Integration is a big word in the software space–it means a lot of different things to different people, and it’s important to be clear about what you want, when you look into it. In the past, I’ve waxed somewhat poetic about how Document Locator’s back-end database is Microsoft’s SQL Server…and here’s one more reason to be happy about it–it’s a database that makes integration between software systems very possible, and typically painless.
There are a lot of different reasons that you might want integration, but ease of use, and consistency of information across software platforms are the two major reasons you would look for it. Here at ColumbiaSoft, we have three ways to manage integration, out of the box, with other systems–below I’ve detailed what they are, and why you would want to take advantage of them. For the sake of argument, let’s use our AP Invoice Processing solution as a starting point.
1) Using open ODBC connections to create dynamically linked properties: this is incredibly valuable when it comes to the consistency of your information across software platforms. Non-programmatically, Document Locator can access information from other software systems’ database tables, in order to provide metadata properties in drop-down menus for when you’re accessing information. So when an invoice hits the system and is processed through, you won’t ever have to worry about your invoice being filed under some variation of Vendor ABC, like Vendor AB, Vondor ABC, or ABC Vendor–you’ll have consistency across multiple systems.
2) DL Fusion: This is wonderful when you are in one software application, and want to be able to search for files in Document Locator. For example, when you’re in a Customer Records Management system, and want to find all of the invoices for Vendor ABC, you can search in Document Locator while still inside of your CRM…something that can save a lot of time, so that you don’t have to duck and weave between software systems.
3) Open SDK/API: this allows for deeper integration–for example, say that your accounting system automatically creates an invoice to bill a vendor at month’s end–you can use the API to automatically route and process the invoice into Document Locator, and potentially run the invoice through approval routing, or other relevant workflow.
So when you think about having a software system that has the potential to integrate with other systems you’re already running–what would be useful? It really depends on where you do your work, and how you need to access things. The good news? We’re flexible.