3 EASY STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL DATA INTEGRATION PLANNING
By Henning Lund - March 15, 2021
Data integration is the new black, but data integration projects can be complex. Many companies wish to consolidate data and decide to perform ERP CRM integrations.
Most data integration providers have done a lot to simplify the data integration process. Having integrated data is no longer the holy grail - it can be done. However, transferring data from one system to another is not always the simplest task.
In an era where big data is king, how do you easily consolidate data from you different data sources and data warehouses? Data integration solutions ensure a secure and easy data flow between two different systems.
There is a wealth of data integration tools that can help you transfer and sync data between systems and applications. It could be a transfer and consolidation of ERP and CRM data. You could also integrate master data, such as posting groups or other metadata that secure a consistent system setup and reporting.
Any data that you want to map between two systems can be integrated. It is even possible to do it if you have large data warehousing systems. Finding the right integration tool is not really the biggest challenge.
What you really need to make your data integration project successful is a solid plan. How can you create a good data integration project plan?
What are the different steps of a system integration project?
In the past, data integration was often done using direct batch interfaces. Data was extracted to a file and then sent to the target system. At the same time, it was imported (via a batch job). This type of data loading can be labor intensive, especially at the programming and testing stage.
Such approach to data integration makes it difficult to deal with incorrect data. Keeping the systems in sync can also be a challenge. Instead, today, many integration systems use a logic that extracts, transforms and loads data. To combine data from different sources, you need a detailed yet simple data integration plan. A plan that respects data integration process flows. There are three system integration project steps with this kind of system.
STEP 1: Define your business processes and data integration scope
To integrate your customer relationship management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions, you need to understand what your processes are and which transfers you would benefit from.
Often, the customer data in your ERP system comes from your CRM system which is the data source system. They are created in the CRM system from a lead conversion form.
To optimize business operations, the integration would result in this data integration flow:
Trigger event in the CRM system (such as first order)
Customer created in ERP system.
Data transfers are usually analyzed to establish the data that needs to be transferred. When planning the implementation of your data integration system, it is vital to define which data you want to flow, and when.
STEP 2: CONNECT YOUR SYSTEMS VIA A DATA INTEGRATION PLATFORM
Then you need to connect the two systems. Application and system designs (tables, fields and other relevant information) are read and stored to allow for data mapping.
Data needs to be sequenced so that transfers between the ERP and CRM systems can happen in the right order. If transferring an order, you will probably want to transfer the items ordered first, as there may be a new item in the order. Not getting the sequencing right can lead to broken references.
Decide which of the two systems has priority if a piece of data has been updated in both systems.
Once set up, you’ll need to test the data transfers. Start the testing process with just a few records. Your data might not be as high-quality as you expected. In that case, do some data cleaning before you move on to testing the rest.
If you experience duplicates, create a batch job or query that can update duplicated data automatically. Alternatively, you can look up duplicates manually and link them with an identifier, but this is a slow process.
STEP 3: Sync your systems
After testing and transfer, it is time to sync your systems. Do this in stages, making each area live as you go. You will start benefiting from the integration faster.
When you have finished syncing, switch to support mode. This is easy to manage with a data integration platform. Some systems send an email notification when something goes wrong, along with all the information they need to start fixing it.
Give us a call, we can help you with the planning of your data integration project. We will talk you through how RapidiOnline can help you create a data integration project plan that does the hard work for you.
About the author
With over 25 years’ experience in strategically propelling businesses forward, Henning is considered a business development entrepreneur with a passion for transforming businesses, sales and marketing operations through out-of-the-box thinking, concepts building and process automation to improve overall performance and scalability.