Integration is a fact of life for ERP systems and business applications – cloud or otherwise. Look at the following diagram:
What jumps out at you?
The SAP ERP modules are actually integrated with each other! They are not native.
In other words, even with basic ERP extensions, integration is inevitable. You can’t avoid it. There is considerable configuration done on the back end of these systems even when they come from the same provider!
This might be a newsflash for some, but it is a critical observation in the P2P world. Consider how SAP’s own product (Ariba) was recently (by ERP firm standards) acquired. It’s not a natively architected extension from the SAP code base. In other words, regardless of whether a firm deploys Ariba or a third-party P2P solution, there will be material levels of integration work involved.
There’s a list of fairly inevitable integration issues that are bound to arise in both multi- and single-instance ERP environments. These include inconsistencies, semantic conflicts, redundancies and data duplication. That being said, the right planning can keep this list short. Also, many of the inconsistencies and conflicts are identified and resolved during the design and test phases and do not manifest themselves when the integration operates in the production environment. In short, whether the P2P solution is in the cloud or on-premise, integration strategies must be well planned.
This analysis is based on the recently published Spend Matters white paper, Cloud P2P Deployment: A How-To Guide to SAP and ERP Integration with eProcurement and Beyond (free download). Authored by Xavier Olivera, Director, P2P lead analyst, Jason Busch, founder and managing director and Thomas Kase, vice president of research, it promises to teach both business (i.e., procurement and finance) and IT users something at the same time. We promise!