Going with digital transformation, companies are getting more and more business application systems to automate their operations to reduce paper works and increase efficiency. That is also helping to protect corporate data better and to make it easier for the management team to access the deeper data to make proper decisions.
The business application systems are being used in all the activities from operation steps such as CRM, Accounting, DMS, HRM, Payroll, Customer Support, E-Commerce, Warehouse Management to more advances areas such as Business Intelligent, AI ….
The other side of having all those business applications, companies also need to care about the data interfaces/integrations among those applications to minimize data entry efforts from the end-users; for example:
- Sales data sent to Accounting software
- Employee data sent to CRM, DMS
- Payroll data sent to Accounting software
- …and many others
This is not an easy part especially for non-IT people, so what are the approaches and steps that you could take into the consideration? the followings are some of the topics that you should cover to ensure the system data interfaces are implemented properly.
1/ Identify the information needed (data fields) from the end-system
This is a critical step, each system has a different field set and their own definitions, so you should start first by identifying which information that the source system needs to send, and make ensure the end-system can receive those and process them properly.
2/ Create the fields mapping
After having all the fields that you need, let’s make a table to map the information fields of the source system to the end system, this step will help involved people understand what are the gaps between the 02 systems, and what would be the solutions to solve the gaps. Such as:
- Require additional development to add new fields into the source system?
- End-users will need enter some data manually for missing fields after the interface runs.
3/ Create value mapping
Each system will also have unique set of data value, so to ensure the sent data can be recognized by the end system, you need to create a value mapping table for each type of library.
If there are gaps, the necessary actions like the step #2 may be needed to take place.
4/ Agree on the interfaces/integration methods
The most common data interfaces/integrations method are via files (text, csv, excel) export and import; this is the easiest and cost saving methods.
The other and more automate method is via web services/API; but this will require more technical experts involved and of course that will cost more money.
5/ Other aspects
Above are main topics/ concerns, below are the “last but not least”:
- Data interfaces folders, sftp folder: you will need your technical or IT support in this step, to establish a place that the source system can send data to, and the end-users can come to collect data.
- Data encryption: You will need data encryption if end-users are entering sensitive data such as employee personal information, payroll and financial data. When data encryption is implemented; it means that the interfaced files/ data could not be opened and viewed by non-authorized personnel.