ERP Integration is a fundamental concept associated with any ERP strategy. ERP integration is basically the way in which an enterprise integrates its ERP software with other software. ERP Integration helps in the efficient utilization of the company’s existing resources and at the same time facilitates the implementation of new processes and solutions for enhancing business competitiveness, and thus contributing to the overall growth of the organisation. ERP Integration can help in achieving several goals like increased customer service, improved financial management, improved process efficiency, easier information access, reduction in cost of ownership for an enterprise, and so on. ERP Integration can help in implementing new solutions and modifications to ERP Software, which is not possible without proper ERP Integration.

Cost Saving

The primary advantage of ERP integration is that it leads to a significant cost saving because most of the components are implemented as stand-alone applications, which means that there is no need to buy new hardware or software for running them. Moreover, these applications can be installed within minutes without any sort of technical assistance from the end-user. Hence, ERP integration ultimately leads to cost savings, because the investment made on setting up a single source for ERP software implementation is saved on buying new components, installation costs and support services. It also saves on the hiring costs for a business firm as it eliminates the need to hire a separate team and employees for ERP software system integration needs.

However, the process of the ERP integration process is not just about the money aspect. It also involves a series of tasks like documentation of all business needs and expectations, designing a clear ERP architecture, testing for robustness and compatibility, migration of the ERP structure to the hosted system, configuring the ERP software components, educating the employees, and finally the transition from an active ERP to a fully functional ERP platform. Each of these activities is an ongoing process and requires a considerable amount of time and resources. For example, if a complete change is to be implemented in the ERP architecture, then it will require a corresponding change in all the supporting software too. This can easily confuse and confound the employees and may stall the ERP implementation altogether.

Different Types of ERP Integration Processes

To avoid such problems during ERP integration, it is essential to define the ERP Integration requirements of the organization and then choose the right ERP Integration vendor, who can deliver all the above mentioned aspects. In fact, there are different types of ERP Integration processes. The first one is the “warehousing” method, which integrates the ERP application and the database. This is considered to be the most basic form of ERP Integration. Another type of ERP Integration process is the “release-to-production” method, which is used to upgrade the entire ERP architecture in one shot. It is quite expensive in comparison to the previous mentioned process but provides immediate results and hence it is quite popular among small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Cloras Integration Process

The next ERP Integration process is known as the “cloras integration process”. “Cloras” stands for “Customer point of service”. In this method, small enterprise companies customize the ERP to serve the customer needs instead of corporate needs. They integrate the ERP application with the existing data points, which may be either hardware or software, network or offline. The CRM or the Customer Relationship Management software also plays a major role in this case.

These processes are interrelated and serve different purposes in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. However, the success of an ERP implementation depends on proper integration of all the processes. Any successful ERP implementation process should not only integrate the application processes with the accounting functions, but also the business management software processes. Therefore, it becomes quite obvious that the ERP solution cannot succeed unless all these processes are well implemented with proper care and caution.