Most companies we work with are running more than one software application that is critical to their business. For example, a company could be using manufacturing, time entry software, or even spreadsheets to track important information along with Sage 300 ERP (formerly "Sage ERP Accpac"). In this article, we discuss some of the common integration options that allow Sage 300 ERP to share and synchronize data with another application(s) without the hassle of manual and duplicate data entry.
Sometimes Integration is Necessary
There are times when it's necessary for the same data (i.e. customers, transactions, etc.) to be made available, and synchronized, in multiple systems ("real time" sharing). To accomplish that objective, some companies print the data from one system and manually rekey that information into the other.
The Problem with Re-keying Data Manually
For some companies, this approach might work fine. If there are only a few transactions and extra personnel with time to re-enter information and double check it for errors, it may not be too burdensome. But in a lot of cases, we've discovered that companies get to a point where the added administrative burden and duplicate data entry is putting a strain on business operations. For example:
- Keystroke errors occur and data becomes inaccurate and unreliable.
- The information takes too long to manually transfer between systems and important work processes are delayed. This can result misguided decisions based on information and reports that are out of date.
- The transaction volume grows and personnel spend an inordinate amount of time re-keying data.
Sage 300 (Accpac) Integration Options
There are several options available to integrate Sage 300 ERP with just about any other type of file or system. The integration approach that works best depends on the type of data that needs to be shared, the data format, and the degree of automation desired.
Most of the Sage 300 integration scenarios that we implement for our customers will typically fall into one of three types:
INTEGRATION TYPE 1: Supported File Import / Export
Within Sage 300 ERP, there is the ability to import (bring in) or export (send out) data with predefined templates. The templates are very structured in terms of how data can be pulled into the transaction fields. File types that are supported include txt, Excel, CSV, ODBC and XML. For example, sometimes the file is available to be exported to Excel, which can then be saved and imported into Sage 300 ERP.
In this type of integration, it is still necessary for the Sage 300 customer to process an import and export between systems. This provides an opportunity to double check data manually before the integration is completed.
INTEGRATION TYPE 2: Non-Supported File Import / Export
There are many different file types that you might want to bring into Sage 300 ERP. For example, your bank may have a unique file type that it uses or you may have data that's only available in PDF format. Both of these are data formats that are not supported by a structured template in Sage 300 ERP.
However with a minimal amount of programming, Equation Technologies has taken the non-supported file and mapped it to Sage 300 ERP. While there is a small investment in programming, the data is able to move from one system to the other without any duplicate entry.
This type of integration does require that someone initiate the export/import process. However, business rules and automated reminders can be built into the integration process to help manage conditions that would trigger an exception and alert.
INTEGRATION TYPE 3: Integration and Automation in Real Time
For critical transactions where it's necessary for data to be available in two systems almost simultaneously ("real time"), Equation Technologies integrates and automates the entire process.
For example, if you operate a web store and want orders placed online to be immediately moved into Sage 300 ERP for invoicing, credit card authorization, relief of inventory, and shipping purposes, this type of automated and real-time integration is possible.
There is no need to manually pull data from one system and import into Sage 300 ERP. This type of full-automated integration is highly customized for each customer and business rules are set up to handle exceptions.
While there are numerous benefits to integrating and sharing data between multiple systems, there are situations to be careful of when deciding to integrate and selecting a provider to help you. You may want to consider a second opinion if you are being told any of the following:
- You need to purchase third-party software to complete the integration.
- Your internal processes will need to change.
- Yes, the integration can be done but you cannot own the source code.
Sage 300 Integration IS Possible
Sage 300 customers are often amazed at the efficiency and cost-savings the right integration brings to their organization. From saving time and cutting labor costs to better reports and more accurate data, the benefits are numerous. Integration extends the flexibility of your Sage 300 ERP system.
Equation Technologies has helped our customers run more effectively with Sage 300 integrations of all types ... and we can probably help you too.
Contact us to talk about your needs and discover which Sage 300 integration option might be right for your business.