How a Business Intelligence Tool for NetSuite ERP Can Help Your Integration Strategy


In an ideal world, an ERP is meant to act as a single resource with the business analytics tools an organization needs under one umbrella system.  In reality, businesses don’t solely rely on their ERP data,  they leverage other strategic systems, such as best-of-breed CRM, POS, eCommerce, WMS and other solutions that are critical to their success. 

Although ERP systems are the hub of an organization, ERP users are often connecting disparate systems to streamline business processes, increase data visibility and improve decision making. This can be a real challenge!

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The Challenges of a System Integration

System Integration, sometimes challenging, is the ability to efficiently connect and exchange data between different applications.  

Often defined as , “An IT or engineering process or phase concerned with joining different subsystems or components as one large system. It ensures that each integrated subsystem functions as required. SI is also used to add value to a system through new functionalities provided by connecting functions of different systems.”  

The global market growth for SI is linked to the expansion of cloud computing and virtual technologies. NetSuite ERP customers make up this growing market, which aims to optimize the usage of their critical cloud systems.

How to Decide Between Application Integration or Data Integration

The crossover of ERP and other system data can be seen in both transactional and reporting data sets.  Business processes, such as accounting, can appear in multiple enterprise systems where data sets and functionality can overlap. 

There are several ways to manage redundancies and communication between these systems. The simplest one is the “Swivel Chair” integration or interface where someone  manually ties the data between these disconnected systems.  Instead of automating the synchronization of data with checks and balances, this approach is prone to human error, lacks efficiency and impacts data integrity. 

The question is: which automated integration will work best for your business?

Two common approaches to solving NetSuite integration issues: 

Application Integration

Moving live data (almost real time) between two systems,updating business processes across several applications.  Also known as point-to-point integrations, designed specifically to enhance or add value to the data set of the ther system.  For example, updating customer information from CRM to ERP.

Data Integration

Centralizing multiple data sources from various  systems typically housed in a data warehouse to improve reporting, migration and/or consolidation.  Data integration tends to occur via batch processes and makes it easier to  capture large data sets to analyze, migrate and/or process.

Although both approaches involve  planning and effort, application integration projects typically provide a subset of data specific to each system and are supposed to add value to operational processes. Alternatively, data integration tasks  tend to focus on a more holistic view of business information thus improving overall analytics that are strategic to an organization. 

NetSuite Challenges in Data Integration

When it comes to integration projects with NetSuite ERP, there are many powerful cloud-based integration platforms available.  NetSuite partners are well versed in platforms, such as Boomi and Celigo, designed to connect consistent data flows between NetSuite and third-party applications. 

How a BI Platform for NetSuite Data Can Help

Most NetSuite customers recognize that application integrations are typically project-based initiatives. In this case, each system integration with the ERP has a unique set of requirements to solve a specific data exchange between two or more systems.  In many cases, iPaaS solutions (e.g. Boomi and Celigo) can be leveraged to effectively ensure the success of these types of integrations. 

Alternatively, data integration initiatives are broader in scope, allowing for the continuous intake of original and new data sources designed to blend information for reporting purposes.  Basically, data integration requires a lot more flexibility with the exchange of data across the various systems.  

Because of this, these integrations tend to live in a central place  (i.e. Data Warehouse) where the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is aligned with a more affordable business intelligence (BI) platform. This lets you make quick and iterative changes to the datasets.  

BI solutions are designed to scale with the growing volume and variety of datasets captured by  businesses. Customers should evaluate whether their systems absolutely need to  “talk” to each other or if simply accessing the data meets their needs.  If the latter is the case, a well-designed BI platform for  the NetSuite Data set can deliver quick value with minimal overhead.  

For NetSuite customers, ERP data access and flexibility are limited.  Most saved searches and other Netsuite data extraction tools offer controlled access within the data structure built into the solution. In many cases, there are limitations between tables and certain use cases need heavy scripting and customization to develop specific reporting across both NetSuite and non-NetSuite datasets.  

In fact, NetSuite data integration initiatives need a system that translates the native NetSuite data into a more flexible data model. It’s then extracted to a data warehouse so businesses can develop deeper data analytics without impacting their ERP system.

4 Best NetSuite Integrations For Your Business

To learn how Business Intelligence for NetSuite, Powered by GURUS, can deliver powerful data integration, visualization and analytics with NetSuite ERP and third-party applications, contact GURUS Solutions today. 

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About Neil Stolovitsky

Neil Stolovitsky has over 20 years of IT experience with end-user, consulting, and vendor organizations, along with extensive expertise in Pre-Sales, Business Development, Product Marketing, Software Selection, and Channel Strategies. He has published numerous blogs, white papers and articles covering Business Intelligence, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Professional Services Automation (PSA), Project Portfolio Management, IT Governance, and New Product Development to a global audience. Neil currently holds the position of Product Manager with GURUS Solutions.