Integration

Integration

A business that functions smoothly depends on the seamless integration of its various systems. At Astra, we are committed to helping you do this.

Many companies try to use a single ERP system such as IFS, but end up using multiple systems simply because:

  1. IFS cannot handle all unique and obscure needs such as payroll, sales tax, and engineering (CAD/CAM) programs.
  2. Many best-of-breed cloud systems offer better functionality in some areas than IFS, for example, Concur for employee travel and expense management.

This is why integrating IFS with other systems is essential.

The Need for ERP system Integration

IFS applications support a variety of business functions out-of-the-box. IFS’ primary purpose is to automate business processes in order to increase efficiency and improve visibility. As our client's businesses grow, one primary struggle is integrating their IFS system with other enterprise systems. IFS implementations commonly span multiple months: What starts as a few functional modules often grows into a primary ERP system with a number of stand-alone applications on the side.

Organizations today need to integrate IFS not only to internal systems in their data centers, but also to external systems, including cloud-based applications and mobile platforms that use newer, still-evolving protocols. As these technologies evolve, it is critical for organizations to use an integration approach that is up to date with newer protocols.

Approaches to IFS Integrations

Common approaches to IFS integration have various strengths and weaknesses:

Point-to-Point: Businesses often choose point-to-point integration because it can have low initial hurdles. But there can be long-term complications with this model. Point-to-point creates a tightly coupled architecture that can become brittle as the enterprise grows. Each new application added to the enterprise will require a new integration into the ERP system and each existing application. Over time, this integration method becomes more complex and creates tangled dependencies that burden the organization. 

Custom Applications or Adapters: Some businesses build their own custom integration adaptors or applications. These often start as simple data transfer tools, but as organizational requirements expand and multiple ERP vendors are added, companies find they need to build more and more adapters. These adapters become a large maintenance cost, compounded by the consistent evolution of protocols and complexity in ERP system upgrades. 

Enterprise Service Buss (ESB): Standalone ESBs are the newest and most modern approach to ERP integration. An ESB operates as a middle abstraction layer, and as such reduces dependences by decoupling the ERP system from other applications. This approach supports a wider array of data formats, including web-based protocols, and excels in companies that require real-time transitions.

Astra has worked successfully with all of these approaches and can help you integrate your systems and launch your business into greater efficiency. Contact us to discuss your unique needs.