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How do we integrate our systems in the best way?

Some companies, especially global manufacturing ones, have silos of different systems that don’t connect at all. At the same time, almost of all these systems are dependent on each other’s data. Many use point-to-point integrations, where two systems are linked to each other, to connect the most relevant systems. In addition, many use different EDI flows in order to integrate with customers’ and suppliers’ systems.  

Companies that recognize themselves in the description above often find it difficult to get an overview of their existing integrations. The solution to this is an integration platform – and we promise, it will change your entire business. Let us tell you why!

A spaghetti bowl of integrations

Having many different systems can often result in one big mess where you end up with integrations between all of your existing systems – a proper bowl of spaghetti. (Point-to-point integrations can also be called spaghetti integrations - the metaphor being that you can see each integration as a piece of spaghetti going from one system to another, and eventually, you have so many pieces that they are everywhere, in disarray). Using spaghetti integrations, the same data is sent from one system to several other systems, but through separate processes, which makes it difficult to get an overview of the existing data – and where it is. It also creates difficulties when it comes to maintenance of the integrations and if any errors occur, it’s difficult to identify where they originated.  

If you work at a smaller company, point-to-point integrations often work well and can do so for quite some time. Put simply - if you don’t have that many systems, the spaghetti bowl doesn’t get that big. On the other hand, if you’re a larger company, and above all a manufacturing one, it easily becomes a big bowl where all the information lies in one big messy patchwork of integrations. Often, your whole business revolves around your ERP system and data is exported from there in batches that end up in other systems that need the d

Growing company with an increasing customer base

A situation like the one described above often occurs when a company has grown significantly over time, whether organically or through acquisitions. In this situation, several different systems have to be integrated with the acquired companies existing systems, in order to get access to their data. This kind of scenario also arises when a company has subsidiaries based in other countries that use different systems.  

Many companies also have some kind of integration setup with their customers’ and suppliers’ systems. These integrations are often EDI flows where external ERP systems are connected to the company’s own. It’s not uncommon that problems occur with these EDI flows which means that the information doesn't get through – negatively impacting both the company and its relationships with its customers and suppliers.  

A big ERP dependency

A unique issue for manufacturing companies is that there are so many parts of the business that are important, not just production. This means that the need for different systems increases, resulting in an even larger spaghetti bowl. Among other things, you might need a production planning system, a CRM, a financial system and maybe a customer portal. It is not uncommon for manufacturing companies to have as many as 30 different systems, all of which are dependent on data from the ERP. This dependence on the ERP can create difficulties if you need new systems in the future– whether a new ERP or something else. If you replace the former, it often leads to major problems as the many individual systems, applications and Excel files that are connected to your ERP will no longer work.  

The solution: an integration platform

One solution to the problems related to point-to-point integrations is to have an integration platform, a cloud-based service specifically developed to be a hub for all the integrations in your business. Instead of several separate integrations, everything is gathered in one place, making it easier to get an overview.

With an integration platform, you get access to the entire ecosystem where you can choose between integrations and can automate processes in part or completely. You can choose which systems and applications should “subscribe” to which type of data. Instead of data being exported in batches (a point-to-point integration is often set up so that systems only communicate at set times or intervals, for example once per day), everything is event-driven. This means that everything is connected in a completely different way and one event starts a whole flow of other events in different systems. A course of events in a manufacturing company could be that an order is created, which is heard by the production planning system, which in turn leads to a delivery date being calculated. That information is then automatically passed on to the CRM system, which sends out an email to the customer who placed the order.  

A way to future-proof your business

An event-driven process like the one above means that the IT process and the business process – often seen as two separate silos – are linked. In short, it is the events in the business process that drive what happens in your business systems – as it should be! Another advantage is that the event structure is set up independently of the system and thus lives on despite changing systems.  

With an integration platform, it is not only easier to replace existing systems, but also an advantage when adding new systems as you don’t need to create new integrations over and over again. They already exist in the platform and just need to be “connected” to the new systems. This way, you create better conditions for implementing changes in your business as you have a more agile approach to your systems and processes. As a result, you can constantly improve and expand your ecosystem without it affecting your business. An integration platform is simply a way to future-proof your organization.  

An integration platform sounds great – what’s the next step?

Have you realized that an integration platform is the right solution for you? Congratulations! It is definitely one of the best investments you will make in your business. It will be easier for you to, for example, introduce new software and your systems will not be dependent on each other.  

Get in touch with us by filling out the form (or why not write to Oskar on Linkedin?) and we’ll get started! Let’s talk about the systems and applications you have today and your need for additional ones in the future. We’ll go through what type of data needs to be integrated, whether there are any restrictions around it and the security of your data. Also, we’ll discuss how to set up support – because we will, of course, be with you even after the integration platform has been implemented.  

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