Getting Ready For Integration in 4 Steps

October 6, 2016

Traffic to your e-commerce site is skyrocketing, sales are up and your staff is busier than ever. These are all great signs — business has probably never been better for you!

If you’re not integrating your e-commerce store (or stores) with your accounting or ERP system, however, your newfound success might just be the cause of a few unnecessary headaches for your employees.

Integration can be a scary word for a beginner, and can sometimes feel like an overwhelming endeavor. But if you prepare correctly, it could be the way to get back on track and improve your business efficiency.

As you get ready to implement an integration solution for your business, here are four key steps to guide you:

Step 1: Start by identifying your specific business challenges that need to be resolved.

  • Are your employees bogged down by manual data entry?
    Is re-keying orders and information by hand resulting in costly errors for your business?
  • Are you slow to process orders and/or ship products to your customers as a result of order backlog?
  • Are your customers leaving negative reviews on your website because of slow turnaround?

These are all problems that will hinder success and that will need be resolved through your integration solution. By being aware of these challenges ahead of time, you reduce the likelihood that you’ll have to go back later on and rework your integration solution to include something you missed.

Step 2: Now that you’ve identified what isn’t working for your business, it’s time to figure out what will help.

You can start by determining which data “touch points” you want integrated. These touch points may include:

  • Inbound sales orders
  • Outbound purchase orders
  • Inventory updates
  • Shipment updates
  • Advance Shipping Notices (ASNs)

Step 3: Get your data ready for integration.

The more complex your integration solution becomes, the more time and money it’s going to cost you to implement. So, in order to keep things efficient and reduce overall costs, get your data cleaned up and ready to go ahead of time! Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Format data when capturing it in the source system to match it later on in the destination system
  • Add an accounting SKU in an extra field for each product in your e-commerce store so that it can be used for matching during integration
  • Clean up your source data — purge duplicates and correct incomplete or inconsistent records.
  • Match selling units of measure with stock keeping units of measure, if possible.

Step 4: Select an integration solution provider that makes sense for the unique needs of your business.

A few things worth considering when choosing an integration provider:

  • Have they helped customers like you before? Is their solution proven and reliable?
  • Do they have an off-the-shelf or custom-built solution?
  • Can their solution handle the number of connections you need?
  • Is their solution scalable if you want to add another store or additional touch points later on?
  • Do they offer support? Is their support team located in-house or are they outsourced?

Asking these questions will help you select an integration solution provider that will get the job done the way you want it. After all, this business is your baby, and you want to make sure you’re putting it in the right hands!

And there you have it!

Traffic to your e-commerce site is skyrocketing, sales are up and your staff is busier than ever. These are all great signs — business has probably never been better for you!

If you’re not integrating your e-commerce store (or stores) with your accounting or ERP system, however, your newfound success might just be the cause of a few unnecessary headaches for your employees.

Integration can be a scary word for a beginner, and can sometimes feel like an overwhelming endeavor. But if you prepare correctly, it could be the way to get back on track and improve your business efficiency.

As you get ready to implement an integration solution for your business, here are four key steps to guide you:

Step 1: Start by identifying your specific business challenges that need to be resolved.

  • Are your employees bogged down by manual data entry?
  • Is re-keying orders and information by hand resulting in costly errors for your business?
  • Are you slow to process orders and/or ship products to your customers as a result of order backlog?
  • Are your customers leaving negative reviews on your website because of slow turnaround?

These are all problems that will hinder success and that will need be resolved through your integration solution. By being aware of these challenges ahead of time, you reduce the likelihood that you’ll have to go back later on and rework your integration solution to include something you missed.

Step 2: Now that you’ve identified what isn’t working for your business, it’s time to figure out what will help.

You can start by determining which data “touch points” you want integrated. These touch points may include:

  • Inbound sales orders
  • Outbound purchase orders
  • Inventory updates
  • Shipment updates
  • Advance Shipping Notices (ASNs)

Step 3: Get your data ready for integration.

The more complex your integration solution becomes, the more time and money it’s going to cost you to implement. So, in order to keep things efficient and reduce overall costs, get your data cleaned up and ready to go ahead of time! Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Format data when capturing it in the source system to match it later on in the destination system
  • Add an accounting SKU in an extra field for each product in your e-commerce store so that it can be used for matching during integration
  • Clean up your source data — purge duplicates and correct incomplete or inconsistent records
  • Match selling units of measure with stock keeping units of measure, if possible.

Step 4: Select an integration solution provider that makes sense for the unique needs of your business.

A few things worth considering when choosing an integration provider:

  • Have they helped customers like you before? Is their solution proven and reliable?
  • Do they have an off-the-shelf or custom-built solution?
  • Can their solution handle the number of connections you need?
  • Is their solution scalable if you want to add another store or additional touch points later on?
  • Do they offer support? Is their support team located in-house or are they outsourced?

Asking these questions will help you select an integration solution provider that will get the job done the way you want it. After all, this business is your baby, and you want to make sure you’re putting it in the right hands!

And there you have it! Integration isn’t so scary, after all.

About eBridge Connections:

eBridge Connections is a friendly Canadian company who’s been helping customers around the world connect their accounting package or ERP to their CRM, eCommerce platform or EDI trading partner(s). Connections make orders, invoicing, shipping and inventory faster. Try our free integration planning tool today. www.ebridgeconnections.com