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Posts tagged ‘CRM Data Integration’

Selecting an Integration Approach That Meets the Business Need

Understand Requirements

Today, more than ever, a wide range of complex business challenges drive the need to unify information and make it readily available. This, in turn, impacts what is needed from your integration engine.

Selecting a data transfer systems involves identifying and quantifying strategic requirements (summarized in our Blog Post “Six Easy Steps to Identify Data Integration Needs”), and then matching them to integration options. As there are, however, literally hundreds of integration tools to choose from, this Post suggests ways to home in on the types of integration systems that are likely to meet your business imperatives.

The first step is to look at the various categories of integration solutions. There are many ways to sort different systems – for instance ETL versus EAI versus data visualization – however small to medium sized companies, which make up around 99% of businesses and up to half of private sector employment (in the US, at least), can benefit from a more pragmatic sorting, as suggested in the table below.

Table I: Three Possible Categorizations of Integration Systems.

Select the Category that Best Fits Your Needs

Once you have identified categories and their key attributes, match these to the list of “must-haves” identified from a review of your business requirements. It is best to keep to high-level objectives at this point, as demonstrated in the example below:

Tables II and III: Identify Key Requirements and Match to Options

The trap to avoid is simplifying needs. For instance, where development time needs to be short, the project is a one-off, or performance monitoring is not important, point and click solutions can be a great bet. On the other hand, if the project is a work in progress and requirements could change suddenly, or if volumes are expected to increase significantly, a point and click may be a bad choice. In other words, don’t be short-sighted. Look beyond the immediate requirements to avoid wasting time and money on an inappropriate approach.


An expansive view is also helpful when reviewing pricing options. Across and within all categories, there can be large differences between initial and ongoing fees. For instance, adding users, increasing volumes and building in more automations/jobs (a complex project can have thousands of these), can all lead to a dramatic increase in cost. As an illustration, the graph below shows how some typical pricing models are related to volume increases.

Graph I: Relationship Between Pricing Models and Volume Growth

Too much, too little, or just right?

There are two big problems when selecting an integration approach. The first is to take the process too seriously, the second is not taking it seriously enough. In other words, the evaluation process can become bogged down in detail, or not look beyond the immediate project requirements. These are easy traps to fall into given today’s data complexity and the allure of “quick-fix” tools, however keeping sight of key business desiderata, and making sure these are met, will help identify the integration approaches needed. Done correctly, the final match of requirements against options will result in an approach that helps springboard your company to ongoing success.

Six Easy Steps to Identify Data Integration Needs

Choosing the best integration solution for your company has never been tougher.

Which is surprising, right?

After all, with the plethora of integration tools available today, in some ways it has never been easier to move data around. The sheer range of options, however, is overwhelming, especially as huge differences between systems can make direct comparisons difficult, and what works for one integration project may not work for another.

Yet today, more than ever, being abreast of the digital curve is imperative, and integration is key to this. As Massimo Pezzini, Gartner, recently noted:

“Through 2020, integration work will account for 50% of the time and cost of building a digital platform.”

Given the importance of integration, selecting the wrong solution is expensive in all respects: cost, lost time, and missed opportunities. Clearly, it’s important to make a good choice, especially for critical business opportunities.

Following is a summary of six key areas that impact data transfer today.

With so much to consider, data integration is no longer the realm of simply shuffling data around. Rather, it needs to be viewed as a means of supporting the delivery of highly competitive applications in the context of business processes and data flow. The following table presents ways of managing the complexity associated with today’s business and market demands.

Choosing an integration approach, whether for a specific project or a companywide standard, will be most successful when the entire data requirement – from client need to delivery mechanism to environments – is understood and agreed. Only then should the selection process begin.

Next week’s post will look at three categories of integration solutions and will suggest ways to match them to the identified business need.

InaPlex specializes in data integration and CRM migration services and solutions, with a focus on difficult, niche projects. Our licenses are in use throughout the world and our International Services Team provides implementation and app development. Contact us today for a free presentation, or to chat through your tech needs with one of our consultants.

Get More from CRM with Marketing Automation and Social Media

Today, more than ever, CRM needs to connect with other systems: This post explores the gains to be made from integrating CRM with Marketing Automation and Social Media.

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How to Succeed in CRM Integration and Migration: Database Reverse Engineering

Moving data to CRM systems - for a migration or ongoing integration - can involve poorly defined databases. This blog shows you how to reverse engineer a database for successful transfer of data to the CRM system.

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Five Steps to Ensure the Best Integration Approach for Marketing Automation and CRM

How do you decide on the best way to integrate your marketing automation and CRM systems? In this post David Evans, InaPlex CEO, shares our approach.

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21 Widely Used Data Integration Terms

Take a look at our business friendly definitions of 21 widely used CRM Data Integration terms.

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Selecting a CRM Integration Solution

CRM Integration can be complex and demanding. This document looks at integration challenges, and the types of functions needed to overcome them.

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Inaport Release V8.0

As of September 2015 Inaport V8.0 is the current software version. New users, and users with valid Software Assurance, can download this software at any time for no charge from our website.

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GoldMine to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Post III: Migrating Customer Details

This Post is the third in a series of four about migrating from GoldMine to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It details system preparation and migrating contact details, including email and web addresses. The final post will step through the process of migrating activities, history, emails, attachments and opportunities.

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InaPlex at eXtremeCRM 2013

Can You Afford Not to Visit InaPlex at eXtremeCRM?

Ask yourself: Is the completeness or integrity of CRM data important to you? If it is, you will definitely want to visit the InaPlex Booth at eXtremeCRM and look at Inaport.

As David Grant, Advisory Consultant at MBS DEV, notes, “I’ve been working with MS Dynamics CRM for several years, and have used many ETL tools. Inaport has become my favorite due to its combination of functionality, ease of use and affordability”.

InaPlex is delighted to be exhibiting at eXtremeCRM next week (Booth 20), and will have demonstrations that will interest both new and existing InaPlex Partners.

InaPlex systems can manage all aspects of MS Dynamics CRM data. With its ETL engine, Inaport, there are solutions for data migration, data integration, data cleaning, and all areas of data manipulation.

Perhaps most exciting, its breadth of functionality can underpin a wide range of transformative business processes. Inaport is often used innovatively – from xRM implementations, to business process monitoring, to round robin information allocation – to get the most out of the CRM investment.

Inaport is an extremely versatile CRM data engine.

It also provides exceptional value.

Unlike many ETL tools, Inaport is licensed per CRM installation – not by seat count. This means that both purchase and ongoing costs are very competitive. Yet this value comes without compromise – Inaport is a powerful, functionally rich solution.

If you are already familiar with Inaport you’ll want to come and learn more about our latest release, Inaport Version 8. This release continues to build on Inaport’s core strengths with a range of new functions and compatibilities, including:

  • Support for new CRM versions, in particular MS CRM 2013
  • Support for Eloqua integration
  • New extensibility functionality
  • Extended data array management – manipulating, capturing and caching – for functions such as round robin distribution

We hope you’ll make time to visit InaPlex at Booth 20 so that we can catch up, or learn a bit about each other and see where there may be synergies between our companies.

If you can’t make eXtremeCRM and would like more information, please contact InaPlex for a webinar or consultant call. Otherwise, we hope to see you next week at eXtremeCRM in Anaheim.

InaPlex has many years of experience with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, with thousands of organizations around the world using Inaport for CRM data migration and integration. Inaport supports all versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM (on-premise and on-line), including Version 2013.
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