Linking processes and apps in 2008 – A new urgency

Linking processes and apps in 2008 – A new urgency

Summary: Talk to me – please! Talk to me!Inc. Magazine this month has an interesting article ("Missing Link Getting Programs to Work Together" by Nitasha Tiku) that talks about the value derived from integrating applications with other applications.

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Talk to me – please! Talk to me!

Inc. Magazine this month has an interesting article ("Missing Link Getting Programs to Work Together" by Nitasha Tiku) that talks about the value derived from integrating applications with other applications. I know, BORING, but very relevant in today’s economy. Where firms used to be able to afford the luxury of people re-keying data, making and correcting errors and other process inefficiencies, they can ill afford to do so today. The economy and the need to produce business results requires that these inadequacies must go.

No, today’s firms must connect every system they can so that their processes work as effectively and efficiently as possible. For example, did you know that a simple journal entry error costs hundreds of dollars to correct? How much is your firm spending on re-keying data, correcting errors and suffering from data synchronization issues? Your people and systems are hurting because the quality and velocity of information your firm uses isn’t where it needs to be.

The Inc. article does a nice job of illustrating the need for tools to make these connections. Recently, I got a briefing from WinShuttle, a firm that connects SAP Enterprise applications (think R/3 and NetWeaver) to data sourced from Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, SQL Server and other comma delimited files.

One key aspect of WinShuttle’s approach is how well their products play in a business community that changes frequently. When a firm’s suppliers change their invoice formats, when a customer alters their remittance information, when your budget formats are altered, etc., will your IT department make the interface changes you need to your SAP environment as fast as your business needs them to? For many firms, the speed of business is an accelerating problem for their IT group. Businesses are changing faster than their systems can adapt. Let’s face it – when your constituents (e.g., customers, regulators, suppliers, shareholders, supply chain partners, banks, etc.) change the way they interact with you, your firm must change, too. Changing at the speed of business requires some temporary solutions and some solutions that can handle modest volumes of changed data for long periods of time.

If your firm: - is experiencing a more volatile business ecosystem - is changing at an accelerated pace - needs to improve the effectiveness and efficiencies of its processes - must avoid the addition of new headcount to accommodate process changes

then you need to look at technologies that help you win in this economy (and beyond). I saw WinShuttle and Inc. magazine looked at Scribe, Datasync, Jitterbit, SnapLogic, Talend and Biztalk. There are many other tools out there as well. If change doesn’t motivate your firm to investigate these solutions, will this economy motivate you?

Topics: Enterprise Software, CXO, Software

About

Brian is currently CEO of TechVentive, a strategy consultancy serving technology providers and other firms. He is also a research analyst with Vital Analysis.

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