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Why do businesses connect their ERP systems to a webshop?

07-12-2015 Okko Huisman

To connect all business processes – stock control systems, administration, accounts and logistics being the most important – B2B companies use ERP systems. Investment in an ecommerce platform immediately creates the need to exchange ERP data with the webshop, leading to the following dilemma: do we switch to a new ERP system or do we stick with the package that has served us well for a long time, often many years?


With the CloudSuite platform, both options are possible. We offer our own ERP system and can seamlessly connect external ERP software to our ecommerce system. For large companies, the latter option is probably the most interesting. It avoids long implementations and problems with data migration. For such businesses, it is much more efficient to stay with the ERP software they already have.


In the last few years we have connected many of our customers’ ERP systems to our platform. These are the ERP systems that are compatible with our ecommerce platform: Microsoft Dynamics (Navision & Axapta), Afas (Profit), Exact (Globe & Online), Unit4 (Multivers & Agresso), SAP, IBM, Hybris, Infor LN (Baan), ECI (Bridge/400), Infor M3 (Lawson) and RealDolmen RAW. For a complete overview of our ERP links click here.  


 Above the ERP systems that we can integrate into our platform


THE ADVANTAGES OF ERP INTEGRATION

Integrating the ERP systems with our e-commerce platform offers many advantages: for the webshop user but also for the company’s ordering process. We set out the different advantages below. 

  1. Time savings. Once the webshop and the ERP systems are synchronized, orders are handled automatically. That saves a lot of (manual) man hours. What is more, a synchronized set-up can process a significantly greater amount of orders relatively quickly.
  2. Trusted systems. Companies can continue to work with the trusted systems they have been using for years.
  3. You manage just one system. All financial data are sent directly to the ERP, so there is no need to oversee two discrete systems. 
  4. Effective ordering process. Customers can place their own orders, and see their invoices, outstanding items and deliveries. Thanks to the real-time integration, customers can be shown their order history directly. This results in a more effective ordering process.
  5. Rapid installation. We have experience of a wide range of ERP systems so are able relatively quickly to integrate our platform with the systems used by our customers. This means we deliver both clarity and a prompt installation. 
  6. More time for the customer. The savings in man hours give you more time with the customer which will lead to a better customer experience.


OPTIMAL BACK OFFICE SYNERGY

Once we have linked external ERP systems to our platform, the data bases from that system are synchronized with the webshop, resulting in a seamless exchange of data (products, stock, orders, customer information). Integration with your ERP system creates optimal synergy with your back office. Data from the webshop is transferred directly to the ERP system.



The three types of ERP integration


DIFFERENT TYPES OF ERP INTEGRATION

We offer a range of ERP integrations: a data exchange at fixed intervals, a real-time web service, or a hybrid combination of the two. Here are the details:

  1. Fixed intervals. With this type of integration, data such as customer information, prices and products are exported from the ERP system and imported to the CloudSuite platform every night, or several times a night. Only the changes in the stock position have to be communicated during the day – every 15 minutes for instance. The ERP system is being used optimally. This type of integration works very well for many businesses, because they do not need real-time data. 
  2. Real-time web services. This is more complex. Companies opt for this type of integration if prices changes regularly during the day. Such companies need their stock position to be 100% reliable and up-to-date at all times – a periodic transfer of data is not enough. We can implement various real-time web services, such as showing real-time stock and prices in the webshop, on product detail pages, for example, or in the shopping basket. The protocols we use for real-time web services are SOAP and REST.
  3. Hybrid form. The third integration we implement is a hybrid form of periodic and real-time. In these scenarios, we look for the optimal combination of the two types.