3 min read

10 Things to Consider for Data Integration

10 Things to Consider for Data Integration

data integrationPhoto appears courtesy of Yoppy.  This blog was written by David McAlister of McAna EDI, an Aurora EDI Alliance partner.  Over my 30 year IT career, technical coding has been my passion.  In the early 80's I started out in application development. For the last 17 years I've been an independent software reseller and integrator for integration solutions.  Software sales have evolved from my technical expertise.  Object-oriented and affordable to some, Mercator is my mapping tool of choice.  Since 2005 our preferred integration solutions toolset is Liaison's Delta/ECS formally Softshare.  Outlined below are ten considerations when choosing an integration solution

The number one consideration is finding a solution that satisfies the enterprise needs of an organization.  Your integration project could support not just EDI (X12 & EDIFACT), but adapters for HTTP, SMTP, FTP, SFTP, XML, HL7, database, AS2 and VBScripts.  The power of Delta/ECS allows you to dream and create your integration solutions.

The second biggest consideration for an integration solution includes engaging with a mentor like myself.  Along with my expertise, I am backed by Aurora EDI Alliance partners and the manufacturer's professional services team to establish best practices, training and support for your integration project to move you in the right direction.  

The third consideration is life-cycle.  Delta/ECS has an excellent price entry point, test system pricing, multi-server load-balancing and simplified firewall management.  Choose your product entry based on your integration requirements and add on as necessary.  ECS Enterprise provides FTP hosting and Delta mapping engines can extend the integration solution to fit your needs. 

The fourth consideration is choosing software that has the ability to stay current with the growth of Windows.  ECS/Delta has released the 64 bit version of their software and upgrades are beginning for our clients. I have always been an advocate of staying current for improved functionality, maintaining the life-cycle of the solution and, being a team player with technical support.

The fifth consideration is ease of support.  ECS has the built-in ability to send support a snapshot of the system.  As soon as technical support receives an email regarding the situation they are able to begin evaluating any issues.  Should any issues be non-related to a maintenance contract and fall under professional services, technical support will advise us and immediately offer assistance.  As a reseller we become an advocate for the client in discerning whether an issue falls under the maintenance contract or professional services.

The sixth consideration is the availability of documentation.  ECS/Delta provides a considerable amount of documentation.  Technical bulletins are also available, providing specific instructions to unique situations.  Problem solving then becomes time efficient. 

The seventh consideration is investment.  Many looking for integration solutions look for a Web or cloud solution.  The fixed cost hands-off approach can be beneficial for your integration project.  Unfortunately, when the project is in place various issues can arise that are not covered under the standard agreement and may possibly limit choices.  Also, outsourcing the solution does not always allow for making an investment and owning your solution.  Purchasing the software and committing to a relationship with a reseller provides you with a place to go when you have additional requirements.  Even when you choose to change backend systems, your resource is there, equipped with your business specific knowledge to move you forward. 

The eighth consideration is price.   So much functionality is available for so little of an investment.  Cloud solutions have their place, although a few months on a cloud subscription could pay for the on-site software toget your integration project started.  Once the solution is in place, the monthly costs spent on the outsourced solution can be used to maintain your integration solution.  Being poised for business opportunity sometimes means having the capabilities in-house to support the requirements of your customers.

The ninth consideration is a forum of Liaison partners that collaborate to support integration requirements.  Should you be one who takes the lead to fulfill your integration requirements, others are there to share their professional experiences helping your project move forward.

The tenth consideration would be the use of less paper.  Liaison's Delta/ECS bolts directly to EDI Notepad, which when installed on the receiver's machine, can open an EDI attachment from email in report form without any development.  Development is saved, emails are organized in folders with automatic rules in Outlook, andinformation is more organized.

Aurora Technologies/EDI Support, Inc specializes in EDI implementation and data integration solutions.  For more information, please contact Shandra Locken, at shandra@edisupport.com or 800-404-9182 x25.

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