Authored by Michael Guerin, TeamCain
In a Gartner report from November 2012, it was predicted “that by 2016, mid-size to large companies will spend 33% more on application integration than in 2013.” Noting this prediction, our partners over at Magic Software wrote an informative white paper called “A Smarter Way to Integrate and Mobilize JD Edwards Applications,” highlighting the options that companies have to integrate their various systems.
No one application can cover a company’s complete set of business processes. With technology being the way it is today, many companies have multiple systems including ERP, CRM, Supply Chain Management, e-Commerce and more. And with the evolution of technology, as these applications grow in functionality, certain data overlaps like customer information, product lists and charts of accounts. Overlapping data is leading to business process inefficiencies and errors that are costing organizations time and money. In order to avoid this, many are turning to application integration.
Custom programming can be used to integrate JD Edwards but it’s a very complex undertaking and it becomes difficult to maintain over time, especially with the changes in technology. But JD Edwards integration is a must in order to provide great business benefits and enhance the ROI of your ERP system. Business processes such as mobile business processes, e-Commerce orders, product lifecycle management, order conversions, and employee and manager self-service portals can be automated by integrating JD Edwards with other business applications and therefore increase productivity, revenues and profitability, satisfaction (both employee and customers), implementation time, and provide a bigger picture for improved decision making.
The road to JDE integration does have its challenges as Magic Software points out in their white paper. The top 7 challenges include:
- Cost effective integration with a wide variety of system environments and applications
- Cost effective mobilization of business processes
- Scalability and availability to support increasing numbers of transactions
- Real-time data for business intelligence and analytics
- A fast and reliable solution
- Future-proof (both short and long term)
- Customer support and professional services
Some of these challenges might seem daunting but by looking at the various options for JD Edwards integration, you’ll find that they can easily be overcome. Magic indicates three main categories of integration solutions and points out that companies may find a combination of solutions would fit their needs best.
Manual point-to-point integration solutions seem the easiest but they require custom coding which is complex and very time consuming to write. Often referred to as “spaghetti code,” these solutions are difficult to maintain and often have a lack of documentation (leaving you in a pinch if the all-knowing developer is unavailable). In addition, they often don’t contain proper unified mechanisms for live process management, monitoring, performance tuning and auditing.
Middleware solutions require a large and dedicated IT staff so if that’s the route you want to take, it’s best to be prepared. The actual integration and automation process require a large amount of customized coding. As Magic points out, unless a single-stack integration platform is used, many companies find themselves missing out on the integration benefits and opportunities of their open architecture ERP system due to the immediate costs and risks involved with big middleware.
A hybrid solution is ideal for those who currently use a middleware solution (like Oracle Fusion) as it’s easier and quicker to use an integration platform for JDE integration projects. You get the benefits of greater flexibility, cost reduction and a speedy deployment.
The most beneficial integration solution is a Business Process Integration Platform. This solution combines different technologies to enable integration of processes, systems and applications across the company. They are built for non-programmers and proved a single user interface for integrating various processes that span applications. Unlike manual point-to-point integration or middleware solutions, the hard technical integration is done behind the scenes by the platform vendor so that users can concentrate on the business processes.
No matter which solution you go with, it’s important to remember that one size does not fit all and integration is not just a once time activity. It’s a continual process that lasts over time and so you need to think strategically when approaching it.