ERP Software Integration Minus the Headaches: Your Guide

a visual of erp software integration bringing different parts of a business together

ERP Software Integration Minus the Headaches: Your Guide

Business is booming beyond your wildest dreams. You’ve added team members, doubled your sales, you’re even thinking about expanding your enterprise. It’s all upside. Almost. The only downside to the rapid growth of your business is that the shiny, new ERP system you implemented a couple of years ago doesn’t seem quite so shiny and new anymore. 

So what do you do? Finding and implementing your current ERP took the better part of a year and was not a cheap process. Not only do you not want to undertake that journey again so soon, but what happens in the meantime? You need solutions, and you need them now – not a year from now. That’s where ERP software integration comes in. 

Follow along as we discuss ERP software integration, along with the benefits of working with a qualified ERP consultant to minimize the potential headaches associated with putting the puzzle pieces together.

When Is ERP Software Integration Appropriate?

Not even the most expensive, highly rated ERP system is going to be a perfect fit for your company right out of the box. An experienced ERP consultant can help you customize the ERP system you have or are considering to create a tailor-made fit for your unique organization. 

Here are some reasons to consider ERP software integration:

The ERP System You’re Considering Is Perfect, Except…

Integrations help bridge the gap between the functionality you envisioned and the ERP system you’re considering. Imagine, for example, that you’re a manufacturer preparing to expand internationally. You find an ERP system that is practically perfect in every way – except that it doesn’t come with the multi-currency capabilities you need for a global business. Chances are an integration can fill in that gap. 

You Didn’t Think You Needed It Until You Needed It

Maybe you didn’t think it was such a big deal to implement a new ERP system but keep using your current shipping software. But as your business continues to grow, your team has been grumbling about the tedium and inefficiency of the current shipping method. It’s clear you need to streamline the process. But how, now that you’re committed to the ERP system you implemented? The answer: by integrating your ERP system with a shipping application that meets your company’s current needs.

Wisconsin-based Dairy Connection, Inc. found themselves in just such a situation when their online sales of yogurt- and cheese-making ingredients grew far beyond what their outdated method could handle. (Employees were actually printing orders from the website and then manually entering them into their ERP system!) Crestwood Associates helped integrate their ERP system with leading eCommerce solution and Acumatica partner BigCommerce to turn the merchant’s tedious, time-consuming ordering process into a fully automated one, giving their staff more time to provide the people-centered customer service the company is known for. 

Change Happens When You Least Expect It

“Pivot” became a huge buzzword during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses had to change, sometimes drastically, just to survive. Change may mean something like renting out your own warehouse space instead of contracting out order fulfillment, which means you now need inventory management capabilities and a shipping solution. Whatever circumstances come your way, integrations can help you handle them. 

Types of ERP Software Integrations Available

There are a few different types of integrations available. An experienced ERP consultant can help you figure out which ones are right for you. 

Native Integrations

ERP systems often come with a number of integration options that are native to the software. The advantages of choosing an ERP with native integration options is that you can easily take the capabilities you need and leave the ones you don’t. Acumatica, for example, comes with 80 native integrations ranging from distribution to eCommerce to tax applications and more. 

Marketplace Integrations

Many ERP vendors offer applications available to purchase in a marketplace. While these applications aren’t native to the software and may not be built by the same vendor that built the ERP system, they are interoperable with it. Acumatica, for instance, offers more than 300 applications in its marketplace, including an eCommerce platform, a document management solution, a solution to automate accounts payable and an e-signature application. 

Custom Integrations

If you aren’t finding the applications you’re looking for on the open marketplace, an ERP consulting team can likely work with you to develop the functionality you desire. Similarly, custom integrations might be appropriate if you have a solution that you’re already using and you want to tie it into your ERP system. 

Crestwood client Firewire Surfboards knows better than most how custom ERP software integration by a knowledgeable consultant can prevent the headache of being forced to work with applications that aren’t really right for your business. Instead of trying to fit the square peg that is their company’s operations into the round hole of a pre-built database solution, Firewire, with Crestwood’s help, linked their Acumatica ERP system to Brandscope, Firewire’s custom production database, as well as its Verifier tag software, which tracks boards through manufacturing. 

Don’t Go It Alone

Although many ERP software integrations advertise themselves as being simple to implement, there are still snags that can occur: 

  • System downtime while integrating solutions or migrating data
  • Potential data loss and software malfunction if the integration isn’t completed correctly
  • A learning curve with each new ERP software integration
  • Haphazardly adding integrations to form an unwieldy, slow-performing system that’s difficult for new users to learn

This is why it’s beneficial to work with an ERP consultant throughout the life of your ERP system. An experienced, knowledgeable ERP consultant such as the Crestwood team can: 

  • Work with you to attain the ERP functionality you need now and create a strategy to mindfully add integrations over the next 5-10 years
  • Steer you in the direction of the right integrations at the right cost (you may not need the added expense of a custom integration; your ERP consultant may know of one already available that will get you the capability you’re looking for)
  • Help you periodically evaluate how well your current ERP system is meeting your needs and implement or customize integrations that allow your ERP system to evolve along with your business
  • Ensure the integrity of your data and minimize system downtime when adding integrations
  • Train and support your team on new ERP software integrations as they’re added

Why Crestwood?

Our team of experts at Crestwood Associates boasts a bevy of veteran developers and certified Acumatica MVPs who can help you strategize and implement the integrations that will fulfill your company’s unique needs and goals. We are with you for every step of your ERP journey, from choosing an ERP system, to implementation, to adding customizations and integrations as your needs change throughout the useful life of the system. 

Let us show you the kind of partner we can be. Request a consultation today.

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