July 20, 2017
With the Rise of Best-in-Breed Cloud Applications, Integration Is Key
Posted by Sartaj Kaur
Best-in-breed cloud solutions are the future of business applications―from your ERP solution and expense management tool to CRM. The latest innovations being invested in are all built in the cloud. And, as more people understand that “cloud” really just means using someone else’s server, versus owning and managing your own, there also are greater levels of comfort around the security of data. (Speaking of security, a case can also be made that providers like Amazon Web Services or Rackspace actually provide better protection than the average business, because managing the data center is their full-time job and they maintain higher levels of compliance than an internal IT team can provide.)
Once you decide to select a cloud application, a key consideration to keep in mind is how it will integrate with other applications you are using. If you aren’t able to integrate the cloud solution with the rest of your business applications, it will become an island of data―which will not be strategic for organizational decision making. Software publishers that do not have a way of automating the migration of data between applications force companies to have their employees manually re-key data or export, reconcile and import large Excel spreadsheets. Both processes are error-prone and time consuming.
The most common business process tools that are integrated in the cloud include:
- ERP financial application and CRM
- ERP financial application and budgeting/corporate performance management
- ERP financial application and procurement
- ERP financial application and expense management
Another important consideration to keep in mind is that not all integrations are equal. Just because you are able to automate the migration of certain data between two applications doesn’t mean it is a strategic integration. Are you able to configure the integration to how your business needs the data to be migrated? Can you build in business logic to match how your organization manages the process? Can the integration run on demand or on a schedule? These are some questions to ask before you invest in an integration tool.
As you look at solutions, you also want to ask the vendor whether the integration is something that will be developed from scratch. If a provider is writing a unique integration between two applications instead of having a pre-built integration pack, it increases your risk of owning it. Beware, because this one-off solution might come with a higher price tag but limited functionality for your organization.
Learn more about best-in-breed cloud solutions and integrations from the experts at Armanino, leading provider of top-notch cloud services.