Integrations of disparate systems and processes can be as complex as remodeling your home or office. Tear down walls without a plan in place, and you might as well throw out the budget and timeline along with the sheetrock.
Whether you’re remodeling your home or integrating trading partner data with your ERP or accounting systems, planning always comes first. A comprehensive, step-by-step plan allows you to gauge success of each step of your project timeline and guarantee on time-delivery and a better return on your ERP investment.
To learn how to avoid the critical integration mistakes, read Peter Edlund’s article: How an ERP Integration Project Can Get You Fired (and What you can do about it)
Preparing for EDI Integration into your ERP
As you may have learned in our blog post, How an ERP Integration Can Get You Fired (and What you can do about it), it is critical to take all applications, specifically EDI into account during an integration in order to see your return on investment accelerated. Imagine remodeling your house, but not considering where all of the appliances would go prior to building cabinets or installing plumbing.
The process of integrating supply chain transactional data (EDI) into your ERP can seem like a daunting task – especially when you’re unsure where to begin. So, we’ve peeled back the curtain to give you an inside scoop and checklist of “must-haves” to give you a head start on integrating EDI into your ERP or back office systems.
For a deeper dive, view our webinar: Preparing for EDI Integration into your ERP
Determine Value with an Internal Risk and Needs Assessment
According to our Project Delivery team, 8 out of 10 integrations must be customized to some extent; meaning that the process isn’t always as simple as handing over information. Our team has seen customized ERP integration projects ranging from large scale ERPs like SAP and NetSuite to smaller QuickBooks EDI integration to home grown systems.
Before you embark on your project, conduct an internal risks and needs assessment to determine the value of the integration, the challenges you’re seeking to overcome and the overall return on investment. Benefits of integration range from reducing errors due to manual data entry to eliminating labor costs.
Measure this value with hard numbers to show the impact in the month’s after integration.
Determine the Scope of Your ERP Integration Project
The next step is scoping out the project with your project manager. Defining a clear project scope ensures that the development and delivery of the project is aligned with the key organizational objectives and outlines the timeline, goals, objectives and provides insights on allocating internal resources.
To determine the clear scope of work:
- Define ERP Interfaces
- Obtain Trading Partner Contact Information and related business rules
- Testing and Acceptance Criteria
- Launch Schedule
Prior to launching a solution into production, a ”go-live” date is determined which becomes the target to have the integration completed. During the implementations process, a testing scenario must be established to ensure that key objectives are met. Make sure that the solution is phased into production until management confirms successful testing and accepts functionality.
Best Practices For Outsourcing ERP Integration
If you’re outsourcing your ERP B2B integration project, ask the provider if any of the project components are, in turn, outsourced to additional providers and to what extent. In many instances, EDI providers will outsource an integration project to third-party vendors. This can inhibit communication and often leads to delayed projects, increased costs and lost revenue. If possible, endeavor to work with B2B integration solutions that are designed to work with your EDI systems.
In addition, work with your EDI provider to determine and outline the steps with assigned responsibilities and due dates for each of the steps. Be sure you understand these roles clearly and have one key point of contact to avoid confusion.
Here’s a brief overview of DiCentral’s IDEAL methodology for the development and delivery of ERP integration projects:
In conclusion, to ensure an efficient implementation of EDI, you must understand the value integrating can provide, align project steps with these goals and prepare accordingly. This will give your team and those C-level executives the assurance needed that this project is in the right hands!
For a deeper-dive into the best practices of integrating EDI into your ERP, view our Webinar: “Preparing for EDI Integration into your ERP” by clicking on the link below.