The pros and cons of different cloud integration methods
By David Hickman
Businesses large and small are often faced with the dilemma of moving key data from one system to another system. Integrations, however, are not or should not be a part of a business or IT department’s core competency. Instead, their focus is typically centered around functional expertise on a particular application or analytics program and not moving data from one to another so that it is timely, reliable, accurate, and seamless.
This blog explains the nuances of integrations, and how Menlo Technologies is best suited to solve those requirements both for Human Capital Management systems such as Ultimate Software, but also any cloud or on premise solution.
The need to integrate requires two or more disparate systems. The end points are probably easily defined, but analyzing how to connect and which software to use requires experienced analysis. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the different integration methods:
|Manual||Excel, flat file||Manual flat files work well if there are few connections and the time delays are not an issue. There is no additional software required.||This people-dependent solution can break down with unplanned personnel changes or undocumented procedures. Not scalable.|
|Point-to-Point||SSIS, scripting programs||Sometimes beneficial if there are just two endpoints. It may be fast to connect the systems if you have experienced software developers available.||Not Scalable. SW errors may go unnoticed for days or weeks. Difficult to maintain any operational efficiencies in the long term. Changes in one system may cause a programming update nightmare.|
|Enterprise on premise solution||Informatica, Tibco, Oracle SOA, SAP PI||Robust throughput if you have many systems to connect. Error Handling and Operations Dashboards typically exist to some capacity.||Costly licenses and Developer costs can add up. Complexity of the tool results in much slower development time as compared to iPaaS.|
|iPaaS Saas Enterprise Solution||Boomi, MuleSoft||Reasonable cost structure and software can run in the cloud. Engineered to move data between cloud systems. Growing demand for these products has increased feature sets to include EDI and Master Data Management. Very fast to develop.||You often have to build your own Operations Dashboard or work with a partner who has this capability.|
Menlo’s approach to Integrations
Menlo Technologies draws on its decades of experience integrating disparate systems in order to meet the needs of our clients. Whether you are integrating systems for HCM, ERP, CRM, EDI, disparate databases or ftp files there is a methodology you should use and Menlo can assist. We don’t limit ourselves to just one system (e.g. SFDC integrations) or one application area (e.g. HCM), but rather have experience in solving issues across many systems due to the requirements from our various clients.
Menlo will help you:
- Understand which integration method/technology to use if you haven’t selected a method
- Assist with cost reduction/risk reduction strategies
- Design, develop, test and operationalize integrations and EDI transactions
- Discuss and decide if you should choose a point-to-point strategy or a more robust, more complex Master Data Management (MDM) strategy
- Build an operational dashboard for integrations
- Deliver integration reports for success and failures
- Build EDI transactions for your business.
Menlo has helped clients integrate various systems including: Ultimate SW, Workday, JobVite, NetSuite, Oracle, SFDC, SAP iDocs, SharePoint, Box, DocuSign, EchoSign, Zendesk, AWS, @Task, and Ariba, and ExactTarget.
To further Menlo’s integration efforts, our Mobile and Web development practices often require us to build integrations to various custom or cloud-based solutions. Give us an API and we can integrate into it or from it.
Additionally, we have utilized various protocols for our integrations including EDI (X12/Edifact), JSON, CXML, flat file, Database, Groovy, and ModusLink.
HCM integrations are often at the forefront of our clients’ needs and Ultimate is continuing to grow with their installed base and expanding developer API possibilities. Menlo has developed Ultimate integrations for onboarding, off boarding, and AD integrations as well as other Employee and Contractor data elements. Because of our experience, we can typically engage with a client and quickly assess the needs and build the integration. For example, we have developed most of the Ultimate integrations in less than a week.
We are also seeing a need where multi-national organizations need integrations between a satellite HCM and a global master HCM. The local company uses a satellite system for recruiting, payroll, off boarding, and on boarding, but they need to pass master Employee data back to the parent company. Enterprise integrations are the best delivery method for this use case.
If you are integrating your HRIS system or any other system, Menlo would like the opportunity to help you save money, reduce risk, and increase your ability to scale.