ERP Integration: The Death of Information Silos

“Data silos” is a phrase used to describe a dated organizational system. The use of data silos and multiple ERP systems pose significant challenges to the effective management of data. With data silos, things go like this: Each department collects data in a way that meets the specific needs of that department, with no thought to the needs of the business as a whole. This is where ERP integration methods and consolidated ERP solutions can help.

Data silos are long past their era of usefulness. They’re inefficient and redundant; information relay is naturally delayed between systems when it has to be input manually and can only be accessed on-site. This can lead to costly errors. Information silos force your business to be the one thing it can’t afford to be: inaccessible. Trust us: we’ve done a lot of research on this topic, including integrating multiple ERP systems. Businesses now recognize the significant benefit of a common data source available to all functions; otherwise, they may be left behind. IT Ally has the knowledge and experience to help your business achieve ERP Integration, focusing on financial management and enterprise performance management. Implementing a consolidated ERP system and integration process can provide a seamless flow of information across your organization.

What is ERP and ERP Integration?

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An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is typically used by businesses across various departments to facilitate collaboration, risk management, and integration of technological processes. ERP systems generally are either proprietary or standard platforms, like Oracle Essbase or Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Platforms like these help enterprises improve operational efficiency and effectiveness by providing end-to-end process visibility across business functions like finance, procurement management, service management, etc. An integration platform can further enhance these benefits.

A significant amount of what an ERP system does directly interacts with the customer, such as billing and shipping, so it’s crucial the customer perceives a smoothly functioning organization focused on their needs.

Now, ERP Integration is the process through which a business connects its ERP software to other applications. In a sentence, it’s connecting data silos to the cloud and all other relevant sources of information.

Key Benefits of an ERP Integration

There are numerous immediate benefits to connecting the old method of data silos in favor of ERP Integration and integrating multiple ERP systems. Every person in your organization can work collaboratively on shared modules, such as customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, human resources, and many others. All while maintaining the specific needs of their functional area.

It’s incredibly easy for people to share information within the framework of an integrated system that still allows them autonomy over their respective areas of responsibility. The fact is that, through integration, these different applications can communicate with each other, share data, and essentially, although they are disparate, form one information system.

As a result, the integration creates what is known as a single source of truth, preventing any situation where there may be conflicting information between two or more different systems with no definitive way of telling what’s wrong and what’s right.

With this comes the option to connect legacy systems, like old information silos, so that the information they contain doesn’t have to be lost even if the system holding it is past due for removal. Integration also helps reduce employee training and knowing multiple passwords because instead of utilizing a series of isolated systems, you only need to know how to use one.

Then, if you want to add another system to what you have in the future, it won’t be a daunting task. Additionally, this increases data mobility. Information stored in the cloud instead of in a metal and plastic box on-site can be accessed anywhere, dramatically increasing work and project management versatility.

Potential Challenges

ERP integration does not have to be a challenging or intimidating thing! Very often, it goes smoothly, and businesses use it intuitively very quickly.

There are, however, some potential challenges to be aware of during ERP implementation, especially in cases involving complex transactions. Many of the challenges come down to individual implementations and the decisions made by the business and team behind them. It’s important that this decision not be taken lightly, as it will significantly influence the proper functioning of your business in the future.

Clearly understanding your goals, your team’s needs, and managing potential risks can cut down on a lot of the stress and difficulty of making such a change. Simply being aware of the systems you have in place and what you’ll need in the future, five, ten years from now, can be very beneficial. Doing research and being aware of the different possibilities is essential as well – perhaps you’ll find yourself to be well suited for an out-of-the-box module, or maybe you’ll need an individual, custom integration.

There are so many different kinds of ERP systems, and each one has a host of various features and functions that can make it challenging to find one that will suit your business needs. Some industries have particular needs, such as medical or legal practices, so creating a specific ERP system is a natural fit.

Another challenge faced with this kind of integration is the difficulty faced on the front lines: employees. It can be difficult to change from what you know, even if it is obsolete, and people are resistant to change like this. These two main factors – under planning and unwelcome change – can be a recipe for disaster. Luckily for you, there’s a great solution.

ERP Transformation Consultant

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Hiring a consultant familiar with ERP Integration can be the deciding factor between successful integration and failure. Expertise and a guiding hand go far in smoothing over the bumps that come with updates. IT Ally has experience guiding this change. We can walk you through this and ensure that you meet all your goals with as few snags as possible. We specialize in helping businesses transform their business processes into efficient – and most importantly – integrated ones.

How To Prepare for ERP

Plan, plan, plan. Plan for before the implementation, the implementation, and after the execution. A big part of ensuring success with ERP Integration is making sure you’ve adequately prepared for it.

There are many factors to consider when preparing for an ERP integration project. First, be familiar with the system you’re using, which you probably already are. Know what you want to achieve and what data you want to connect. Talk to your employees, get everyone on the same page. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

The IT team or even your managers may not be well-versed in ERP integration and may not know how to take on the task. If you don’t feel comfortable taking this project on yourself, hiring an ERP Transformation Consultant Company is not a bad idea.

Begin Your ERP Integration Today

It’s essential to take the time to plan and prepare for an ERP Integration. You don’t want to get caught off guard when you realize that your company is in dire need of ERP Integration and that you’re up against a looming deadline. So plan and make sure you have all the tools and knowledge needed before diving into this project.

This way, when the time comes, you won’t feel like a complete novice and will be prepared to jump right in! So if any of this sounds exciting but still a bit overwhelming, don’t worry – there are lots of ways we can help!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

ERP integrators are experts or companies like IT Ally that specialize in connecting a business’s ERP software with other applications to create a consolidated system. This integration process helps to break down data silos and enable seamless information flow across the organization​.

Integrating data silos refers to the process of connecting isolated data systems within an organization. These data silos, often department-specific, can lead to inefficient and redundant processes. Through ERP integration, these silos are connected, allowing for seamless information flow, which benefits the entire organization. This integration can create a single source of truth, preventing conflicting information between systems.

An ERP vendor like IT Ally offers ERP integration services, providing expertise and guidance during the integration process. They help businesses connect their ERP software with other applications and transform their business processes into more efficient and integrated ones. They can also assist in planning and preparing for ERP integration, offering tailored solutions to meet specific business needs.

While the webpage does not specifically mention the impact on supply chain and inventory management, it’s worth noting that ERP integration generally improves end-to-end process visibility across various business functions. By providing a single source of truth, ERP integration can enhance collaboration, risk management, and operational efficiency, which are crucial aspects of supply chain and inventory management​.

While ERP integration can often be smooth and intuitive, some potential challenges may arise, especially in complex transactions. These challenges often depend on the specifics of the implementation and the decisions made by the business. It’s crucial to understand your goals, and your team’s needs, manage potential risks, and be aware of the systems in place and future needs. Some businesses may be well-suited for an out-of-the-box module, while others may require a custom integration​.