How to Plan Your ERP Integration

No matter what ERP system you select and how comprehensive the salesman says it is, you will very likely need to integrate it with some other software. I know, you wanted a single system. You might be lucky but the odds are that ERP integration in some form is in your future.

You might have different ERP systems running in different locations in multiple countries. You might have legacy systems that still deliver your requirements and are specifically designed for your needs. You might want to use third-party systems that are the best of their breeds. They all need to communicate with each other. They all need to share data. They all need to work as an integrated whole easily and reliably.

The Possibilities Are Endless

How will they communicate? EDI, XML, text files, and API are all possibilities. Who will do the ERP integration? Do you have in-house expertise? Will you hire a consultant? You need to be sure they can handle your integration. They might be expert in your ERP, but have they integrated the particular other system in a way similar to your needs?

Do you need real-time ERP integration? Can you live with batch integration? There are a lot of choices to make.

However you decide is best for your business; there are some guidelines that make sense for any business.

Do it one integration at a time. Integrations are complex and you only have so much bandwidth. Think scientifically and change one thing and then observe the results. Fix any issues and only when you can declare that integration complete, move on to the next integration project.

After the first couple of integrations, you should have an integration process that will be the framework for your ongoing integration projects.

Set specific, measurable goals for each iteration. SMART goals should be a part of any project but since you will be integrating as a series of integration projects, you should have goals for each one.

Aim for a consistent integration process over time. After the first couple of integrations, you should have an integration process that will be the framework for your ongoing integration projects. The teams will change over time and the needs of each project. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel each time regarding the processes.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller