

This makes the importance of finding a partner with the right skills all the more important, as the stack of applications you’re using will be unique to you, and your partner should have the expertise to make this work.

The right vendor, the right partner, the right solution

It’s hard to emphasize just how important a strong, easily integrated core ERP is to the larger solution-based landscape.

For example, one of the most common requirements is to integrate ERP with CRM. While there are many benefits, this is a surprisingly complicated request—especially if you want to use multiple vendors.

Few solutions exist that can provide the flexibility, integration, and functionality growing businesses need, and fewer still exist that are right for your business in the first place.

Acumatica Cloud ERP is built for these two concerns. An ERP solution that can be as broad or as narrow as you need it to be, you can easily connect the product to other necessary products your business needs to thrive.

Finding the right partner to help with your ERP selection, implementation and optimization is critical. NexTec has helped hundreds of customers identify, adopt and use business software solutions that transform companies. Learn more about ERP.