A Complete Guide to Avoiding ERP Integration Challenges
There’s no doubt that ERP integration presents wonderful benefits, however, there is no denying the daunting ERP integration challenges. Knowing what to expect is an important element of quickly realizing the ERP integration challenges that get in the way of your ERP goals.
Keep in mind that a primary reason for using an ERP is its ability to integrate data. For businesses, having a single definition for all information allows management to easily view the status of the organization and make decisions with up-to-the-minute data. A single source of information also means a reduction of duplicate data entry. Information enters the system once from the appropriate source and is immediately available to everyone. Still, the ERP integration challenges are real.
What Is ERP Integration?
ERP integration means connecting and synchronizing ERP software to other data sources and applications, to provide a unified view of information across different systems in real-time. Integrating ERP with other applications and data sources improves collaboration between teams and increases the efficiency of business workflows. However, there are various ERP integration challenges that organizations need to successfully overcome to make integration successfully possible.
Types of ERP Integrations
Some important types of ERP integrations that improve business operations and workflows that can cause ERP integration challenges:
- ERP-ERP Integration
- CRM-ERP Integration
- E-Commerce-ERP Integration
- Customer Service-ERP Integration
Some organizations, due to departmental requests, mergers, or acquisitions, possess multiple ERP systems that need to be interconnected to work as integrated ERP systems. In such cases, an ERP-ERP integration enables the provision of an accurate and consistent view of financial data and can cause ERP integration challenges.
CRM systems such as Salesforce Sales Cloud, SAP, and Adobe hold the customer contact information, however, for functions such as order management, order fulfillment, and shipping, and to connect the demand with supply functions, the CRM must integrate to avoid ERP integration challenges.
E-commerce platforms provide a contactless shopping experience to customers from the comfort of their homes without the need to waste time in traffic and commute. These platforms provide customers the capabilities to browse online stores, place orders and make payments without ERP integration challenges. However, for order fulfillment, these platforms must integrate with the ERP correctly to avoid ERP integration challenges.
Customer Service-ERP Integration
The success of modern businesses heavily relies on providing satisfactory and easily contactable customer service. Faster response and concern of the support staff improves customer satisfaction and keeps your customers coming back. To enable streamlined functions that ensure seamless customer interactions without ERP integration challenges, companies need to integrate their customer service applications with the ERP.
Benefits of ERP Integration
The intimidating ERP integration challenges should not dishearten you from taking the step, as the benefits of system integration enable companies to truly leverage data and deliver outstanding customer experiences far outweigh ERP integration challenges. Some of these key benefits are:
- Reduced Bottlenecks
Since sales documents are mostly scattered around, unless you have an automation system in place, it can greatly slow down the pace of processes. By automating data and document collection from different systems enduring ERP integration challenges, manufacturers can reduce bottlenecks and improve order turnaround time.
- Optimized Value Chain
ERP integration challenges when overcome lead to better use and a thorough view of customer data throughout your company’s value chain. This fuels accurate demand forecasting, better communication, and enables easy adjustment to changes in the marketplace without ERP integration challenges.
- Improved Customer Experience
As established above, excellence in providing a satisfying customer experience is essential for business success. Without ERP integration challenges, your company can achieve useful insights into the requirements of customers. With the right knowledge of customers’ needs and wants, your business can create tailored offerings. Having an integrated ERP technology enables you to further combine this data with additional online, offline, and 3rd party sources and provide a single, centralized customer profile.
Some Commonly Encountered ERP Integration Challenges
Specifically, organizations face ERP integration challenges while integrating various functional ERP modules with other e-business software applications, and while integrating with legacy systems. And so, successful ERP implementation is directly connected to successfully coping with the ERP integration challenges, and also understanding the nuances behind these ERP integration challenges to overcome them with ease.
For example, the ERP integration challenges of integrating with various functional modules exists because packaged ERP software comprises a variety of functional modules (production planning, inventory control, financial, and HR); organizations typically install modules from the same ERP vendors of the initial ERP implementation. However, not all companies purchase ERP modules from a single vendor causing avoidable ERP integration challenges.
The ERP integration challenges with E-business practice exists considering the combination of strategies, technologies, and processes to electronically coordinate both internal and external business processes and manage enterprise-wide resources. You must overcome ERP integration challenges to get the most out of ERP systems, ERP should be tightly integrated with other e-business software—Supply Chain systems, CRM, knowledge management, B2B exchange, and eCommerce storefront on the Internet.
Finally, the ERP integration challenges of integrating with legacy systems occurs considering accumulated vast amounts of data vital to the survival, operations, and expansion of corporations and non-profit organizations. ERP integration challenges of integrating ERP systems with legacy systems are more complex than the ERP integration challenges of integrating ERP modules and Integration of e-business Applications. It routinely requires the installation of third-party interface software for the communication between ERP software systems and legacy systems.
Challenges of NOT Having an Integrated ERP
- Without an ERP system integration, the movement of information through manual processes which are both slow and far less efficient. Moreover, the workforce engaged in these manual processes is unable to perform higher-value work.
- Not having an integrated ERP Can lead to data silos which can further cause inefficiencies, inaccuracies, and redundancies in data.
- Businesses face the inability to achieve customer satisfaction due to a lack of accurate and real-time customer data.
Understanding the genesis of ERP integration challenges is crucial to realizing how these systems evolved much more into a methodology and design architecture and overcoming ERP integration challenges. For example, le 20 years ago there were stand-alone applications that were merged into integrated suites called ERP. While some merely shared a database but not data definitions, others truly overcome ERP integration challenges by re-designing the applications to share a single definition for every object or data element in the system.