The importance of integrating your business technology

Expert advice from Odoo CMO Alexandre Vandermeersch

The essence of Odoo is managing all your business functions within one interconnected system. So, naturally, we were happy to be represented in the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series for a discussion on the importance of integrating your business technology.

Odoo Chief Marketing Officer Alexandre Vandermeersch gave his insights on the subject and open source technology to Clark Buckner of TechnologyAdvice.  Here's an excerpt of the interview:

TechnologyAdvice: Odoo offers over 20 apps that work together smoothly. How important is it to find the right software and integrations for your business?

Alexandre: We believe it’s easier to run a business with Odoo. Especially with complex integrations that are very hard to do. That’s one of the reasons we built our own CMS E-commerce. 

Why? Because you have a lot of boundaries and a lot of communication needs to happen between the two platforms; from the inventory levels to the actual product catalog, and the pricing formation. So it's very expensive. We say, “Try to do it on Odoo if you can.” If you can’t, we have many modules integrated within Odoo to help you make that integration. We have a number of integrations within all types of platforms. 

But a key part of what we do is, we always start with a couple applications. For instance: CRM software with Warehouse Management, and get signage for one or two applications. And as you grow, as you're happy with how this works, then you move on and you upgrade to multiple apps, so that your progress will be moving to a full blown ERP. Plus, ERP versus content system will do wonders for you. So you don't have to have a patchy set of systems that don't work seamlessly. 

Because at the end of the day, you're going to do it very well. An interface is always an interface. The good news is that, compared to SAP or an auto-solution like Microsoft, it's not moderate, so you can just start with one application, be extremely happy, and as you move on, you upgrade to include more applications.

TechnologyAdvice: What is your best advice for a team planning to implement more than three different integrations into their business?

Alexandre: I think it's moving towards the most traditional ERP territory, so moving to marking the whole business process, and you know - not just one function into the system. We do have a lot of expertise in this area and we’ve tried many models. We speak from a bit of maturity and what we're doing now is waiting. Maybe do three or four - but don't do six. So three or four would be the limit, and do it progressively by making sure that you don't fire your key requirements.

Try to focus on a few weeks during which you should invest a lot of effort in mapping all the requirements, looking at the solutions' application in your organization. And then do your cut-off relatively quickly in production of at least one application. Once you get started, you'll have real usage and you'll get real feedback - before that, everything is theory.

But as you move to at least one application production, then you get to really strike back. You'll have a lot of feedback that will help you to fine tune how you implement and work with other applications. Whether you start with one, two, three or four, obviously you always have a choice, right? Because you have the integration, sometimes you have to implement three or four and go for a "big bang" approach.

You know that you have a pathway to upgrade further. But the key thing is, (what we’ve always noticed), ERPs are really different in practice than they are in theory. So you have to make sure you hit to the ground with the production as soon as possible. Try to minimize the delay before you have your first batch implementations which is in production.

If you wanna listen to more of this interview or the whole show, please download it here.

What do you think about what Alex says? Let us know by leaving a comment!

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