Many people ask us questions about ERP integration to their web systems. We’ve tried to answer as many of the common questions as we can, below!
- What is an ERP?
From Wikipedia: “ERP is usually referred to as a category of business management software — typically a suite of integrated applications—that an organization can use to collect, store, manage, and interpret data from many business activities.”
Treefrog specializes in integrating ERPs with web technologies. We have experience with numerous ERPs (for example, SAP, Epicor, SYSPRO, Sage, etc.) and many web platforms (for example, Magento, Shopify, WordPress, etc.).
- How does ERP-Web Integration work?
We take the data from your two systems – your ERP and your website – and combine it into a single reservoir of data. Once the data is combined together, we can synch the data back to your two systems so your back-end is now consistent with your front-end. We can also use this new, single source of data to reduce manual work, enhance analysis and provide a significantly improved experience for your customers.
There are many, many benefits to this integration. The only limit to how you can solve internal processes by closing the gaps in your technologies is your imagination.
- Which ERP Systems can you work with?
We can integrate with any and all ERP systems! If you’re using one of the previous ERP’s we have experience working with (there are dozens!), we have pre-built integration code that involves a quick install to integrate your customer and inventory data. This includes multi-tenanted and single-tented infrastructures, on-premises and cloud-based ERP software.
However, almost all ERP to Web integration involves highly customized work, so we approach each initiative without platform preference to ensure the mechanism works best with your organization.
- Which web platforms can you work with?
We can integrate with anything. We have deep technical expertise and little fear around technology, given that we maintain at least two major web platforms and even a popular programming language.
In the last year, for B2C and e-commerce (direct to consumer or just to distributors) we’ve worked with Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, OpenCart, and many, many custom systems. For B2B we’ve worked with WordPress, Drupal, LEAP, Joomla, and many custom systems.
We don’t fear much, when it comes to technological implementation. And with 25 years of experience, we’ve likely dealt with something similar to your current infrastructure complexity before.
- How does the process work?
Step 1: Scope
The first thing we do is scope your project. We create a detailed overview of what data needs to be integrated and most importantly, why. We want absolute clarity around what you are hoping to accomplish through integration. The final document is a piece of intellectual property that is yours to keep.
Step 2: Platform Review
Once we understand your goals, we need to understand your platforms. What systems are currently holding the data we need to combine? What is the best way for us to move that data into, and out of, the data reservoir?
Step 3: Data Analysis
Next we have to look at your data to understand what format it is in, and the level of completeness and accuracy of that data. Some data probably needs to be cleaned up before it can be useful in the data reservoir.
Step 4: Solution Design
Lastly, we design the solution. Maybe it’s a beautiful price list, a customized quote request or a stunning customer portal. Whatever it is you’re after, this is where we get our designers involved to ensure your solution is not only functional, but visually inspiring.
- How can ERP-Web integration help my business?
- Customer Experience
We’re uniting ERP systems with websites to transform a customer’s experience. We do this by creating instant access to information that’s normally only accessible through paper or phone calls…and that information comes with the ability to take action. It’s helping our customers compete with amazon, big box stores or venture-capital-funded businesses by helping them deliver a personal customer experience that these powerful forces cannot.
- See “10 Reasons to Integrate your ERP with your Web Platform”
- My ERP system is really old. Can this still work?
There are a lot of businesses that are working off older ERP technology – maybe legacy systems with legacy databases and limited integration capabilities. A lot of marketing professionals, accountants and senior leaders assume that this technology is preventing them from using the data they have to take advantage of emerging technologies or to create uncommon experiences for their customers. If that’s you, you need to know that you are not stuck. We can help.
We could probably even connect to the spider-web infested beige machine under your controller’s desk, if that’s what it takes.
- My website is really old. Can this still work?
This is actually a bigger challenge than an old ERP. Old ERP systems are still collecting a lot of data every time you process a transaction. The age of your ERP system doesn’t make that data unusable, it just makes it difficult to get at. If your website is old, there’s a good chance it’s not collecting much data right now, and there’s a good chance it’s not very user friendly. Both of these are pre-requisites to an ERP-Web integration being a value-added project for you.
Also, old websites often contain “attack surfaces” for hackers that we want to be careful supporting.
- What kinds of data can you sync?
The most common data points are:
- Customer Data
- Customer number
- Price lists
- Complaints or issues
- Sales Data
- Date ordered
- Inventory Data
- Product name
- Product number
- Quantity on-hand
- Out of stock
- Images & specifications
- Delivery Information
- Ship delivered
- Arrival date
- How real time is the data synchronization?
There are many approaches, however, our recommendation is almost always a reservoir-based synchronization model. This means your ERP data synchronizes between your databases and the data reservoir every minutes, so it is essentially real-time. This ensures a small barrier exists between your ERP and the web to ensure security and stability remains intact.
Real-time connectivity is also possible, depending on the goal.
Does the integration work on a mobile platform?
Absolutely. We can also use the reservoir mechanism to connect to and execute mobile apps and related technologies (for example, IoT).
- Which is the “source of truth” – the web platform or the ERP?
ALWAYS the ERP. There can only be one, and it needs to be at the centre of operations, not at the centre of marketing and sales. All system implementations we execute take this into consideration.
- How secure is my data in the data reservoir, and moving into and out of the reservoir?
Of all things, this is of paramount importance, for obvious reasons. Security comes in two forms: access and uptime.
For access, our systems are highly secure and create a clear and seamless barrier between your two systems. We carefully poke holes in communication lines to necessary fields that are only accessible as needed.
For uptime, we carefully reservoir the data in between systems to ensure no external or internal issues prevent downtime. Either system can have downtime without both systems failing.
- Is the integration two-way?
Yes, your customers can add information through a web portal that then gets capture in the data reservoir and sent back to the ERP system for back-end visibility. At the same time, the data captured by your ERP system can be pushed to your website for front-end visibility.
- How customizable is it?
The integration tool is infinitely customizable to your needs and design preferences.
- Can my customers have more than one account that shows them different kinds of information?
Yes! Your customers can have as many logins as they need, customized to the unique needs of each profile. If this is going to enhance their experience, it’s worth doing.
- Where and how is it hosted?
Our systems can be hosted with us at our Teir1 provider (located in Canada), or anywhere else of your choosing. This will be determined during the scoping process to ensure security and compliance.
- Who owns the software?
The integration tool belongs to Treefrog.
- How is the software supported? Is there an SLA?
Treefrog’s service team supports the software and makes regular improvements to the tool to ensure the speed and functionality are optimized. We have a Service Level Agreement that guarantees uptime, depending on costs.