Choose a Smart Integration Strategy for Your Cloud Financial Management Platform

July 10, 2020
REBECCA WHITLATCH
Choose a Smart Integration Strategy for Your Cloud Financial Management Platform

Upgrading to a new cloud financial management/ERP platform is not a decision that organizations take lightly. The selection process often takes months of due diligence including vendor demos, online research, and reference calls.

Yet many organizations invest far less time and effort in considering how a core finance system will integrate with other applications. Treating finance integration as an afterthought is a risky approach that can end up costing substantial time and money for months and years to come.

A new Boomi ebook offers practical guidance on creating an integration strategy that helps maximize the value of your cloud financial management platform while driving efficiencies and insights across the business.

“5 Key Considerations for Integrating Your Cloud-Based Financial Management Platform,” takes a detailed look at issues including:

  • Common integration obstacles during implementation and beyond
  • The pitfalls of “free" integration tools from finance system vendors
  • Key integration questions to ask your finance system vendor
  • Involving your IT team for a finance integration reality check
  • Five considerations on deployment, functionality, skill sets, legacy on-premises integrations, and future scalability

The Need for Cloud Finance Integration

Most organizations recognize the value of integrating a financial management platform with satellite applications. For example, many connect finance systems with CRMs to automate the order-to-cash cycle, with HR to streamline onboarding, and with an ecommerce website to improve customer experiences.

And often organizations will need to connect the core finance platform with best-of-breed finance apps for budgeting and planning, expense management, billing, sales tax automation, sales commissions, and other functions.

Those integrations are ideally done quickly and flexibly. The right approach to integration ensures that can happen — which is especially important as the application landscape at your organization continues to evolve.

In the ebook, you’ll find expert perspective on topics including “free” integration tools, needed integration skills sets, the value of an IT reality check on integration, and connecting a cloud finance system with legacy on-premises applications.

Read “5 Key Considerations for Integrating Your Cloud-Based Financial Management Platform” to learn how to avoid pitfalls and ensure success when modernizing your financial ERP systems.

The Pitfalls of Finance Vendor Integration Tools

Some financial management vendors offer “free" integration tools as part of their platforms. That can seem like an enticing bonus to non-technical finance executives when selecting a new platform. Buyer beware.

Those tools may be based on complex, outdated, and even proprietary coding. And though they may be billed as "free," you could face high implementation labor costs if using a third-party firm to deploy your cloud financial management platform.

Another consideration is that finance vendor tools may cover only “minimally viable integrations,” meaning they’re limited in scope and capabilities. Can you use them six months or two years after implementation, when you need to connect finance with a new CRM system? That’s one of many questions to ask a finance system vendor offering its own integration tools.

Your In-House Integration Skill Set Going Forward

If an IT consulting firm implements your cloud finance system and does some initial integrations using finance vendor tools, what’s the outlook going forward? Is your team equipped to use those same tools to modify existing integrations or build new ones?

Do the tools require expertise in certain coding techniques, and do you have those skills in house? If you don’t, what’s your alternative? If you’re considering using a finance vendor’s integration tools, it’s important to drill down into details of the time and resource requirements you could face.

Bring in IT for an Integration Reality Check

The CFO, VP of finance, controller, and other finance leaders are usually the key stakeholders in selecting a new cloud financial management platform. It's important to get IT's perspective as well, especially on how integration is to be handled.

That can help ensure that your cloud finance system can readily and seamlessly connect with other applications during the implementation, and well into the future. Boomi suggests that decision-makers considering a finance vendor’s integration tools get a full demo of their capabilities. It also pays to discuss integration with a finance vendor's customer references.

Integrating Cloud Finance and On-Premises Apps

Even if your organization takes a cloud-first approach to IT, you may continue to run some mission-critical systems on-premises. You may need to connect those legacy systems to a cloud finance platform. That can be difficult and time-consuming if you're using legacy integration tools, including those from some finance system vendors.

A better choice is a cloud-native integration platform as a service (iPaaS) with the flexibility for any-to-any connectivity. An iPaaS brings many of the same benefits as cloud financial management – ease of use, reduced IT maintenance costs, greater efficiency, and increased productivity.

In fact, some financial management platform vendors partner with an iPaaS provider to offer cloud-native integration to their customers. Look into that point as part of your due diligence in selecting a cloud finance system.

Ask your finance system vendor the right questions, and you’ll be positioned to reap the rewards of fast, seamless integration between a cloud financial management/ERP platform and the rest of your organization.

Learn more in our ebook, “5 Key Considerations for Integrating Your Cloud-Based Financial Management Platform.”

About the Author

Rebecca Whitlatch is a senior partner marketing manager for Boomi.