Create a compatibility test for ERP and PPM

Neil Stolovitsky Senior Solution Specialist at Genius InsideThis Software September contribution comes from Neil Stolovitsky who writes about factors to be considered when linking project management software to other enterprise system.
Your organization must use the right criteria and ask the right questions when evaluating the integration between your PPM and existing ERP systems. This will ensure that there is a good fit between the two applications. To effectively assess the compatibility of the two systems, a high-level mapping exercise is required. These are some questions organizations should ask when evaluating the integration of PPM and ERP systems.
1. How detailed is each system’s project costing required to add value?
Each organization requires a different level of costing details to enable project stakeholders to make informed decisions, and to assocate funds to the right parties. The financial structure of the organization must be supported by the integration platform.
2. What are the available integration options? Are you looking for import/export, batch processing, or real-time integration options?
It is important to understand the options available so that the solution can adapt to changing needs. Multiple integration options can allow you to deliver a solution that fits within your budget.
3. Is the integration platform able to support both bi-directional and one-way data exchange?
You will be able to work with your budget and have flexibility. However, it will also reduce the likelihood of future support and maintenance issues that could arise from a complex or inefficient integration solution.
4. Is the integration technology compatible with both client-server as well as cloud platforms?
Systems must be flexible in how they function and integrate with different types technology. The best systems offer an integration platform that adapts to multiple environments, including legacy systems that may be critical to the business.
5. Are the integration options able to connect to your ERP and other systems?
Connectors to third-party systems are often proven to be experienced in delivering successful integrations. Connectors will also reduce the time and cost of building integrations from scratch.
6. What industry expertise does the vendor have in addressing industry integrations?
Vendors who have industry experience should be able communicate the unique challenges and best practice organizations face. This knowledge will help ensure that the best possible integration between both systems is achieved.
7. What technology is used for integrations? Third-party platforms, APIs, ODBC, web services?
A clear understanding of the technology options available can make the difference between a seamless integration and a costly and cumbersome solution. Your organization will be able to choose the best path to success from the many options offered by vendors.
8. Are there estimates from vendors of the effort and cost to implement your integration request?
Experienced vendors can give you an estimate of the effort and cost involved in delivering multiple options to integrate your ERP and PPM systems.
9. Is your PPM vendor able to provide post-integration support?
To ensure that the integration project continues to be successful, it is important to have an SLA (support agreement) available after the integration is completed. The support agreement should include documentation detailing what happened and the knowledge transfer to your organization.
10. Can your ERP and PPM vendors provide references from customers to vali