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The Easiest Way to Integrate ERP with Merlin A.I. Suite

By Anam Qamar
In Procurement Technology
Mar 11th, 2020
0 Comments
533 Views

“No technology is an island. ERPs, supplier catalogs, and spend management platforms are all examples of technology with which purchase-to-pay solutions are likely to integrate. Technology vendors will always claim, “Yes, we can integrate with that,” but at what cost and effort? Has it been done before? Will the integration be real-time or daily batch upload? These are all questions to consider before even selecting a technology, let alone implementing one.”

                                                                                                                                 – The Hackett Group

Artificial intelligence has already emerged as the most sought after technology for every Procurement organization. But is buying an A.I. driven solution sufficient for meeting organizational objectives? No.

Ease of deployment and integration is emerging as a deciding factor for organizations to choose a solution. Organizations vouch for the fact that successful integration is essential to value realization from a solution implementation. While extended integration timelines delay implementation, a poorly integrated solution hurts ROI realization. The problem with integration is that it is a tedious task, and solution providers put organizations to this task.

It is a new dynamic in integration where you are trying to integrate the cloud with on-premises. This entails several problems like:

  • Learning the solution provider’s language
  • Lack of adequately trained and sufficient manpower to manage integration projects
  • Additional costs in the form of expensive middleware, adaptors or outsourcing

Did you know?

Outsourced costs for System Integrators tend to be 3x more than in house IT costs.

Why the industry is ditching the traditional integration solutions

The three popular integration solutions are:

  • ERP Native Code

In this approach, customer ERP is at the task of converting the code that comes from the solution provider. Also known as ‘heavy lifting’ in industry terms, it consumes the largest amount of time and operations. Maintenance time is equally high because every change request requires a change in the code. Most upgrades and integrations take years to be implemented because budget approvals get delayed. As a result, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – which includes the price of the solution, people, and training, is very high.

  • Middleware

The next generation of integration solutions included Middleware. It operates in the same way, with one exception of having a nifty UI with drag and drop functionality. The need to know the provider’s language remains.

  • ERP Adaptors

These are like software that can be installed on the Middleware. With some basic configuration, transformation is done. The maintenance time is huge because the provider has to take care of multiple ERPs, multiple ERP version upgrades, and multiple generations of ERPs. With any change in the tech stack, the customer is not able to upgrade.

Comparing the 3 integration solutions

So what do the experts suggest?

An essential part of the discussion with solution providers should be their integration approach.

  • Do a cost-benefit analysis to understand the value that integration will bring over the manual data transfer
  • Understand the maturity of the source system well. Refer to the consideration matrix to know more
  • Define budget parameters to explicitly understand the project scope
  • Accelerate implementation by identifying the extent and timelines of the integration mapping
  • Study process flows Fragmented and non-uniform processes need heavy integration
  • Align integration plans with security policies to ensure compliance with SOX etc.
  • Zycus leverages industry-leading API and file-based technologies, capabilities, and security to ensure successful integration to external client systems, both on-premise and cloud applications.

Zycus Approach to Integration

Organizations are at different stages of technology adoption, and their procurement practices are different- as a result, we need to create tailored approaches based on complexity for integration. Zycus has defined two basic approaches to integration: minimal and extensive.

These approaches take into consideration factors such as process complexity, volumes of data for exchange, and maturity of the source system. Our seamless integration services ensure that value realization starts immediately post Go Live of our Merlin A.I. Solution Suite.

Some Factors for measuring process complexity

  • Extent of globalization
  • Number of integration touchpoints
  • The volume of artifacts to be exchanged
  • The extent of exposure with systems within and outside the organization
  • Existing middleware
Integration Approach Process Complexity Volumes of data for exchange

 

Maturity of the source system
Minimal Low to Average

 

None/ Low to Average (less than 1000/ month)

 

Low to Average

 

Extensive Above Avg. or High

 

High

(1000+/month)

 

High to Very High

 

iSaaS: Zycus’ Paradigm Shift in ERP Integration Technology

iSaaS is the industry’s first value innovation, which makes implementation timelines of 2-3 months a reality. With the reduction in implementation time, the Total Cost of Ownership reduces drastically while Zycus takes care of operations and maintenance. This gives us enhanced flexibility to handle customizations in integration across multiple generations of ERPs. Multiphase, multi ERP integration is easy with the Build Once, Deploy Multiple Model. Zycus product configuration can go parallel with integration try-out for fail-fast and configure the right philosophy.

  • Greater Accountability- Zycus takes care of the data transformation
  • Faster Integration- Eliminate the need to learn the provider’s language
  • Value Realization- Faster Go Live and no middleware required

Check out this case study of how a US-based electric power company increased visibility and compliance by integrating the existing system with Zycus.

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