We recently saw an announcement for a webinar being presented through a prominent financial operations association that included a surprising synopsis of what was going to be covered. A company, not an independent software vendor or system integrator mind you, was going to present about how it had integrated the accounts payable automation solution they had acquired with the ERP system which they use. We was astonished by this description.
While we understand there is a variety of ways to do things, in this day and age where IT departments are buried with things to do, we were amazed that this company had decided to select an AP automation solution which didn’t provide standard integration with its ERP system.
This scenario means the company has created a one-off solution, where:
- ERP Data, security, and business rules all have to be duplicated in the AP automation solution;
- Data feeds had to be created from the ERP solution to the AP automation solution to keep all of this data in sync between the two systems; and
- Data feeds had to be created from the AP automation solution to the ERP solution to create invoices or vouchers in the ERP system for payment processing.
The key aspect of this is this integration solution is not supported by anyone else but by the company itself who created it.
By buying a solution which provides standards-based, validated or certified integration with one’s core ERP system, this situation is solved by the solution provider for all of its customers – not in a one-off manner for one company, and that solution provider can keep this integration sound for the long term by continuing on with the validated or certified integration program.
While we understand some people choose to buy fixer-upper homes because they like to work with their hands and make things the way they want them, accounts payable automation projects shouldn’t need to turn into a do-it-yourself project for companies. If you’re considering an AP automation project, you’re encouraged to look at solutions which offer standards-based, out-of-the-box, validated or certified integration with your ERP solution. Implementation should be smoother and long-term risk and total cost of ownership should be reduced by doing so.