Navigating the Challenges of ERP Integration

June 15, 2023
Posted in ERP
June 15, 2023 Ken Jacobsen

Navigating the Challenges of ERP Integration

Explore the benefits and challenges of ERP integration in this informative and comprehensive guide.

A staggering 75% of all ERP projects do and will fail, according to Deloitte. Although we embark on our ERP implementations with the best of intentions, the reality is that most of us are walking into a territory fraught with obstacles.

As businesses continue to evolve and grow, there eventually comes a point where the need for an efficient and effective management system increases. To keep up with the competition, boost efficiency and enhance overall performance, companies have started relying on ERP software to manage various aspects such as accounting, procurement, receivables, project management, inventory, manufacturing and customer management. However, to fully reap the benefits of ERP, it’s necessary to integrate it with all the systems an organization utilizes – a process known as ERP integration.

In this article, we’ll delve a little into the world of ERP integration, exploring what it is, how it works and how it can benefit your organization. We’ll also discuss the common hurdles companies face during the ERP integration process and how partnering with an ERP integration specialist like The TM Group can help overcome them.


What Is ERP and How Does It Work?

ERP software is a suite of applications merged into a single system that allows data to move seamlessly between them. ERP software works by storing data in a centralized database that can be accessed by all of the system’s applications.


The Benefits of ERP Integration

ERP integration offers numerous advantages such as eliminating redundant data entry, elevating workflow efficiency, automating business processes and upgrading customer and employee experiences. By connecting various systems and applications, organizations can achieve uninterrupted data flows, leading to better decision-making and overall performance.

For example, by integrating an ERP system with a customer relationship management (CRM) system, businesses can provide superior customer experience by having all relevant customer data in one place. This can result in faster response times and more personalized interactions.

Let’s explore perks of ERP integration in more detail:

  • Eliminating redundant data entry:

Data entry can be a time-consuming and costly process, but with ERP integration, information can be captured once and then used across multiple systems. No more manual data input means reducing time entry and the risk of mistakes, thereby improving workflow accuracy.

  • Elevating workflow efficiency:

ERP integration streamlines business activities, allowing organizations to perform tasks more quickly and precisely. Workflows become smoother with integration, resulting in heightened productivity and fewer human errors.

  • Automating business processes:

Mechanizing or computerizing functions that were once done manually brings about more precision and a better use of time. For busy, small companies, this can lead to significantly lowered costs and enhanced performance.

  • Upgrading customer and employee experiences:

Improving the customer experience by personalizing communication, speeding up response times and bettering access to relevant customer data results in higher customer retention and employee productivity. It also benefits employees by simplifying and streamlining workflows, leading to boosted job satisfaction.

  • Refined decision-making:

ERP integration provides a comprehensive view of the organization’s data, empowering decision-makers to take more informed actions. Having real-time access to information from multiple data sources enables executives to gain insights into the organization’s performance and make data-driven choices.

  • Minimized IT costs:

Organizations can decrease expenses associated with maintaining multiple systems. Integrating various applications can shrink license and maintenance overheads that often creep up when using multiple, non integrated applications.

  • Increased scalability:

Businesses must be able to scale easily as they grow. With an integrated system, adding new users, applications or locations can be done faster and with less disruption to the organization’s operations.

  • Better inventory management:

Integrating ERP with warehouse management systems lets companies more efficiently track inventory levels and manage receiving, picking and putaway processes in real time. This facilitates inventory level optimization, stockout reduction and minimized overstocking risks.

  • Improved supply chain management:

ERP integration can assist supply chain managers by providing live visibility, giving them the power to track products on their journey from supplier to customer. This, in turn, helps supervisors identify bottlenecks and decrease the lead time between orders and delivery.

Overcoming the Challenges of ERP Integration

Despite the almost infinite bonuses of ERP integration projects, organizations face a few difficulties during the integration process. These include:

  • Old legacy system technology:

Outdated IT can be onerous or impossible to integrate with modern ERP software, which can result in the need for additional resources to maintain them, a complete overhaul, or replacement.

  • Security and privacy concerns:

With the integration of multiple systems comes the risk of data breaches and consequent privacy issues. However, these can be mitigated by implementing security measures and regularly auditing data.

  • Integration complexity:

Integrating ERP software with other systems can be a complicated and time-consuming undertaking, requiring specialized knowledge which many businesses lack.

  • Cost and budget constraints:

ERP integration can be a significant investment, and it’s important to do a cost-benefit analysis before embarking on the integration process. Organizations should be aware that integrations need to be maintained, and they must budget the necessary funds to maintain the integration in the long run.

  • Lack of quality data:

Without accurate information, ERP integration’s benefits can’t be fully enjoyed. It’s essential to have clean and accurate data before integrating ERP software with other systems. Otherwise, companies will have to invest extra time and money in cleaning and updating databases.


Solutions ERP Integration Problems

While ERP integration can be challenging, there are ways to overcome these barriers. Some of the most effective solutions include:

  • Choosing the right ERP system:

Businesses need to select an integrated ERP system that’s capable of integrating with their existing applications that aren’t being replaced by the new ERP solution. They must also consider the level of expertise required to implement the system and whether they have the requisite talent and time to do so.

  • Hiring a consulting and development partner:

Working with a consulting and development partner can help organizations navigate many of the challenges associated with ERP integration. Such collaborators can supply the skills needed to ensure smooth and seamless integration.

  • Investing in cloud ERP software:

Cloud-based ERP programs often include technology that makes them simpler to integrate and more cost-effective than on-premise ones. They also offer greater flexibility and scalability, making it easier for organizations to adapt to changing needs and requirements.

  • Ensuring data quality:

Companies need to put funds into data validation and verification tools to make certain that their data is of a superior caliber. These platforms can help identify and correct data errors and inconsistencies, guaranteeing that it’s always accurate and reliable.

  • Prioritizing security:

Businesses should implement strong security measures to protect their data. This can include deploying firewalls, encrypting data and monitoring for potential threats.

  • Optimizing workflows:

Companies should take the time to hone their operational activities before integrating their systems. This can help streamline any given business process and reduce the risk of mistakes or inconsistencies. Failure to do so can make the integration process more difficult and costly.

  • Providing training:

Educating employees can help them acclimatize to the new system and use it effectively. This can help minimize disruptions and make sure that the implementation process and associated integration project is successful.

  • Establishing a maintenance plan:

It’s important to have an upkeep schedule and protocol in place to keep the integration running smoothly. That way, you can catch any issues early and prevent extended downtime further down the road.

  • Collaborating with vendors:

Working closely with providers can help organizations facilitate effective integration. Partners can give valuable insights and competencies and align the integration with business needs.


Partnering With ERP Integration Experts

ERP integration can be a convoluted process that calls for very specific know-how. ERP integration services have experts who are experienced in working with various ERP systems and can create customized solutions to meet a business’ unique requirements. An ERP vendor can assist with ERP implementation by identifying integration points and offering guidance on best practices.

When choosing a consulting and development partner for your ERP integration, it’s important to consider their expertise in both ERP and CRM systems, as well as their understanding of your specific field or sector. This ensures that they appreciate the particular challenges and demands that must be considered to guarantee successful implementation.

With over 35 years of industry experience, we have a proven track record of success in ERP and CRM consulting and development. By specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, The TM Group can help organizations integrate their ERP system with others such as CRM and supply chain management systems.

We’ve helped numerous companies in various industries work smarter with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Our professional services team built integrations with line-of-business applications that are mission-critical to an organization’s processes, helping them achieve a centralized system that handles all of their activities rather than using multiple disparate systems.

One example of a successful ERP platform integration is our recent work with a trucking and brokerage company. The client was facing issues with manual data entry and inefficient workflows. The TM Group worked with them to integrate their transportation management system with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. This allowed the company to enjoy smoother data flow and automate several processes, leading to increased operational efficiency and profitability. (Read More)


Final Thoughts

ERP system integration is essential for businesses to improve performance and stay competitive. It has numerous benefits for data entry and movement, efficiency and customer and employee experiences. While there are difficulties in the integration process, using an ERP solution like The TM Group can help overcome them and produce a successful integration.

If you’re interested in learning more about ERP integration or need assistance with your integration process, contact The TM Group for a consultation.


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