The pendulum is always moving. Fifteen years ago, it seemed like a matter of time before all companies would be using one of four large Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) products. And, by the way, the applicationswould be managed on-premises. There was no need for integration tools because the integration would be built into the product. Process flows such as “Procure to Pay” and “Order to Cash” would be done in a single software product. Of course, there would always be data extraction tools that mined the data from one large system and feed it into another system. But these were always in the IT realm and controlled by highly skilled technicians.
Fast forward ten years and a the number of industry and function specific software has exploded onto the scene. The large ERP systems are still around but they have become leaner, more purposeful and operate in the cloud. Increasingly there is a call for data to be shared across software platforms, removing the need to re-enter significant amounts of data. For example, a Supplier’s information might be entered into a sourcing software, such as Coupa, for quoting and qualifying purposes. When that quote turns into anaccepted bid, you would need to create a Purchase Order in Oracle Cloud ERP. Down the line you will receive the product from the supplier in Coupa and have it update receiving in Oracle for matching purposes in Oracle Payables. Lastly, you might choose to process Supplier payments through a third software like Apptivo to complete the flow. That is at least three to four touch points not including data collection efforts for business intelligence (visualization) tools such as Tableau.
To handle the gargantuan task of synchronizing the data across these software systems the industry has spawned Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) tools such as Dell Boomi, MuleSoft, Oracle Integration Cloud etc. These tools provide capabilities to enable companies to implement integration projects involving any combination of cloud and on-premises software. A good iPaaS solution provides efficient and nimble integration development, API management and a wide variety of pre-built connectors to satisfy almost all integration needs.
The core features and functions of a successful iPaaS tool should include the following:
- Capability of integrating a variety of Cloud and legacy applications
- Availability of pre-built connectors and templates for accelerated development.
- Cloud-specific functions such as elasticity, multi-tenancy and cloud provisioning.
- Ability to monitor and manage application flows across softwares and environments.
- Robust security and governance capabilities.
- Distributed, scalable architecture to meet the organizations’ requirements.
- Adaptability to cloud, on-premises, and hybrid environments
Our changing world is increasingly necessitating data integration. The challenges only mount when this initiative is delayed, so recognizing your organization’s hurdles and putting a solution in place to overcome them is in many cases something that shouldn’t wait.
If you’re ready to tackle enterprise data integration head-on, we invite you to learn more about integration and iPaaS by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.