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Open integration: Holy Grail of the Data Revolution?


Go ahead -- call this the Data Revolution.

Our world is increasingly driven by data and, more specifically, our ability to get all the information we could possibly want, anytime, anywhere. And there are some truly remarkable applications out there that make accessing this data incredibly easy.

Here's the problem: Integrating that data from multiple sources across multiple applications is nearly impossible. That's where the data miracle turns into a migraine.

For CPAs, though, help might be on the way, courtesy of CCH.

The CCH team visited MACPA headquarters recently for the first stop on their "listening tour" and used the occasion as an opportunity to launch their Open Integration Platform, a solution that allows users to work with and share data across platforms.

The platform will seamlessly integrate data from CCH applications, third-party applications, and even proprietary applications built in-house by firms or corporations.

The timing couldn't be better. The CPAs on hand for CCH's listening forum in Maryland identified the trends and issues that are keeping them awake these days, and among them were the integration (or lack thereof) of information, software and processes.

The real issue, though, is this: How can CPAs better serve their clients?

From that perspective, here's what's important about CCH's platform: Finding ways to make their various sets of data talk to one another across platforms will free CPAs to do the really important stuff -- provide the services, insight and forethought that will help their clients succeed. The goal is simple: Spend less time managing data and more time figuring out what the data means for clients.

“The unique common data capabilities –- including client, staff, administrative and security –- are part of one database shared across multiple applications offered with CCH’s solutions, which on their own offer significant new time-savings and accuracy improvements to firms,” said CCH President and CEO Mike Sabbatis, pictured above. “But it will be game-changing for firms now that they can couple these gains with the benefits of working in the cloud, and leverage our new Open Integration Platform to access other solutions at the immediate point of need. The productivity and client service gains are huge.”

At the top of the list of those benefits is a shift in the competitive landscape. Sole practitioners now have access to the same data as the world's largest firms, "and that will change how you operate in this space," Sabbatis said. The platform also has the potential to reduce errors and support a more collaborative, open work environment.

Collaboration is a key benefit for CCH partners as well. "(The platform) eliminates the tug-of-war that we see in this space and instead harnasses the innovative power of the entire marketplace," said Christian Wolfe, CCH's vice president of business intelligence and strategy.

Several third-party vendors are already on board, including Templeton Solutions, New River / Beyond 415, AccountantsWorld, and XCM Solutions. According to CCH, ideal candidates for the program are those whose services include payroll, accounting software, CRM, performance management, resource scheduling, expense management, custom reporting, implementation / consulting, and system integration.

Details about the Open Integration Platform are available at (800) 739-9998 (select option 1) or


Bill Sheridan