Integrations are often a key concern when implementing a new software, but how can you avoid creating a creaking, groaning, Frankenstein’s monster of systems bolted together? We talked to Florian Courtade, an integrations expert here at Xledger, to find out his top tips for creating smooth and effective integrations.

Tip 1:

Start by identifying what’s really necessary. What systems do you want to talk to each other, and what data do they need to exchange? How frequently does the data need to move back and forth – and is it moving in both directions, or just one? What volume of data is being shared? This all matters when creating the most effective integrations. For example, payroll is something that’s done once a month, and often involves uploading one set of data to your payroll system. Do you need an integration here, or is it something that can be done just as quickly and effectively with a manual intervention? The answer might be that you DO want to integrate your payroll system, and that’s okay, but make sure you’ve checked that it makes the most sense for your business.

Tip 2:

Identify which processes belong to which system – and what each system is designed to do. This will allow you to use the systems as they were intended and make sure you’re not trying to put a square peg in a round hole. If your systems are running efficiently and effectively, it’s easier to build integrations around them.

Tip 3:

API (application programme interface) is how two systems talk to each other. It’s a door into each system that allows you to get data in and out. However, there’s still work to be done to build the path between each door – and this is where the experts come in. Having the right people in your team who understand how to build this code (or hiring a consultant to do it for you) will mean you can be confident that the integration is working how it’s supposed to.

Tip 4:

Now that you know what you need and what systems are going to do the job, think about how the data is going to be shared – and if it needs to be shared between multiple systems. If that’s the case, then it’s useful to centralise the data in a data warehouse. This means you have one hub in the middle that each of your systems integrates with, and you don’t need to maintain lots of separate integrations between multiple systems. The difference between two systems exchanging data (one integration) and four systems exchanging data (six integrations) and six systems exchanging data (eleven integrations) can get out of hand quickly!

Finally, Florian offers this advice: “Integrations are complicated by their very nature, but you can do a lot to make the process easier. When you’re in the scoping phase of your project, take the time to define what you need, which will make it much easier for someone to build the integrations for you.”

Want to find out more about Xledger’s integrations? Check out our integration page: Integrations – Xledger UK