There are typically two thoughts when it comes to personally creating an integration: “It’s easy, it’s just mapping fields!” OR “I’m not technical so I can’t do it.” While neither is 100% true, the 1st option is typically more correct.
There are many integrations that fall into the “It’s easy!” camp and there are others that become more complex. The key to any integration is to understand the source data and the destination system. We are going to focus on the “easy” integrations in this article.
In the past, most integrations took a developer writing code to pull data out of one system, then writing a bunch more code to “transform” the data, and finally writing even more code to push the data into the destination system. In those days, there was no easy way to do data validations without code being written for every integration. This meant every integration needed to have a developer. In today’s world, there are more and more processes available that provide data validation with little to no code at all.
How can you move your integrations closer to the “easy” category? Follow my 5 steps & you’ll be on your way!
1. Pick the right tool
To start, make sure you choose the correct tool. Some tools are designed for developers and some are designed for the end user or power user. If you choose a tool designed for a developer and you are the power user, the tool may not be easy or intuitive to you, thus making integrations harder than they need to be.
How do you know which tools are designed for developers and which tools are designed for power users? Ask around, do your research. You’ll end up with a list of tools designed for your role.
2. Get trained
Once you select a tool, make sure you get training. Without training, you don’t know what you don’t know and may not be able to take full advantage of the integration tool. Whatever tool you select, make sure there are a wide variety of training options that best suit your budget, goals and ongoing training needs.
Make sure multiple team members receive training. Ensure that you always have an authority on integrations in-house, even if your normal “expert” is out on holiday for a few weeks.
3. Have an integration plan
After you have your integration tool in place and training complete, the next step is to set yourself up to create a successful integration. When people get lost, they start with one “easy” example such as needing to integrate online expenses with ERP payables system to stop double entry. Sounds easy, right? Well, did you know the vendors must be set up within the ERP system before you can assign the payables expense to them? This means you really need to set up the Vendors first. Do you need an integration to pull new vendors from the online expense system first? If so, you just set yourself up to fail on creating the Payables transaction in your ERP.
Plan out all the data that needs to exist prior to importing in any data. Once the data is planned out, then you need to prioritize which integrations to create first, so any data that is required. Now you have a successful integration plan!
4. Get access to templates
Don’t want to reinvent the wheel? With the integration tool you select, make sure there are templates or samples available for you to review and use. While a template or sample may not do 100% of what you need, it may do 80% of it – saving you a ton of time and money.
5. Have a support resource
Once your integrations are up and running, ensure you have access to the experts should you ever need it. The last thing you want is to be in a bind with no one to talk to about your issues.
When it comes to integrations, you can be developer-free and join the “easy” integration camp. Make sure to follow my 5 steps for success. And check out SmartConnect – the integration solution that can help you be developer-free.
What is the easiest integration you’ve created? What tool did you use? Comment below – we’d love to hear from you.