Square Peg in a Round Hole

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If you've ever bought a suit, you know how hard it is to find the perfect fit right off the shelf. The jacket may fit perfectly, but the arms are a little too long. Maybe the pants are the right length, but the waist needs to be taken in. Overall, the suit is a great fit, but it's not perfect.

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Your ERP system is the same way. There's no exact perfect fit right out of the box, but the key is to find the best fit for your most critical needs and build a perfect business system with the least amount of customization.

Square Peg in a Round HoleOur recent white paper, "Enterprise Software for Distributors - Is there a Perfect Fit?," expands on this idea in detail, and with some useful examples from a few our customers. But in general, even with the strongest platform designed for your industry, no ERP software will be able to support 100% of your specific business processes and culture right out of the box. The system should provide tools that allow you to personalize the software to address the last 1 or 2 or 3%.

Those tools will vary by system and can include tools to personalize the user experience, add your own business logic, reporting tools, and business intelligence tools to name a few. An important part of that tool set is an Application Programming Interface (API). An API is a set of services that enable you to integrate multiple systems together. In this case your ERP system to outside systems or applications. The API works as a translator, helping the two separate systems pass data back and forth and understand each other.

The ultimate purpose of the API is to open your ERP system to outside applications. Example, if you want to use a third-party CRM, integrate it with the API. If you want to connect to a third-party automated warehouse management system, integrate it with the API. I'm personally not smart enough to use an API. But from what I've learned it's not difficult to use. You do need a specific set of skills, that many IT professional possess. I'm just not one of those people.

A powerful API is an important part of the both the Prophet 21 and Eclipse Roadmap. Look for more information about both API's with the coming releases.

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