In today’s competitive world, there is an abundance of options available for software solutions. While there are several solutions in the market, it is often difficult to gauge the advantages of solutions from Capterra or G2’s customer reviews. Since the challenges for every organization vary and a solution that is a good fit for your organization might not work for another, we believe it is best to respond to customer questions through our articles. And one of the questions we often get asked about our Business Integration solutions is the advantages of using them.
At To-Increase, we have helped 500+ customers integrate their application landscape, streamline processes, and improve business communication with our Business Integrations solutions (BIS) suite. These are using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) –EDI Studio, application integration and integration performance monitoring Connectivity Studio
We have worked with both small and medium businesses, and large enterprises. We have worked across industries globally to help them digitally transform their business processes with our BIS suite. Therefore, in this article, we will share the advantages of our BIS solutions, EDI Studio, and Connectivity Studio for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations/Supply Chain Management (F&O/SCM) and what differentiates us from our competition.
What is the BIS Suite?
While we have helped businesses implement our BIS solutions for both cloud and on-premise, there are more perks of switching to the cloud, such as our FREE standard support plan. While we offer our BIS solutions for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations/Supply Chain Management, D365 BC, AX, and NAV, however, in this article, we will be focusing on the D365 F&O/SCM version only. (So, when we talk about D365 ERP we mean Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations/Supply Chain Management.)
Our customers can opt for our application integration solution, Connectivity Studio, as a standalone solution. If they choose to opt for our EDI solution, EDI Studio, they can use our integration solution, for EDI purposes only. In either scenario, our customers can use Connectivity Monitor for integration monitoring, provided they have the prerequisites.
Using EDI Studio, our customers can send and receive important documents such as purchase orders, invoices, advance ship notices, and more using several EDI formats. Using our solution, you can connect with your trading partners and customers and send messages internally within the organization as well.
Our essential building block can help you integrate not just EDI Studio with the ERP but also connects all your other isolated business applications. Besides helping you synchronize data, Connectivity Studio can also be used for a data migration project. Since Connectivity Studio can connect to legacy and new systems, the solution can help you migrate data from Microsoft AX 2012/AX2009 to Microsoft D365 F&O/SCM and help you modernize your systems with ease.
The Connectivity Monitor app helps you track and monitor the health of your integrations and is easily accessible on mobile phones and tablets. Additionally, the solution also allows you to track the messages exchanged through EDI Studio, making it even more beneficial to use with our existing BIS suite.
11 Advantages of To-Increase’s Business Integration Solutions
Below are the combined advantages of using our BIS suite.
1) Embedded within Dynamics 365
While other solutions can be integrated with the D365 ERP, our solutions are built inside the D365 environment, so we use the same code. So, when you are working on your ERP and you need to send out an EDI message, EDI Studio will do this automatically from the regular processing in the ERP.
An embedded solution provides a holistic overview of processes, easier troubleshooting, easier configuration, and improved performance, among other benefits. Additionally, an embedded solution is easier to manage and will need lesser maintenance in the long run.
Since our solutions are embedded in the D365 database, data transfer is automatic, and you do not need to manually copy data in and out of the ERP. Therefore, any incoming data can be directly validated in Microsoft’s D365 database.
2) Configuration-based solutions
Both Connectivity Studio and EDI Studio are configuration-based solutions, which means there is no need for you to engage with developers or take on any coding activity in-house after the solution has been implemented. Our solutions have been designed keeping business users in mind and are easy to use. Since the user experience is the same as D365, it is easy to get started with the in-built tutorials and initial training sessions. We also offer training, implementation, and on-demand support based on the customer’s specific business requirements.
3) Flexible data mapping
Based on customer feedback about the challenges of being unable to use any field or table from D365 and being limited to the data entities provided by Microsoft, we developed Connectivity Studio. While Connectivity Studio helps transfer data in and out of D365, it can override the inflexibility of mapping to any field or table in the database. This also simplifies customizing EDI messages.
4) Hassle-free data management
Connectivity Studio makes it easy to segregate and synchronize data and manage multiple scenarios. Since you can customize mapping with Connectivity Studio, you can segregate data using conditional mapping. For example, a data migration project with Connectivity Studio can help you import data into multiple companies simultaneously using a mapping specific to each company. Additionally, Connectivity Studio allows you to import and sync large amounts of data.
It is possible that each of your business systems has different data fields. During integrations and data transfers, this could be a problem using your ERP or another software. But with our solution, you can make changes on the go. For each field mapping, you can set up constants, defaults, conversions, and transformations to ensure smooth integration and data synchronization between business systems.
5) Works with Microsoft upgrades
If Microsoft updates or changes functionality, especially its data entities, then our solutions will work without the need for any development. Our solution, Connectivity Studio, offers you the flexibility to use (custom) tables or a combination of multiple standard tables for integrations. Additionally, our license fees include the cost of any upgrades or changes we make to both our solutions, EDI Studio and Connectivity Studio.
6) Flexibility of EDI VAN/broker partners
Depending on the EDI scenario, whether you decide to go with an indirect or hybrid scenario, or if you go with an end-to-end solution, we can help you figure out what will work best for your organization based on your current setup and business requirements. We offer an end-to-end solution – EDI-2-FLOW with our partner TIE Kinetix, for customers who prefer one point of contact for all their EDI needs. We also offer our customers the flexibility to connect with a value-added network (VAN)/broker of your choice using EDI Studio.
7) Error management for EDI messages simplified
Since EDI Studio has a staging area, any messages that are incorrect will show up there till they can be validated by a business user. When you implement EDI Studio, you can set up notifications for errors. So, when an error is detected in a message sent or received, an alert will be sent out to the assigned data owner/ IT team.
If there is a problem that the IT team needs to fix, they can check all past records in the history management feature of the EDI solution and resolve the issue. In either case, the recipient of the notification can check the error and validate that document to ensure business continuity.
Related reading: EDI error handling simplified using EDI Studio
8) Option of an app to monitor integrations and EDI messages
We recently launched Connectivity Monitor for monitoring the performance of all your integrations implemented with Connectivity Studio. Using this app, you can also track interactions in the form of EDI messages.
The app makes it easier to track the health of your integrations on the go as it is easily accessible using a mobile phone or tablet. The app is powered by Power BI and displays integration failure, if any, across your ‘Companies’ and ‘Applications’ involved in the graphical dashboard.
In case of an integration failure, you can check the actionable message log that keeps an account of all the messages and can track the source of the error without wasting too much time. You can set up notifications that can be sent out in Teams when an integration fails.
9) Several Connector types and document formats available
Using our BIS suite, you can exchange synchronous and asynchronous messages in near real-time. With Connectivity Studio, you have the option to implement technical integration by means of several connectors. You can choose from the D365 F&O/SCM database, file system (folders), web services, email, SharePoint, or data connection with ODBC.
Connectivity Studio supports several document formats, including Delimiter-based (CSV), flat file, fixed text, ODBC, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, EDI, JSON, and XML file (with XSD or XSLT). Additionally, custom formats can be used as well.
10) Automated processes
After you implement the solution and set up your integrations, you can simply automate steps using the rich transformation library. And in case of any changes, an event log will simplify data synchronization once applied for each connection. Once this has been done, the database triggers will detect insertions, deletions, and updates, if any, and only the changes in data will be synchronized.
11) Cost effective solutions
Since EDI Studio and Connectivity Studio are a bundled package, the licensing costs are priced per legal entity or as per the number of companies in Microsoft D365. Since we follow a tiered pricing model, the more the number of companies, the more cost-effective the price becomes. Read our EDI Cost blog that explains the licensing costs and also other costs involved.
While other solutions usually charge you per transaction and also to add each connection, for Connectivity Studio, the number of connections, or the number of transactions does not impact the cost of the solution.
And nor do we charge for the number of integrations you configure using Connectivity Studio. So, if you have a direct scenario, our solution works out quite affordable in comparison to other solutions.
Are you looking for an EDI and application integration suite?
If you think you need more information about our BIS suite, we recommend downloading our factsheet. While our solutions have several advantages, they have some limitations too, if you want to know more, read our honest review blogs for Connectivity Studio and EDI Studio.
If you do use Microsoft Dynamics 365, then our BIS suite can help you harness the power of your ERP and surpass the limitations of Microsoft’s data entities. If you do not use D365, then we hope this blog has helped you understand the benefits of using an EDI solution built on top of a powerful integration engine using the same business logic as the ERP.
If you are ready to explore our solutions, we recommend scheduling some time with an expert by clicking on the link below.