I love my job for a number of reasons. Some of the top being that I get to work with not only incredibly talented and creative people, but with products that help our customers save time and money. Take a look at the case study below which talks about our customer, Industrial Air Centers, and their use of SmartConnect. We were able to save them tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees and ongoing product costs. They moved over from Scribe and haven't looked back since...
Industrial Air Centers (IAC) is a provider of industrial compressed air equipment, maintenance services, and energy management systems. With an enormous amount of data needing to move off multiple legacy systems into Microsoft Dynamics GP, along with a need to integrate with Wennsoft, eXtender Enterprise, Excel and CRM, IAC needed a powerful solution that was also easy to use on their own. Their need led them on a journey to discover that not all solutions are created equal.
At the outset, IAC invested “tens of thousands” in a solution from Scribe Software. Upon installing the product, IAC realized that a very specialized skillset was required and a dedicated Scribe consultant would need to be hired to complete the project on their behalf. After reaching out for an estimate on the work, they were told that it would be a minimum of “tens of thousands” more. The price tag gave IAC the fuel they needed to look elsewhere. “It’s not that Scribe couldn’t do it; it was simply that the cost was unexpected and enormous and we knew that would continue for the duration of our use of the product. We did not want that level of custom work and were not prepared for the increase in total cost of ownership,” commented Adam Robinson, Director of Information Technology at IAC.
Robinson began searching to find the solution that would integrate from multiple data sources to multiple destinations and would be the best fit for his team. As a user of eXtender Enterprise from eOne Solutions, he was excited to learn that eOne also had an integration tool that would solve his dilemma. “I was on the eOne site looking at eXtender information when I noticed SmartConnect. It seemed like a no brainer to me to go with a team who’s been in the channel as long as they have and is that closely linked to Microsoft.”
Two days of classroom training with eOne’s consulting team gave Robinson the skills he needed to successfully implement and develop his own integrations with SmartConnect. “Training was excellent. I felt like I actually got my money’s worth out of it. It wasn’t like most of the sessions I’ve attended where you barely skim the surface of the product. We went deep and technical right away. I walked away confident that my projects would be successful.”
Rather than pay thousands for high-priced consultants, Robinson was able to go back to work and set up his own integrations. “In less than 30 minutes I had an Excel integration map up and running and was on to my next project. About 99.9% of the maps I completed myself. For the remaining 0.1%, I was able to reference eOne’s support team.”
IAC began creating maps for all their needs. They started with existing Excel sheets as a data source and utilized the Excel Add-In tool to call SmartConnect web services and integrate the data. Robinson shared, “I had users who absolutely refused to use anything but Excel. Rather than fight it, we embraced Excel as the data source for that integration and updated GP with our valuable information right from Excel. We eliminated duplicate data entry and kept unneeded users out of GP.”
Beyond utilizing SmartConnect with Excel, IAC began mapping integrations that wrote to their Wennsoft and eXtender fields, which is not available through any other integration tool, updated GP and CRM, wrote to their custom entities in CRM, and more. “We’re using SmartConnect for everything – we have bulk data sources, real-time data sources, changes only data sources and we’re hitting nearly every destination.” Robinson continued, sharing: “One cool thing we do with SmartConnect is synchronize from our fleet GPS vendor to our service management system. Since SmartConnect allows XML files as data sources, it’s pretty trivial to do a call out to get where our trucks are, run the SmartConnect map, and have that move the data real-time into our service system. Doing it without SmartConnect is a whole lot of pain.”
When asked to quantify the benefit of using SmartConnect, Robinson laughed “I attempted to do that at one point, but the number I came up with people wouldn’t believe. The amount of stuff that would have been done with individuals simply data-entering…it’s years worth of time we’ve saved.”
Robinson concluded, “We have two or three things we recommend to anyone we talk to…SmartConnect is one of them. Integrations are by nature complex, but with SmartConnect I did not need to write code to tie all our systems together. Even if SmartConnect were more expensive than Scribe – I would still choose SmartConnect every time.”