DATA INTEGRATION IS FUNDAMENTAL
Data integration is fundamental when companies use more than one system. Data integration is the process of transferring data located in various data sources to other data targets. Data integration and collaboration between data systems and processes is vital because it allows processes to work faster and be more reliable and robust. The alternative is manual re-keying of large amounts of data which is practically impossible at this phase of our economy. By integrating systems like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Material Requirements Planning (MRP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Quality Management System (QMS), and the like, a company can reduce errors and human touch through majority of the processes of a company.
- Missing historical data
- Poor quality of source system data
- Undocumented adjustments and changes to data
- Poor definition of requirements related to data
- Not sizing the data conversion and data integration part of the project
- Lack of clarity of responsibility for data integration and data conversion
- Effort and budget runs over estimates
1. Connectivity to standard formats normally used such as MS Excel, Text files, CSV files. It is very common for systems to provide data and consume data in the form of Excel files, flat or CSV files. Almost all systems will accept a text file format of CSV or comma-delimited text files.
2. Standard open protocols such as ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) to access relational databases. Almost all databases can be accessed using ODBC. And even some applications, such as QuickBooks, are accessed using third party tools that comply with the ODBC standard.
3. Connectivity to popular platforms. A data integration system should support the most common applications customers use. These are the three classes of the most common applications: ERP, CRM and Ecommerce. Example applications include MS Dynamics AX, SugarCRM, and Magento.
4. Data quality checking and correction. This is also known as error recycling. The process should have the ability to categorize informational notices, warnings, and fatal errors. The system can present the errors and warnings to the user and allow to rectify them easily.
5. Scheduling of execution. Without manual intervention, data integration will be executed automatically in the scheduled time. This can be achieved by scheduling the data integration process every hour. Scheduling can be real-time or on a periodic basis. A typical example: Closed opportunities in Salesforce.com should be exported as invoices to MS Dynamics GP every hour.
6. Application Programming Interface. Some of the most promising innovations going on right now in integration include the ability to connect using application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs determine how applications will interact with other applications.
Good integration tools reduce the systems integrators time during the project. They avoid unpleasant surprises to the customer such as delayed projects or cost overruns.
How to Make Money with Data Integration
Unfortunately, most companies do not fully understand the importance and value of integration services. Consequently, they are less inclined to pay a lot of money for this portion of the project proposal. To get all the benefits of a successful project plus make a good profit, the following are recommended:
1. Select an affordable data integration solution such as www.www.qxchange.com. The price point for the product should be low enough to allow you to make more money. Make sure the product has enough commissions or the ability markup to make up for the services that may not get paid by the customer.
2. Call out every integration task in the initial proposal and project plan. This is very important.
3. Break up conversion and integration tasks by table and make visible to the project team.
4. Break up conversion tasks so that the production of source data can done by customer’s in-house resources to reduce unnecessary budget inflation. Many customers prefer this. Associate delivery dates to these tasks so they are also held accountable.
5. Get customers assigned to data validation of results after conversion or integration and save budget dollars that can be used for other services.
6. Have customers sign off on the conversion and data integration phase, so they see the importance of those tasks.
With some foresight, this can add to the profitability of the project for the systems integrator channel.