Save Money by Doing Your Own Integrations to Dynamics GP

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Pretty much every ERP implementation I have ever worked on has included at least one integration.  To help write this post I took a 100% non-scientific straw-pole survey of my friends, co-workers, and family – plus the person at the table next to me at the Cheesecake Factory.  Statistically speaking, they all agreed with me.  I won’t lie, some of the outliers weren’t quite sure what ERP meant, but the majority were right there with me and I consider my assertion to be proven true.  


An integration can be defined as a process that transfers data from one system into another.  These transfers can be done once, such as when you import vendor records while you are switching to Dynamics GP from your previous inferior system.  They can also be done on a regular basis, such as when you have a separate process specific system that needs to share data with the ERP.  The definition of integration could also include the automation of a process, though.  For example, we recently created an integration for a customer that will generate an EFT cash receipt for all of the invoices billed “today” for whom the company has a Pre-Authorized Debit (PAD) authorization form on file.


Historically, the design and build of an integration has been the purview of the partner.  There have been savvy users over the years who figured out that they could do it too, but we hired them all as soon as we could.


I honestly think that the time has come for that to change.  If your IT department is active and engaged then I want to train them how to build integrations using SmartConnect, our integration tool of choice for Dynamics GP.  Then they can go build what you need and only bring us back for the “heavy lifting”, which is anything that gets too complicated to be considered a simple integration. 


For example, one company we work with has an external billing system with a very complex series of integrations to and from Dynamics GP. They have to communicate customer addresses, payment types, invoices, debits, and credits back and forth between the two systems.  That is heavy lifting. That is where we are happiest and your money is best spent.


But just importing a list of customers? Your own IT department can do that and you’ve already paid those guys!  It is possible the project could even get done quicker by your own IT department.  If you come to us for an integration you're going to get put in the queue and it might take us some time before we get to it based on other work we already have scheduled.


There are people who will disagree with me and argue that Partners have special knowledge and experience that makes them better suited for this type of work.  For my part, I very seldom worry about engaged IT departments getting this wrong.  Most IT departments today know how to run this type of project. They know how to manage the design, build, and testing phases and they run it into a test company before ever thinking about running it into production. I trust that they will tell us if it is out of their comfort zone and that they will seek our advice when it is needed.  You have to trust people to do the right thing, right? 


And frankly, what's the worst thing that can happen if they build an integration that doesn't work right the first time? We have to redo it?  That is no more expensive than if we had done it in the first place, so at least they tried and hopefully learned.


Most accountants will notice right away if an integration didn’t work, especially when it's new. And if we set it up so that the transactions aren't posting automatically, then we can just delete and reimport them.  Or we can rerun the vendor or customer import and just have it update what was imported previously.  I haven't had any integration in my career that caused a problem so big it couldn't be salvaged.


So if you are the type of company that doesn’t like to waste money on your Dynamics GP implementation, let us teach your IT department how to build Dynamics GP integrations.


For more honest advice on Microsoft Dynamics GP implementation and support, contact Briware Solutions. 844-BRIWARE.

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