Today we’re going to look at how you can connect the technology systems you use in your business to SanMar’s for a more seamless experience. We’re talking about electronic systems integration.
Since this is a technical subject, we asked Ajay Kaul, Application Support Manager and “the face of integration” here at SanMar, for some help in understanding who might best benefit from integration and how it all works.
What is Integration?
“Integration allows customers to focus on their priorities and build their business,” says Ajay. “They can seamlessly consume information with minimal manual work as they perform day-to-day business with SanMar.”
An integrated system enables customers to submit orders and see up-to-the-minute product information, including pricing and available inventory, directly from the systems they already use. They can also check on order status, see shipment information and view and pay invoices using their own familiar technology.
Who Should Consider Integration?
You might be wondering why everyone isn’t on an integrated system, since it makes things so simple. This is where the technical aspect of Ajay’s job comes in.
“Integration does require an up-front investment of IT resources,” he explains. “The customer will need to have access to skilled technical people familiar with APIs as well as flat file technology, either in-house or through a third-party software vendor.”
The tipping point mostly comes down to how much extra manual work your business needs to do. The more work you find yourself doing manually, the more beneficial integration would be. With this in mind, Ajay says that “most medium and large businesses are ideal candidates for an integrated setup.”
How Long Does Integration Take?
Unfortunately, there’s no magic “INTEGRATE” switch we can flip. (Not that we know of, anyway. If you see one, let us know!)
With several possible integration models available, the time needed to connect your systems with SanMar’s can vary. How long the process takes depends largely on the skills and knowledge of the IT resources available and on the system you’re already using.
SanMar can help you choose which model is best for the needs of your business and help get the process started. Once that happens, Ajay estimates that “a typical engagement could be anywhere from three weeks to six months.”
If you’ve read this far and you’re thinking that this could save your business time and money, you’re probably right. Ajay and his team are here to help you explore options and get the ball rolling.
If you’d like to know more about SanMar’s integration tools, take a look at our newly-updated Electronic Integrations page. You’ll find more about which integration models are available, a few downloadable documents to get you started, and how you can contact SanMar when you’re ready.