By Annabelle Smyth
Technology has increased the speed of everything, including our daily business practices. Now, more than ever, it is important to work smarter, not harder. A professional and efficient means to make the most of your time and data is through ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning. An ERP provider can work with your company or organization to implement powerful data integration and use document parsing for easier mining of old hard copy data. Read on for more information about the many potential benefits of Data Integration (DI) and Application Programming Interface (API).
Most companies, large or small, have multiple systems used by various teams or departments such as sales, marketing, accounts payable/receivable, shipping, human resources, and payroll. Highly-trained expert staff will work with your company’s data stewards to review your current systems, and bring them together, or integrate them, into one centrally located data warehouse. This virtual warehouse can then be accessible to multiple people at multiple locations.
While it is ideal to have all of your company’s data electronically entered into your Application Programming Interface, that will take a lot of employee time, and therefore money, to manually enter all of the historical data. An ERP/API provider can mine this valuable data for you through document parsing. You simply send us the documents electronically, and then we extract the data.
The most common types of documents that need parsing are:
- .pdfs of hard copy files
- Excel spreadsheets
- Word documents
- .rtfs or Raw Text Files
Benefits of Integration Services
- Provides a complete picture of each client’s spending habits, preferences, how they pay, where they live, with whom they prefer to interact, and much more
- Increases speed and accessibility of time-sensitive data including inventory, turnaround time, shipping rates, etc
- Data extraction can be repurposed and used to create GUI (Graphical User Interface), salesperson/customer scorecards, and marketing dashboards
- Enhances brand development and increases market reach
- Improves metadata and SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Reduction in costs of labor, software licensing, and space + increase in production and value of data = Greater Return on Investments
Benefits of Document Parsing
- Reduces physical storage need for hard copy files
- Creates more usable and searchable data
- Reduces the need for manual entry, saving time and money
- Reduces potential for human entry error
Other Uses for Integration Services
Data integration is not just for the for-profit business world. It is a strategic tool if you are in the fundraising realm as well. Use donor interaction and evaluation to enhance your wealth and behavior information, event attendance, and affinity factors. Affinity indicators are one of the most powerful influencers when approaching potential funders. Does your donor love dogs? Organize a rescue organization meet and greet. Is there an issue they vehemently oppose? You need to know that as well, so you can steer away from that topic.
Application Programming Interface can also make any non-profit more productive and effective, particularly multi-program, multi-location agencies. A whole household snapshot can be developed through the household’s demographics and program enrollment. If the child is in Head Start and the family is having their home weatherized, perhaps there is a need and opportunity for adult skills enhancement. A report can be run by any employee to generate and print a list of other programs, both internal and outside the agency, for which the family may be eligible.
Just as with for-profit businesses, API can help nonprofits coordinate inventory, program requirements, contract administration, personnel issues, payroll, and much more.
Annabelle Smyth is a freelance writer located in Salt Lake City, Utah. She enjoys writing about leadership, HR, and employee engagement. She has most recently worked with DocInfusion. When not writing and educating herself, you can find her hiking the canyons with her dog and friends.