Choosing a treasury automation solution is a difficult decision. Countless solutions are on the market, making it hard to decide which one is the best for your business needs. Before deciding on a solution, businesses should first ask whether they want a solution that is connected to Microsoft’s ERP, often described as a bolt-on solution, or an embedded solution that is a part of the ERP’s user interface.
There’s a couple of questions that treasury teams should answer before deciding between a bolt-on solution and an embedded one.
1. Does connectivity to the ERP matter to your team?
An embedded treasury automation solution in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance means everything can be done within the Microsoft Dynamics platform. The look and feel of the solution will be the exact same as the standard Microsoft Dynamics 365 interface. With an embedded solution, you can automate tasks directly within the ERP and centralize accounting processes within one system. Since everything is housed in one place, data transfers are faster, which increases productivity.
For bolt-on solutions, they typically are connected to Microsoft Dynamics 365 through a series of connectors such as APIs built to send information to and from their solution to the ERP. Bolt-on solutions are not embedded so to connect and use these solutions, you must log into the solution outside of Microsoft Dynamics 365. The connectors to the ERP pull data from the ERP, which is used in the accounting and treasury automation processes that are completed in the bolt-on solution.
2. How will data synchronization be affected by the chosen solution?
Since the embedded solutions in Microsoft Dynamics 365 are built within the ERP, there is no data to sync between the solution and the ERP. The data store used to run the embedded solution is the same store that is used by the ERP, which means the data is always in sync in real-time. This also means there is not a need for additional connectors, which could be another potential failure point for bolt-on solutions.
For bolt-on solutions, since they are outside of Microsoft’s ERP, uploading data to the ERP and pulling data from the ERP can be at times tedious. Data synchronization and integration issues may occur since bolt-on solutions do not have the same data store as the ERP. As a result, bolt-on solutions may require extra implementation time and testing so that data flow between the solution and the ERP are without error. When considering a bolt-on solution, it is important to ask the vendor or the partner about this particular issue to ensure your team minimizes unnecessary obstacles in the implementation process.
3. What are your team’s user experience preferences?
The look and feel of a solution matter when considering bolt-on versus embedded solutions. Preference plays a significant role in this decision where treasury teams must consider whether they like using the ERP for most of their tasks. By doing most tasks inside Microsoft’s ERP, accounting teams have the advantage of automating processes such as bank reconciliation and AR cash application all within the same interface. Opting for an embedded solution allows teams to link multiple processes together and coordinate faster completion of AR and AP tasks within the ERP since built-in solutions can leverage and expand upon the standard workflows. Having an embedded solution with an interface matching the rest of the ERP allows users to learn a single set of procedures for things like personalization, grid behaviors, shortcut keys, and alerts. Embedded solutions take full advantage of the ERP’s functionalities to make an overall robust platform for users.
If a team decides that the ERP is difficult to navigate, a bolt-on solution may be the way to go since bolt-on solutions have the flexibility to design a user interface that is intuitive and easy to navigate. However, since the bolt-on solution has its own interface, it may duplicate existing features that are in the ERP. These solutions also may appear to be more customizable through their specific functionalities outside the ERP. However, your team will have to weigh the benefits of customization to the additional implementation and testing time required for the data transfers between the solution and the ERP.
4. How smoothly will implementation go if we choose embedded versus bolt-on solution?
With an embedded solution, you don’t have to learn another user interface which simplifies the onboarding and training process. For bolt-on solutions, teams typically have to learn how to navigate the interface of the bolt-on solution and the ERP’s interface, which means extra training and onboarding time for treasury teams. In addition, since bolt-ons involve an integration, the integration and synchronization between the ERP and bolt-on solution adds extra testing and verification tasks.
Implementations for embedded solutions typically go smoother since they are built to work within the ERP while bolt-on solutions may require further customization and extra installations to achieve the desired automation level.
How to choose the best solution for your business?
Embedded and bolt-on solutions each have their own advantages and disadvantages to them. It is up to the treasury and accounting teams to decide what works best for their needs. For many teams, embedded solutions provide ample advantages with its common interface with the ERP. The ease of use of embedded solutions is a significant highlight. Accounting teams have no need for outside integrations. If your team decides that an embedded solution is not the way to go, then they should work with a reliable vendor and partner that can help them choose a solution that best works for their needs.
If you are considering an embedded solution in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain, SK Global Software has experts in embedded banking and treasury automation that can work with your team to maximize your automation capabilities. To get started, contact SK Global Software at firstname.lastname@example.org.