What is the best solution to integrate your systems? Maybe you have started investigating the different integration solutions available on the market. It can be difficult to understand which one is best suited to your organization’s needs. However, although there are many solutions and options out there, it often boils down to 2 options: either you go ahead and build your own custom-made integration (maybe in collaboration with your partner), or you choose one of the pre-configured data integration platforms available from different vendors. How do you choose? I mean, what should you prioritize when you evaluate the solutions? In my opinion, one thing you should ALWAYS consider is whether the solution is built to support your company needs today AND in the future.
So, how do you ensure that your solution is future-proof? Very often, you can sum it up to a series of just 3 questions:
1. Can your solution scale?
Will the solution be able to support your company as it grows? Will it still be able to perform if the number of transfers between systems grows exponentially? Or when you need to add new transfers to support new business processes. Often, custom-made integrations are a perfect fit for your current situation, but are rarely considering future growth scenarios. Pre-configured data integration platforms such as RapidiOnline are usually built to support the needs of small companies as well as large enterprises, and will typically be a reliable platform as your business booms.
2. Will your solution survive upgrades?
Just because your integration solution works with the current versions of the integrated system, it does not mean that it will keep functioning as new versions of the integrated systems are released. If you are building your own custom-made integration, your solution is at risk to encounter problems next time one of the integrated systems is updated or comes up with a new version… and fixing this could be a difficult, time-consuming and costly task – also because it will disrupt your business. Pre-configured data integration platforms vendors, on the other hand, usually work in close collaboration with the companies producing the systems they integrate. For example, as a Microsoft Dynamics partner and a Salesforce partner, Rapidi has a close collaboration with both Microsoft and Salesforce to make sure that we are always informed in due time about changes that are critical to our integration solution and can guarantee a system that works with future versions of the systems as well.
3. Can it take on additional integrations?
The need for data and system integration has increased significantly in the past years, mostly due to the digitization, globalization and general decentralization of business processes. And, according to recent studies, this trend should keep on. For example, a recent research from Research and Markets shows that companies are expected to keep investing is integration systems in the coming years. Why? Because companies will increasingly rely on specialized applications to support specific business processes, and because these applications will only add value to the entire organization if they are aligned and used the same data, i.e. if they are integrated. Having an integration solution that can easily add integration points is becoming a must.
This last point is in my mind the most crucial one and many of the companies that have integrated their CRM and ERP will find themselves investing in more specialized applications that they would benefit greatly in integrating with wither their ERP or their CRM. And when you come to that point, your first question will be “can I use my integration platform to integrate with this new application”? Now, if you are using a custom-made integration, the chance that it was made generic enough to integrate with any new application is very slim. Pre-configured data integration platforms, on the other hand, are built to support a large variety of systems and integration end-points. Take RapidiOnline, for example. Although it comes out of the box with a standardized Salesforce-Microsoft Dynamics integration, it is also a strong platform that can support pretty much any other system. This is highly valued by our customers. A good example of that is Berling Media. They started by integrating Salesforce with Microsoft Dynamics AX using RapidiOnline. A few years later, they came back to us to integrate with Publit, a print-on-demand service. No doubt that it was a great benefit for them to have a future-proof integration platform.
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.