In this technological age any sizable organization would expect their commodity energy trading & risk management – Ctrm- Etrm system to easily integrate with ERP systems like SAP to realize a return on their investment -ROI. Most Ctrm-Etrm vendors tout solutions that easily integrate with ERP and General Ledger solutions as part of their value proposition. The reality is that this is not the case and this is an area that anyone embarking on Ctrm-Etrm integration with an ERP system should seriously consider the challenges associated with the integration.
So the question we should all be asking ourselves is “what is the correct approach to interfacing with an ERP system such as SAP?’’ Unfortunately, there is no right answer. Vendors that tout a cookie cutter approach will most likely lead you to a failed project. In our Ctrm-Etrm systems integration experience every Ctrm-Etrm solution should be able to easily work with any existing ERP. But it’s not easy. Why? Becuase every SAP implementation comes with its own unique installation specifications creating the need for custom adpaters that meet these unique features. The decisive point to be concluded here, is that there is no standard integration when it come to SAP. Any organisation considering this undertaking has to be aware of the increased risk associated with building and delivering unique ERP and/or SAP interfaces.
There are many integration approaches with ERP systems, choosing the right one depends on the organization’s IT infrastructure and the amount of resources they have available. Integration approach include, but are not limited to: flat file upload, web services API, middleware technologies, and xml based interfaces.
So before you buy in to an approach your vendor provides or proposes, what do you need to know? Firstly, the Etrm-Ctrm solution you are considering needs to have a flexible architecture that is designed for integration. It should be configurable with little code changes needed to meet unique requirements. New technologies offer next generation open source middleware that can easily adapt to unique integrate needs.
Secondly, it is important that your vendor reviews your infrastructure and offers a solution that adapts to your unique environment. The vendor should be confident enough in the approach to offer a fixed price for the adapter. This greatly reduces the implementation risk for the client.
Third, choose a vendor with a product that is well suited for change management as requirements are surely going to change and change management can be an area that is often overlooked. Rigid Ctrm-Etrm solutions can quickly become obsolete in an ever changing landscape of business needs. From our experience of serving this user community and after numerous successful SAP integration projects change management still remains a top concern for the user community that we serve.
Our approach at Pioneer Solutions is different. We rely on an open system that is web-based, and formula and template-driven. We focus on a rapid iterative delivery that not only delivers faster results, it minimizes overall project delivery risk. We deliver solutions that result in lower cost of ownership and a higher return on investment- ROI. Pioneer Solutions has been recognized by leading Etrm industry publications and surveys for providing outstanding customer satisfaction and for its “ease-of-integration” with other technologies. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our approach, and how we differentiate from other vendors.