What to Know Before You Integrate E-Commerce With ERP
ERP stands for "enterprise resource planning."
Even smaller businesses can benefit from an ERP solution.
Using ERP, businesses can speed up processes and improve data accuracy.
Integrating an ERP with all applications is crucial but challenging.
Businesses must define challenges and goals before choosing an ERP solution.
Product information, pricing, and shipping speed might be important to today's consumers, but e-commerce businesses know all too well that a personalized, streamlined shopping experience can make or break any deal, even if all other components line up.
At Integrate.io, we know that data provides powerful insight—but those insights can only be unlocked with the right tools. That's why modern e-commerce companies rely on powerful cloud applications to help them analyze real-time data, personalize experiences, and better manage their resources.
With this technology in mind, one of the most powerful moves you can make is to integrate e-commerce with ERP, also known as enterprise resource planning.
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What Is an ERP Solution?
While ERP systems were once reserved for major players like Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple, they are now becoming a commonplace solution for businesses of all sizes, thanks to their ability to improve efficiency, reduce error, and boost business outcomes. For instance, manual back-office processes like data entry that are time-consuming and error-prone can benefit from the automation that an ERP solution provides.
For e-commerce platforms, adding ERP software to your tech stack will give you a single source of truth for everything from revenue to the length of time it takes for orders to get out the door. With that said, ERP solutions are not one-size-fits-all, and perhaps one of the most challenging elements of adopting an ERP system is integration.
Understanding why you should integrate e-commerce with ERP and the challenges you should expect to overcome during the process can help set you up for success.
Why Should You Integrate E-Commerce With ERP?
While ERP systems might seem like a relatively new innovation, they can actually be traced to the 1960s. Though they didn't go digital until many decades later, the core functionality of an ERP system is to reduce manual entry, thereby speeding up processes, improving data accuracy, and providing businesses with a single source of truth.
When you integrate e-commerce with ERP, it can provide more accessible and reliable data, which helps drive businesses forward. Today's ERP solutions are used across industries, thanks to four key areas they support: IT efficiency, process efficiency, standardization, and innovation.
For an e-commerce site, in particular, ERP systems will end up owning data relating to reconciliation, sales, orders, inventory management, and more. Additionally, by incorporating the right data, e-commerce businesses can improve customer satisfaction by helping innovate and personalize the customer experience.
Having all that critical information in one place can help businesses reduce how long it takes to fulfill an order and resolve customer complaints. To help you get there, Integrate.io can guide you in eliminating silos and achieving consistent, accessible, and actionable data through an efficient integration process.
Benefits of ERP E-Commerce Integration
When most businesses are first introduced to the concept of ERP, they imagine data flowing into the system. Even with that simplified setup, the ERP solution would still prove very powerful, but it is most effective when fully integrated into your company's tech stack. By taking the time to connect all of your applications to your ERP solution, you'll be able to help eliminate erroneous data, speed up order fulfillment, and avoid inventory levels dropping too low.
Integration is not easy, but it's worth the time invested. After all, once everything is tied together, your ERP solution will help streamline processes and break down siloes, connecting all of your cloud apps and data sources in one place. In turn, this saves you time and money while improving back-end process efficiency.
By gaining visibility into your systems, your business can even be supported in strategic planning and decision-making. Fortunately, most integration platforms offer pre-built APIs and already seamlessly plug into your existing systems, including popular tools like Magneto and Shopify.
With instant synchronization across your e-commerce website, CRM, and supply chain, your ERP can provide notifications, insights, and tools that connect and automate your e-commerce system for better outcomes. As such, when it comes to scaling up a sales channel or even improving logistics (like deciding where to expand or place a warehouse), your ERP solution will prove invaluable.
However, these things are only possible if you take the time to integrate ERP correctly and effectively. For that reason, you should understand the best practices and challenges before you integrate e-commerce with ERP. Integrate.io's team of experts can help guide you through the process so you can avoid common pitfalls.
Best Practices of Integrating an ERP
Choosing to integrate e-commerce with ERP cannot happen overnight, even for smaller companies. Just determining the best ERP solution for your business could take some weeks or months, depending on your requirements. From there, you'll need to consider how many integrations you have and figure out the priority order for bringing them into your ERP platform.
Ultimately, businesses tend to make mistakes along the way and learn lessons that will help them the next time they integrate a solution. Understanding the best practices will help you avoid costly errors that could cause long delays or significant problems. When it comes time to integrate e-commerce with ERP, the best practices include:
Build your business case. Do not consider integrating an ERP solution just because you know that other businesses have benefited from doing so. You must create an actionable plan and identify the areas of your business where an ERP solution can help you achieve positive outcomes.
Understand your workflows. If you try to integrate applications without fully understanding your business processes and workflows, efficiency will not improve—and may even be hindered. It's crucial to get many people involved and listen to their feedback on current challenges and new ideas.
Create a realistic timeline. Do not rush the integration process, or you are sure to run into issues. Instead, create a realistic timeline that provides plenty of buffer for troubleshooting and testing. Consider rolling out in phases to improve adoption and buy-in along the way.
Set goals for your integration. You do not want to start the integration process without clear goals in mind. In addition to a plan and timeline, you need to think back to what you want to achieve with the new integration. Follow up on these goals in the months to follow to ensure the ERP is being used effectively.
These best practices only scratch the surface. If you're thinking about taking the first step to integrating e-commerce with ERP, it's important that you have a team of integration experts by your side. By helping you clean up your data and discover new insights, Integrate.io can help make your ERP integration a success!
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