ERP Integration.. An easy guide to understanding your options.

Unless you are in IT or technical enough to have been involved in software integration, it can be sometimes daunting when you are being exposed to make a decision, which integration approach is best… I have outlined below the types of integration options possible today, how each work (in simplistic terms for all to hopefully understand) and how ERP solutions like NetSuite connect to other solutions. Happy Reading…

ERP
Integration To Other Solutions

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is
commonly define as a type of software that holds and centralises the whole
organisation from financial management, supply chain management, manufacturing,
customer relationship management up to sales and marketing. It covers the main
modules of businesses which make it easier to the totality of each department
to share, connect and rely data insights.

Integration is a process of connecting and
bringing together minor components into one single system that functions as
one. Looking at it as software tool as a function, integration indicates to the
result of a process that is design to put together the subsystems so that the
data encompass in each becomes a portion of a larger and more comprehensive
system that is absolutely quicker and easier to share and transmit data.

ERP
Integration

The larger the enterprises represents, the more advanced its software solutions should become, as most likely, an inconsistent data and inept workflows may occur if its manually handled and overseen. ERP Integration upholds the idea of minimising potential and ineffective workflows by centralising information, improving transparency and increasing collaboration and communication among main modules.

Hence, ERP software connects to other
systems, it influences relationships between ERP software and vendor systems so
that enterprises can customise and choose specific tools they see fit in their
solutions.

Benefits

  • Centralised Data
  • Workflow Efficiency
  • Consistent Information
  • Reduction of Data Error

ERP
Integration Category

There are many different types and
categories of ERP systems depending on the industry. The type of modules and
features would be laid on the industry and business fits well with your
workflow. ERP systems usually cover various aspects of an organisation and
here’s an overview:

  • CRM
  • Finance
  • Project Management
  • Purchasing
  • Human Resources
  • Supply Chain
  • Sales and Marketing

ERP
Approaches

Each business has specific requirement and
demand thus, ERP Integration implementation also has different ways and
methods.

Point
to Point

In this method of integration, ERP software
is individually linked to each software or tool. Conducting an integration
separately for each system, new applications added to the business would need
new integration into the ERP system and each existing application. Some
businesses choose this method as it has a reasonably low barrier to entry.

Customer
Applications

Other way of approach is to choose to build
your own customised applications or adapters to integrate distinct selection of
business tools. It starts with data transfer capabilities, as the business demand
expands so as the additional need to build adapters. As the enterprise grows,
additional tools to its software can be challenging to maintain.

Enterprise
Service Bus (ESB)

As the most advanced and latest integration
sector, applications are linked through a “communication bus”. In which, the
bus stands as a centralised tool where the applications communicate and reduces
reliance by dissociating the ERP system from other applications. This way other
no adjustment needed to application when another component is added.

ERP Integration system change and drift
according to the requirements and demands of enterprises. As the technology
continues to shift so as the approaches available for ERP Integration, ESB may
be the most accommodating approach to modern enterprises with various sizes.
Nevertheless, ERP Integration is so prominent in businesses today.

Integration
Using Middleware

File Based Loaders
and Web Services are two primary options in moving a data to Cloud ERP.

File Based Loaders,
your data can load and import in bulk from any data source to another or
external system. FBL allows several source systems to import data. This tool
can be used for bulk loads, and for incremental loads. It has range of
varieties to import batch data manually by user interaction or through
automated via local process using existing API’s and Web Services. Notes to
remember on the process to execute File Based Loaders.

  • FBL is manually intensive
  • It can be fully executed by the
    user; without much need of IT support after the initial configuration.
  • Any errors that occur can be
    changed using ADFdi, which can perform validation check on the data in the
    table.

How
FBL Works

FBL is a tool for data loading and
integration. It simplifies the whole data conversion as data gets loaded using
predefined delimited flat file for different business objects. It also uses a
Web services to the .zip file that has pipe delimited data files to stage
directory via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). The .dat files are then
unzipped by a Python script then SQL Loader reads the data from this .dat files
and loads the data into staging tables. A specific work area in the user
interface admit implementers to manage batches of data loads monitoring the
processes as they run and reviewing and correcting errors after the loading is
completed. All business rules and validations are triggered to ensure data
integrity.

Web Services,applications use range
of programming platform to develop web-based applications like Java, .Net,
Angular JS, etc. This application needs communication to happen between one
another which is built using different development languages.

Web Services is a programmatic interface in
ERP Cloud which allows both inbound and outbound data transfer. It is a
standardised option to propagate communication between client and server
applications using world wide web via integration approach. The services are operated
in standard language such as XML Based and described in standard manner via
WSDL description (Web Services Definition Language).

Types Of Web Service

  • SOAP web services
  • RESTful web services

Simple Object Access Protocol or SOAP is a transport independent
messaging protocol. Soap transfers XML data as SOAP messages which is known as
XML document. The structure of XML document follows a specific pattern though
not the content. A standard web protocol or HTTP receives web services and
SOAP.

In applications cloud, SOAP web services
expose data and operations on business such as marketing campaign or
opportunity. It is implemented using the Application Development Framework
(ADF). Using Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) composite services in business
process are not centered on any particular business object.

  • Protocol
  • Only XML
  • WS- Security and SSL
  • Can’t Cache
  • Require more resources and
    bandwidth
  • No fixed methods and could
    contain any operation depending on design’s implementation

Representational State Transfer or RESTful
web services is design that specifies constraints such as uniform interface,
resource identification through URI, self-descriptive messages and stateful
interactions through hyperlinks. It is lightweight, maintainable and scalable
web services that is particularly well suited for creating API’s for client
spread out all over the internet. REST is a client server application
concentrated around transferring of representations of resources through
requests and responses. Data and functionality are resources and it is accessed
using Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) or links.

RST API, use for integration to automate
business process, integrate applications and publish raw business events to an
integration insight server.

  • Architectural Style
  • HTML, XML, JSON and Plain Text
  • SSL and HTTPS
  • Can Cache
  • Require less resources and
    lightweight
  • CRUD Operations methods; POST,
    GET PUT and DELETE

How
Web Services Works

To put it simply, client invoke series of
web services calls of request to a server which would host the actual web
service, these requests are known as remote procedure calls, RPC are calls made
which are hosted by relevant web services. The primary component of a web
service is the data, which is transferred between client and server or XML,
Extensible markup language is a like HTML, an intermediate language that is
known by many programming languages. SOAP sends XML data between applications,
then data is sent to HTTP, in which is sent from the web service to the
application called SOAP message or XML document.

Loading data from files and Loading data
directly into ERP Cloud are the two main approaches were involved when
integrating the cloud to external data and systems via web services.

Process
Integration Systems

A solution that help integrate different
systems that were not molded to work together. And, here are some of the
integration solution in the market.

  • SAP XI – use to connect SAP
    systems with other non-SAP products.
  • BizTalk – a business process
    management (BPM) server that allows enterprises to automate and optimise
    business process.
  • Web Methods – include
    enterprises application integration and electronic date interchanged.
  • Dell Boomi – integration
    platform-as-a- service, supports real time integration and elastically scales.

Integrating Options
with NetSuite

NetSuite, as one of
the major cloud ERP vendors has been primarily adopted by SMBs and Enterprise organisations.
Unlike proprietary software developers, NetSuite is more of an “open source”
approach to customisation and modification of its software and can be done by
creating web-based script among the core application services provided by its
own up to browser-based user interface. Since, most of the scripts are done by
Java, it would be easier to the businesses to do modifications. It also
productised its approach to application, integration and extensions.

  • SuiteScript API – JavaScript that
    enables complete customisation and automation of business processes and allows
    you to pull data from the application or the automation platform.
  • RESTLet – Quickly integrates
    and return the data to the application with maximum size of 10MB for both input
    and output.
  • Public Suitelet – An extension of
    the SuiteScript API that allows developers to build custom NetSuite pages.
  • Web Services – An integration that
    can handle big size of data compare to other integration options.

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