Technology provides the foundation for the modern world of business. Regardless of your industry, your company manages a variety of tasks across varied departments. Optimized software applications exist to automate or simplify many of these processes, ranging from human resources to sales to inventory management. These software solutions streamline your teams’ responsibilities while complicating your entire company’s management by creating information and process silos. Enterprise Resource Planning is the answer to these disconnected systems, made possible through different integrations, including APIs and Connectors.
What is Enterprise Resource Planning?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) creates a unified platform where your management team and employees can access information and collaborate across diverse systems. This comprehensive view lets you understand the big picture, how your resources are being used and what should change for your business to succeed. Because they bring together a variety of software systems, ERPs require integration.
What is Integration?
Software applications come in a variety of data formats and programming languages. They cannot interact with each other without something or someone to translate. Not unlike the need to translate human languages. If your company does business exclusively in English and a potential vendor only speaks German, a third party who speaks both English and German must facilitate communication. Software integrations provide both the literal connection and the translation to allow diverse applications to interact effectively.
Are There Different Types of Integration?
There are many different kinds of software integration. One popular form is an Application Programming Interface, commonly known as API. APIs function by creating a feed that allows third parties to access necessary data while securely shielding the full database. The advantage of APIs is that they allow for customization beyond what the application provides in its own interface. However, APIs often require custom development and can be expensive and time-consuming to implement.
Middleware provides another form of integration. Instead of creating a direct connection between two applications or their data feeds, such as with an API, middleware offers a third point for connecting two or more solutions. Like the human translator in the previous example, the middleware sits between the different parties, allowing for interaction.
Middleware options include custom development, allowing for tailor-made solutions but also generating high costs and long lead times for your company. It is also possible for middleware to comprise existing platforms configured for your specific needs. These are less customizable but more cost-effective options. You can find a third option through an out-of-the-box solution known as Software Connectors.
What are Software Connectors?
Software Connectors are pre-built middleware integration systems that allow your company to integrate mixed software solutions to create an ERP platform with minimal development and lead time. Many connectors require no code at all. You can implement and configure them through interfaces designed for ease of use.
Are There Different Types of Software Connectors?
Software Connectors come in various forms, depending on your company’s needs. One popular type of connector is a Cloud Connector. The Cloud is a common term for the millions of interconnected servers housed in data centers across the globe. These servers host web applications, databases, and software platforms. All the diverse computer codes it takes to run our digital world.
Though we refer to the Cloud as one entity, web applications and databases come in different formats and require integration to interact across the web. Cloud Connectors provide a simple, cost-effective way to deliver these integrations.
Another specialized connector provides for integration in the Business-to-Business (B2B) sector. When your company works with a client or partner, there is a necessary balance between collaboration and data security. B2B connectors allow you to integrate with another company’s software while maintaining security protocols to protect what you cannot share.
Though data centers continue to grow in popularity, some companies still rely on software solutions hosted on on-premise servers. If your company hosts your financials on-premise while using web-based applications for other functions, such as tracking your supply chain, application connectors can help you create an EPS.
An IoT Connector may be your solution if your business includes a vast network of devices. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term for the vast interconnected network of devices that companies and individuals rely on. Security cameras, Bluetooth-enabled washing machines, and wind speed sensors on windmills. Each of these devices needs a place to send the data it collects.
IoT Connectors allow interconnected devices to communicate with both software solutions and human beings. For example, a temperature sensor might trigger a software application that adjusts settings on a commercial refrigerator, and a pressure sensor might notify a security guard’s phone of an opened window.
Enterprise Resource Planning platforms give you the tools to understand the moving parts of your company and use that knowledge to build successful strategies. But EPS systems are only possible by integrating various software solutions and platforms. Custom integrations such as API and purpose-built middleware provide powerful tools but at high costs. Software Connectors make it possible to interconnect various applications while saving you time and money.
Tuesday, December 20, 2022