Photo appears courtesy of Rhonda Oglesby. As I have said many times, in many blogs - if you're processing more than 20 transactions per day then you should be integrated. There are other considerations however when you're thinking of pursuing an integration solution. Take this short quiz to find out if you're really ready to integrate!
1. Is your ERP/accounting system integration friendly? If you're using an "out of the box" accounting system, the first thing you should do is consider buying a more robust package. Keep in mind however, there are a lot of ERP packages out there that will not easily integrate with a middleware solution, even one as flexible as Liaison's Delta/ECS. Some ERP packages have relationships with specific software vendors and you may find yourself steered in that direction. Buy an ERP system that will allow you to keep your options open.
2. Do you have technical staff who can manage the software? You need to decide if you want to manage the software and mapping on your own or if you want your software vendor and/or solution provider to handle it for you. If you are going to pay someone else to do it, be sure to get everything in writing when it comes to maintenance, support and upgrades.
3. Is your hardware up to date? It's going to be tough to find a compatible solution if you are still running Windows 95 on a 32 bit server. It just makes sense to upgrade your hardware while you are going through the process of upgrading your ERP and/or integration software.
4. Have you documented your business processes and data flows? This question speaks to the fact that you need to know what you want the software to do before you buy it. In other words, what are you trying to accomplish?
5. Have you established long term goals? Let's say right now you have 6 trading partners, all high volume. You don't want to buy a package that locks you into a 10 trading partner maximum when you could be adding 5 more trading partners within 2 years.
6. Have you determined a budget? EDI and/or data integration software can run from the thousands to over hundreds of thousands of dollars. Set your budget, and be up front with your solution architects. Don't waste your time looking at a $15,000 package when your budget is only $5,000. You're not getting that $15k package for $5k. Be realistic.
If you answered yes to the above questions, you may be ready for an integration solution. For more information about data integration, click below to download our whitepaper on what getting data integration right can do for your business. Or contact us for a no-obligation consultation - we are happy to offer guidance and advice on choosing a data integration solution.