ERP Integration Experience: Customer Systems and Portals
The set of challenges encountered when integrating on the customer-systems side are at the same level as when integration is taking place within a proprietary premise or cloud-controlled ERP, only worse. In this case if one finds oneself dealing with this type of amalgamation the best thing is to remember the following axiom, ‘slow and steady wins the race.’
With this type of integration there are a host of concerns, but the big complication is typically derived by the fact that what a customer manager sees as a stable system or data mass may not be, and as the enterprise manager responsible for the offered integration, its going to be your responsibility to deal with either a fix, or abort the whole thing before it corrupts your own system.
I have found myself in this situation twice in my career and the ultimate results ended up being a 50/50 proposition. In the first case, I managed to get lucky with my counterpart on the customer-side since she really had her stuff lined out efficiently, on top that, she was smart enough to know that there were problems, and was already on the way to resolving them. In the end we worked together to trim up both systems successfully, once the work was complete both parties experienced great value from the integration moving forward.
On the other hand, however, my second experience was a nightmare, since my client’s integration proffer triggered my customer manager’s resignation because he saw the project was a threat to his on-going employment, and decided to bail early in the proceedings. Subsequently my senior manager offered me up as an analyst, and in the end there were good reasons for my counterpart’s resignation since his capabilities were of dubious quality. Unfortunately, however, my enterprise client, along with customer company ended up being hurt, and my integration project went down the drain as well, since I had to advise my client to pull the plug on the entire deal.
So, whenever you’re considering a customer-side systems ERP integration, don’t get too excited until you’re sure that you know who you’re going to work with since if the customer’s wetware is suspect, it’s also likely that the quality of the customer’s software and hardware will be suspect as well.
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