ERP integration best practices
Following these recommendations will set your integrations on the right track. Which means you’ll enjoy maximum systems flexibility, centralized data, and increased efficiency of your teams.
- Start with drafting and perfecting your integration strategy. Is point-to-point or ESB approach better in your case? Set your expectations, choose apps, make guidelines, create a detailed plan, and check if everything aligns with your business goals.
- Assess the integration capabilities. Checking the key points where you were incompatible with your ex from the very beginning would save you a lot of time and nerves. Same with that ERP solution you have your eye on.
- Keep in touch with your ERP partner as much as possible for the best integration experience.
- When implementing more than one integration, move ahead step by step. Making one bite at a time is less risky and allows you to adjust the ongoing process.
- Keep your data clean and managed. Ensure data management according to the guidelines you’ve come up with when planning your ERP integration.
- Make sure the service has a sandbox account to use as a testing environment or to perform the integration.
- Think about the training format for your teams. Make sure your team has a guided introduction to a new software through mentoring, organized knowledge sharing, and/or video tutorials.
- Ensure technical support and system fixes. It’s better to prepare the plan in advance and enforce monitoring right after the integration. ERP in Fintech can be double trouble if something goes wrong.
It’s important to note that an ERP system has logic to consider. With payments, it’s easy: you make a transaction, it gets stored, that’s it. ERP system creates its logic to do something with that transaction. You must ensure the system does exactly what you want it to do.
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Communication is king
Poor communication is often the root of evil in software development. It can nullify the effort in every step I listed above. Let’s have an example.
So, there was Ordway billing integration underway. The client wanted to integrate it into their platform for nonprofit organizations, which used it to interact with and raise money from their supporters. Ordway would become the instrument for billing these nonprofits.
In the beginning, there were no signs of trouble. The development stage went smoothly, and then there should be the testing part. The client insisted that accountants would handle that and there was no need to engage my team, QAs.
And that’s where the client made a mistake that cost them time, money, and teams’ nerves.
Where the wires got crossed
The thing with Ordway was that users got billed only for the functionality they used. Accountants already had experience with that solution and knew which features were in active use. But one cannot simply test effectively without QA expertise. So, as the time for testing had almost run out, it became evident that there was still lots of work to do.
Both the accounting team and we were really short of time to establish communication. We were scrambling for information, and many key moments were left aside. For instance, fax users were left unbilled because there was no trigger in the system for this particular billing case, there was no data pushed. And there was none simply because it wasn’t communicated that there should be one, that fax was in the array in use. If we had the same mess in our team, that’d be a disaster.
What the client ended up with was a lot of fixing under tight time pressure and a couple of billing periods missing payments. Luckily, fax is not used often these days - with SMS, the profits lost would grow many times over.
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Avoiding the crossed wires
What I suggest for execs or managers supervising the ERP integration process is to ensure proper assessment and communication between everyone involved or potentially involved in the integration process. Thorough preparation will ensure the scope of work is not missing anything crucial and the whole process goes like clockwork. With a proper and timely dialogue between the accounting and the QA team, the testing stage of Ordway integration could go seamlessly.
In my team, communication is always the first thing in check, just as in the whole solution development team of INSART. Let us know if you need a hand with integrations.
Author: Vitalii Avramchuk
Editor: Svietoslava Myloradovych