Planning and Preparing for an Integration Solution

Planning and Preparing for an Integration Solution

Wednesday, October 25, 2017Lauren Macdonald Integrating your important business systems can be complex. In order to ensure a timely setup and accurate data exchange, follow these suggestions for planning an integration solution, and preparing for the implementation process.

First, let’s look at your process as it probably exists today:

When you receive an order through your eCommerce store, the process most likely looks a little bit like this:
  • You receive the sales order through your online store and manually go into your accounting/ERP system to create a record of the order.
  • You then search for the customer in your accounting/ERP system. If you’re unable to find them, you manually add them by entering in all of their information by hand.
  • To account for the purchase, you must then manually adjust your inventory levels to maintain accurate records of the stock you have available.
  • You then begin to package up the item to be shipped to your customer, taking note of the shipping information so that you can go back into your eCommerce store and send that shipment notice and tracking information back to the customer.
  • If you utilize a CRM application for your business as well, you then need to manually update your opportunities and accounts to reflect the sale you just made.
Man, that was exhausting wasn’t it?

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the manual data entry that might be required depending on the data that is important to your business, and how that data is reflected in each of your disparate business systems.

So, how can you solve these order entry headaches? We suggest getting to know your data, cleaning it up, and preparing for an integration solution that will solve your manual data entry challenges. Here’s how to get started:
  • First, identify what types of data are typically involved in processing an order. Examples may include; first name, last name, product ID, SKU, email address, billing address, shipping address, phone number, product details, shipping/tracking information, etc.
  • Next, ensure that the primary contact who will be involved in setting up your eCommerce integration has a solid understanding of the data that is important to your business processes.
  • After you know what data you need integrated, it’s time to decide whether you want to develop an integration solution yourself, or hire an external vendor who will utilize experts to take care of the integration process on your behalf. These vendors will build, maintain, and support the integration solution for you.
  • Once you’ve decided who will assist with the integration, you should consider cleaning up your data to make the process as easy and efficient as possible. To do so, consider purging duplicate fields, correct incomplete or inconsistent records, upgrade your systems so that you are running the latest versions, match selling units of measure with stock-keeping units of measure whenever possible, etc.

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