Will you gain any value from integrating systems? Aren’t data integration projects typically very long and expensive, and doomed to fail? Let’s take a closer look at it and bust the myths.
1. What is data integration?
You can read thick reports about data or system integration, but data integration itself is simply about moving data between two or more systems.
2. Why do I need data integration?
If you have multiple systems that require the same data (for example customer or product data), you can integrate the systems to avoid double data-entry. You can also use data integration to automate business processes and to avoid having to switch systems during a work process (for example lead to cash).
3. Is it difficult to do data integration?
Integrating multiple systems is not a difficult task. There are different ways of doing it. You can have custom-built interfaces, for example import/export of data, which is the simplest way to move data. It is often used to do migration. You can use a generic data integration platform like Microsoft BizTalk that allows you to develop your own interfaces from scratch, or you can use a data integration platform like RapidiOnline that provides ready-to-use data integration templates.
4. Where can it go wrong?
Integrating data between two systems is normally worry-free. If you do run into problems, it could be related to infrastructure settings such as a firewall. Having said that, firewall issues are solved simply by updating the settings. Other issues could come from poor data quality and redundant data. If you already have data in both systems, the records have to be linked in order to sync the information. If you have been migrating multiple companies into one database, you may have duplicate or incomplete records. If this is the case, then often you need to clean up your data before it makes sense to sync with other systems.
5. How long time does it take to integrate two systems?
Most integration platform vendors claim they can do data integration in less than 30 days, which is reasonable, since they often have to build the integration from scratch. With the more specialized data integration platforms like RapidiOnline , you can get the integration within 5 to 10 days thanks to the pre-defined templates (standard integration).
6. What are the most common systems to integrate?
In my experience, most companies running both an ERP and a CRM want to integrate these two systems. Companies can of course integrate other systems, such as product databases, configurators, customer survey systems, or other data services. Read also Top 4 reasons for ERP and CRM integration .
7. Is data integration expensive?
The more data you integrate between your systems, the better ROI you will get. If you have very simple needs, maybe an import/export feature is enough and may not even cost you anything. If you want to automate processes and have data integration running automatically, typically, you should be prepared to pay 400 to 1500 Euros per month. It means that you will have a positive return on your integration investment quite fast because of the time saved on automated processes. In reality, it is not about how expensive the integration is, but rather about how much you gain from it.
8. What is the positive impact of data integration?
With integrated systems, you have more productive and motivated employees because they have better insights and they don’t have to switch between systems during their work processes. You get better data quality because you have eliminated manual double data entries and because the data flows more consistently. You get better reporting possibilities, which you can use to improve traditional reporting and also to define for more sophisticated target group, trending analysis and predictive actions. When you automate central processes like lead to cash, you reach a whole new level of efficiency, enabling you to grow your business. Read also Real-life benefits of CRM-ERP integration .
Today, getting a data integration up and running can be very simple and fast. Integrating systems can be a big wish from a lot of people in any organization and often the only thing holding management back is a fear that it is complicated, risky and expensive. I hope that this short Q&A will help you overcome your data integration fears and motivate you to get started with your project.
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.