We often hear from companies that they have been putting off AP automation implementation or upgrades because they’re overwhelmed by the need to consolidate their ERPs into a single platform. For some of these companies that consolidation is not only a huge (and expensive) project that they dread taking on, it’s also a huge compromise because they need the functionality of different ERPs for different departments or for different aspects of their business.

We don’t ask that our clients change or merge ERP systems because that functionality is part of their business requirement. Over the years we’ve worked with as many as 40 different ERP systems. And we stand behind our promise that it doesn’t matter what your ERP system is, or how many ERP systems you have in place, we can work with you without changing how your data is handled on the backend.

Some of the ERPs we’ve integrated with are very well known — such as Oracle, SAP, or JD Edwards — but we’ve also worked with companies that had legacy Financials or custom “home-grown” systems. In those cases none of these systems are going to have a built-in tool or data interface to map AP data into. Often these clients had acquired those technologies when they acquired or merged with another organization and consolidating to a single ERP was not a viable option.

Because of our experience, multiple data systems don’t scare us, and they don’t have to be scary for you either. If we’ve worked with your ERP before we have the data points already mapped. If not, we will work with you to set up the map for your specific data points. Once the necessary data points are mapped we use a flat file interchange such as text, XML, or EDI file transferred via a secure server connection to transfer the data to any ERP you choose. These files are the “lowest common denominator” between technologies — it’s a format that pretty much any system can read and one that is unlikely to see significant changes in the future. Sometimes simple really is better, and ours is a simple, and nearly universal solution.

What that means for our clients is that their front end interface, workflow, and end user experience is consistent no matter where that data is stored or manipulated. We deal with data differences for different ERPs in the back end.

Complex doesn’t scare us either. We’ve built our system around the variables you deal with every day. For instance, every ERP has its own vendor master. Some vendor masters are relatively clean and straight forward. But many of our clients use unique identifiers that have to be duplicated in our system for it to work seamlessly. We’re able to set up our system so that the end user can simply select a vendor and let the system manage compliance with the data points required for that master.

Another example that accountants really appreciate is how we handle General Ledger schemas. We alter the validation of our GL coding depending on the system that the invoice is going to be imported to. So your accounting department doesn’t have to think about which GL schema to use, it’s already formatted appropriately for the ERP.

We’re also flexible about phasing your automation to meet your specific needs and timelines. If you know you’re working with a legacy system that you don’t intend to maintain we can still accommodate your full volume of invoices and initially just do interfacing for our system with the ERPs you intend to keep. You would still be using our workflow and coding in our system and you’d still have complete invoice visibility. Your staff would simply key the data manually into the legacy system from the image we deliver until you phased that legacy ERP out of your process.

DataServ’s software can also be phased in as a standalone solution even if your IT department won’t be available to work on a migration and integration project for longer than you want to wait. We can start with setting you up on our system — automating your invoice tracking and visibility — and then work with your IT department on their time schedule to complete the data mapping and full integration with your ERP systems.

So for those of you who have migration fears about supporting your existing ERPs, we know that we can help you realize the benefits of our solution without waiting years before your technologies are merged. You’ll have a clean, manageable, and consistent experience, plus all of the visibility, spend oversight, and compliance, by implementing a single process throughout the organization, regardless of what ERP or how many ERPs you are running in the back end.

If you've got questions about how we can help you realize the benefits of AP automation, contact us.

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