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Simplifying ERP integrations with the iPaaS

Written by
Saad Merchant
Published on
May 22, 2024

One of the earliest and most foundational types of system integrations that developers have been implementing for businesses is the Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP application. From finance and accounting to inventory and logistics, an ERP application offers a centralized platform to streamline operations. Traditionally, developers may have been limited to integrating ERP with a CRM system, but now it involves integrating a plethora of cloud apps, such as e-commerce, PIM, WMS, and more. Modern developers use an “integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)” to build these types of cloud ERP integration in a fast, flexible, and scalable way. This blog explores the essentials of ERP integrations and how the iPaaS simplifies ERP system integration with third-party applications.

Building scalable ERP integrations with the iPaaS

Over the years, ERP systems have evolved to become the backbone of many growing businesses. They are crucial to maintaining operational efficiency and ensuring that all departments work from a single, accurate source of information. However, as businesses evolve and implement more specialized cloud applications and SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions, it is becoming increasingly crucial to integrate these different solutions in order to streamline operations, improve decision-making, and gain valuable insights.

Before we delve into the different types of essential ERP integrations and how an integration platform or iPaaS helps build these integrations, let’s understand how the ERP application and ERP integrations work.

What is an ERP system?

An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application is a comprehensive software solution used to manage and integrate the core processes of a business. These processes typically include finance, human resources, supply chain, manufacturing, services, procurement, and others. By centralizing data and automating these routine tasks, ERP systems provide a unified and real-time view of business operations, facilitating better coordination, decision-making, and efficiency.

However, while an ERP application helps integrate the core internal processes of a business, the true value of an ERP is realized and maximized when it seamlessly integrates with other applications.                                                                        


What are ERP integrations?

ERP integration refers to the process of connecting an ERP application with internal systems, applications, and data sources or with external third-party applications. This integration allows for the seamless exchange of data and services between the ERP and connected applications,

By integrating these disparate systems, businesses can ensure data consistency, reduce manual data entry, ands have access to real-time data for analytics from across various departments.

What are the challenges of ERP integrations?

While ERP integrations are crucial for growing businesses, the process of ERP integration can be complex. It includes hurdles such as:

  • Data quality concerns: Inconsistent data formats or inaccurate information across different systems can significantly impede a successful ERP integration. These inconsistencies can lead to integration errors.
  • Compatibility issues: Integrating older ERP systems with newer applications can be challenging. Also, frequent software updates can disrupt established integrations, requiring ongoing maintenance.
  • Technical expertise: Building ERP integrations with custom code can be challenging to develop and manage. Hiring or outsourcing IT professionals to develop and manage ERP integrations is costly.

While traditional system integration methods help connect ERP systems with other applications in a point-to-point fashion with custom code, this solution often results in the aforementioned roadblocks and challenges. This is why modern businesses are now opting to build faster, more flexible, and scalable interactions with the iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service).

Solving ERP integration challenges with the iPaaS

The iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service) is a cloud-based middleware that helps seamlessly connect multiple applications, systems, and data sources via APIs. It provides a user-friendly web interface to create, monitor, and manage integrations without extensive technical expertise. Centralizing integrations, the iPaaS enables real-time data exchange and workflow process automation across connected systems.

Integrating ERP systems with an iPaaS is become increasingly beneficial in today's cloud-driven business environment. By leveraging iPaaS for ERP integration, businesses can simplify complex integration processes, avoid spending time and resources on manual coding, and ensure real-time data synchronization.

The benefits of using the iPaaS as an ERP integration platform

  1. Pre-built connectors: An iPaaS solution typically offers a library of pre-built connectors that help build faster integrations between ERP applications, e-commerce platforms, PIM systems, and more.
  2. Workflow automation: With the iPaaS, businesses can automate complex workflows that involve data exchange between the ERP and multiple applications, eliminating the need for manual data entry.
  3. Real-time data synchronization: The iPaaS ensures real-time data exchange between your ERP and other systems, fostering data consistency and data integrity despite system updates.
  4. Scalability and flexibility: iPaaS solutions allow businesses the capability to seamlessly add multiple new systems and applications to their ERP integration as they grow without the hassles of custom code.
  5. Real-time error detection: iPaaS solutions like Alumio provide robust automated monitoring and logging features that can help detect ERP integration errors and send alerts to customers.


Accelerating ERP integrations with e-commerce apps using the Alumio API Plugin

Popular ERP systems like SAP, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Exact Globe lack essential B2C and B2B API points (web services) that are required to seamlessly integrate them with e-commerce, PIM, CRM, and other applications. Custom building these API points is time-consuming, expensive, and error-prone.

Alumio is a renowned iPaaS solution that has productized a decade of experience in integrating ERP systems, in order to develop a unique ERP API Plugin solution. The Alumio API Plugin helps directly install the lacking B2B and B2C API points in the ERP application, giving it the integration capabilities needed to swiftly connect it with e-commerce solutions and other third-party apps.

Read the case study about how Pelican Products used the Alumio iPaaS and API Plugin to seamlessly integrate SAP ECC and Adobe Commerce →

What are some essential cloud ERP integrations?

A well-integrated ERP system acts as the central nervous system of your business, facilitating real-time data flow across departments. Here are some essential ERP integrations that can benefit businesses greatly:

  1. CRM and ERP integration: Integrating an ERP application with a CRM, such as an SAP S/4Hana to Salesforce connection, helps unify customer data. By enabling data exchange between sales, marketing, and customer service, integrations can improve sales processes and personalized services.
  2. E-commerce and ERP integration: ERP integration with e-commerce platforms, such as Microsoft Dynamis 365 and Shopify connection, enables automated order processing, inventory updates, and customer data synchronization. This ensures that online sales and inventory data are always up-to-date, reducing manual data entry and improving order fulfillment efficiency.
  3. PIM and ERP integration: ERP integration with a PIM system, such as an Exact and Akeneo connection, ensures that all product information, including descriptions, specifications, pricing, and availability, is consistently accurate and up-to-date across all channels and systems. While ERP systems are great for managing hot data such as invoices, orders, logistics, pricing, etc. PIM systems specialize in managing cold data, such as marketing data, product content, multi-select product attributes, color types, etc.

The need for ERP integrations and the iPaaS

ERP integration is a strategic initiative that can transform business operations. While it comes with challenges, the benefits far outweigh the costs when executed correctly. By following best practices and using integration solutions like the iPaaS, businesses and developers can unlock the full potential of ERP.

Integrating ERP systems with other applications is crucial for optimizing business processes and achieving operational efficiency. The iPaaS offers a powerful and cost-effective solution, simplifying ERP integrations and fostering a unified business ecosystem. By leveraging pre-built connectors, intuitive interfaces, and real-time data synchronization, the iPaaS provides the scalability to limitlessly connect new solutions to their ERP systems, driving improved operational efficiency and innovation.

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