As the world’s only supplier of packaged products using the SAP Gateway for Microsoft, Cordis Solutions know a thing or two about “interoperability”. Here is our guide to interoperability and what it means to your business.
What does interoperability mean?
At the most basic level, interoperability means having the means to link two or more individual systems to share data. True interoperability also requires data to be mapped and translated correctly so that it is fully compatible with all of the linked systems; data entered into one system should be readable in the others.
How does interoperability work?
Traditionally enterprise IT systems have grown organically, using best-of-breed applications according to the specific needs of each business unit. The finance department has its own accounting platform, sales and marketing have a CRM system and production have an ERP tool – each of which tends to exist in isolation.
Interoperability provides a framework to share information between these platforms, allowing each business unit to gain a better understanding of how their activities affect the rest of the business, and to generate a 360º view of customers.
Interoperability also allows your business to link other systems to create new efficiencies, or add value. Cordis’ own toolkit allows you to use Microsoft Office to capture data for storage in an SAP back-end for instance. All data transferred between the systems is properly parsed and formed to ensure full compatibility too.
Why interoperability matters
Successfully serving customers and internal stakeholders relies on the ability to access relevant data quickly. Where information exists in silos, it is almost impossible to aggregate data quickly.
Interoperability provides a transparent link to access and update data across multiple systems – often through a single interface. For the end user, they have all the information they need, without the hassle of exporting from multiple applications to build reports manually.
Interoperability also greatly simplifies the data capture process, allowing the use of a simple application – like Microsoft Excel – to accept user input. As well as being simpler to use, a single interface reduces the risk of manual error creeping in when trying to update records via multiple applications.
How to improve interoperability
Most enterprise grade systems have their own APIs that allow you to access the backend data stores. Solutions like SAP’s Gateway for Microsoft are even more specific, allowing your business to connect Microsoft Office to your SAP data.
Using Gateway for Microsoft, your business can unite the simplicity of Office with the raw power of SAP. The simple, familiar interface of say, Excel, makes it easier than ever to capture the data you really need without compromising the integrity of the SAP data. Similarly, the reporting tools built into Excel can be used to access backend data without needing full access to the SAP interface.
Interoperability improvements should always be focussed on simplifying data access and capture to help make data-driven operations more efficient. Because without it, your data is less accessible – and therefore less valuable.
To learn more about interoperability, SAP Gateway for Microsoft and Cordis’ packaged solutions, please get in touch