Should data integration be so hard?

By Henning Lund - April 20, 2017

Too often, data integration has been associated with complex, slow and frustrating projects, with delays and scary learning and deployment curves. Is that the reality? Data integration projects should be easy and fast. Data integration solutions should be seamless and robust. Think Google, Facebook and iTunes. Now, think data integration. My guess is that you are seeing two very different worlds, right? Those consumer apps are amazingly easy to use. Just jump in, start clicking and become instantly productive. That is how data integration should be!

In the past few years, data integration has become a hot topic for the top management of many enterprises. Data integration is indeed a must if you have multiple business applications and silos of data that prevent you from getting to your data in a simple and meaningful way. Just integrating your ERP (for example Microsoft Dynamics AX) with your CRM (for example Salesforce) can bring significant benefits to your company. The good news is today, data integration really does not need to be a headache.

Read also:  Top 5 reasons why data integration projects fail

Get the best start on your data integration project

Before beginning a data integration project, you need to understand the environment and implications of the data integration project. Make sure you understand:

  • WHY you are initiating this project. Which benefits do you want to gain from the integration? What problems are you trying to solve?
  • WHAT you are integrating. You need to have a good understanding of the solutions you wish to integrate (and the specific parts of the solutions that you wish to sync).
  • WHO will be involved. The right people must be involved – all that level, whether they have a direct interest in the project (users) or indirect (internal sponsor).

Read also: Top data integration challenges

Avoid overcomplicating

Often, at the start of a project I meet companies that wish to integrate “everything”. This is a common but nonetheless very dangerous trap. If you don’t integrate data for a specific purpose, you quickly risk to make your project more complex and expensive just to have an even bigger repository of data that no one can (or want to) work with, because it's just too hard to work with. This is particularly true today, as Big Data has made more data available to companies than ever before. Take a starting point in the problems you are trying to solve and identify the business processes that you want to streamline. This will be a good start to identify the data you need to sync.

Read also: 3 easy steps to plan your data integration project

Secure fast, secure and robust Salesforce-Microsoft Dynamics integration

Nowadays, data integration does not have to be a nightmare and there are many data integration platforms out there that are fast, user-friendly, and robust. RapidiOnline, for example can solve your data integration requirements in a fast and secure way. We are using a RapidiConnector that resides in your on premise network connecting outbound to the central RapidiOnline Service and enables two-way communication between RapidiOnline and your legacy systems. This has the advantage that you don’t have to change anything in your network or firewalls in order to deploy the RapidiOnline integration. The connections from the RapidiConnector are all outbound to RapidiOnline. No inbound connections are made and no inbound ports have to be opened in your firewall. Your internal systems stay secured and protected. The communication between RapidiOnline and the RapidiConnector is using a proprietary protocol which is highly efficient in terms of maximum reduction of the total amount of data and the number of packages sent and received. The protocol first joins e.g. 50 records in 1 package thereby stripping off all meta information to only send the relevant data. Furthermore the package is compressed before sending. This results in the most efficient data transfer. This method can reduce the amount of data needed to be sent by a factor of up to 50. This dramatically reduces both the transfer time and needed bandwidth. And, because of the proprietary protocol and the compression it is practically impossible to decipher the data transmitted. This increases security tremendously, and, if extra security is needed, the data can also be encrypted.

Learn more: Sign up for our upcoming webinar: How to integrate Salesforce with Microsoft Dynamics AX

Super-simplify data integration with pre-configured templates

RapidiOnline has taken the benefits of data integration platforms a step further by offering out-of-the-box pre-configured data integration solutions that allow you to get started with your data integration project super-fast. Because it is pre-configured you spend less time on logistics and implementation – which is more efficient and cost-effective. The pre-built integration solution contains the most common integration points, and if this is not enough, it is very easy to create additional transfers or customizations.

Read also: ERP-CRM: 9 most common integration points

So, to sum it all up and answer my initial question: No, data integration does not have to be hard. It can actually be made quite simple. In reality, RapidiOnline changes everything by delivering a consumer app experience. It’s simple and easy, and puts you, the business user, in total control.

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