Three Smart Integration Ideas

Loraine Lawson

On any given week, I find a collection of announcements, news and commentary that don't quite provide enough oomph for a full post. Some can literally be summed up by a single sentence or quote.


For instance, IDG published a story last week about the latest version of Microsoft's ERP for small companies, the Dynamics GP 2010. The news? It integrates with other Microsoft products. Shocking, I know. This quote from 451 Group analyst China Martens nicely sums up the true insignificance of this announcement:

Good grief, how long has Microsoft had CRM and GP and only now are they offering out-of-the-box integration!

See why I didn't bother?


Generally, I share these finds on Twitter, so if you'd like a shortcut for keeping up with business and technical issues around integration, you might considering following me. As an added bonus, you'll also get random updates on U.S. speedskating and my favorite authors, but I promise to keep that to a minimum.


This week, however, I found three integration pieces that are short, but too good not to share.

Idea No. 1: Applying semantics to master data management. Dave McComb, president of Semantic Arts and author of "Semantics in Business Systems," says semantics and MDM are an obvious combination, and in this short blog post, he explains why. It seems there's a lot of semantic modeling required for MDM, but it's often skipped or skimped on. His company and Knowledge Integrity are working together to create something that will address this missed opportunity. "Our contention is that with a bit more discipline, the MDM project is improved, the client gets a permanent asset and their semantic initiatives have been kick started," he writes.


Idea No. 2: ERP consolidation. ERP-in case you forgot or didn't know-stands for enterprise resource planning. So, how did we get to the point where companies actually are running and supporting multiple ERP solutions? Incredibly, some of these systems are silos unto themselves. The bad news is that consolidating these systems can be ridiculously expensive. Forrester profiled one company that spent $2 million consolidating its EPR applications. So why is this a good idea? Because it's only going to get worse if you don't, the IDG article explains, and because there are payoffs, including eliminating business risks, support cost savings and better data.


Idea No.3: Be honest with data migration and integration consultants. "Like many consultants, I have been left holding the bag many times on data conversion and migration projects," writes independent consultant and author Phil Simon in a recent blog post. One situation was so bad, he actually wrote a case study for Cutter Consortium and titled it "How Not to Run an IT Project." You can download it for free. When organizations are dishonest or forget to share important information about data, there are real consequences for that organization, including missed deadlines and projects that can run well over the original cost estimates. You may even find you'll lose functions when the deadline draws near and your consultant is still trying to solve all the data problems you neglected to mention, Simon says. If you're hiring a consultant for a data-migration or integration project, check out his list of issues, past projects and information you should share with the consultants.

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