Microsoft Dynamics vendors provide comparisons and opinions to professionals in the ERP/Accounting software selection process

 
 

Lisa Steinhart, nChannel

Truths and Myths About Microsoft Dynamics GP and NAV Integration to eCommerce


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Microsoft DynamicseCommerce is expected to reach $250 billion by 2014 – with a 10% compound annual growth rate. Creating a plan this year to manage growth is a step in the right direction. And it won’t take as long or cost as much as you think. You need to ensure your existing systems are working together to optimize sales and keep all systems running in sync 365 days a year to reach maximum potential.

Below are the truths and myths about Microsoft Dynamics GP and NAV Integration to eCommerce.

 

Integration is Disruptive, Takes a Long Time, Is Expensive and Requires Customization 

False! Integration of ERP and eCommerce system is sometimes considered disruptive due to the perception of having to change existing systems. This is not true when you integrate systems with cloud-based connectors. Cloud-based connectors streamline, connect and sync your multi-channel operating systems to save loads of manual labor time updating items and synchronizing inventory between systems.

Another fallacy is that ERP systems typically require extensive customization and take a long time. This is not the case especially when connecting existing systems. Full integration can be done at half the cost of doing it yourself.  Because most of the integration work is already provided, generally customers can be up and running in a matter of days vs. weeks or months

Microsoft Dynamics ERP software works by integrating separate systems together into a holistic source of information and resources, allowing managers to identify trends, optimize systems, streamline decision making based on measurable metrics, and improve the bottom line of any organization that decides to make the move.

 

Microsoft GP and NAV ERP Integration Speeds Product to Market

True! Connecting your existing systems means sharing or synchronizing inventory, syndicating or pushing items to different systems for updates and to capture orders and customer information. Centralized order processing, and automatic item updates speeds products to market and through item and order syndication, improves shipping and supplier order accuracy.

 

 Because It’s Cloud Based , Data Can't Be Tracked, Viewed and Synchronized to Multiple Systems from One Central Location

False! A centralized, cloud-based platform option enables data to be exchanged between channels via a web browser. You can view all your customers'  transaction history regardless of where the customer purchased from, and export (or automate the export) of customer data to other systems such as an email, CRM, or other centralized customer databases. Keeping track of customers between systems is time consuming and when that data isn’t in one place,  it will be hard to target customers for specific promotions or programs based on their purchase history. By using a centralized web-based platform you can connect and sync customer data, contact information and purchases in one place. This information can be pushed to other channels such as an ERP or POS systems

 

Inadequate Sharing of Data Between Microsoft Dynamics Systems & Channels Can Result in Sales Losses

True! Losses in sales can occur when business systems don’t share data.

Integration enables items, inventory, orders, customers and other pertinent sales data that pass between independent systems to communicate with each other.  A web store can operate without connections to accounting, financial systems, ERP etc. but  manually managing and administrating sales data often costs companies more than they think.  Without existing retail business systems sharing data you could see a loss in sales, delivery delays, poor customer satisfaction – and most important – reduced cash flow.

eCommerce and ERP integrations allow necessary data to be automatically exchanged in both directions. For example, an order created in the online store is immediately pushed to the system used to fulfill the order. Not only does this save time, it eliminates human error and gets product, inventory, item, billing and sales information into a shared information system.

 

All Items on the Web Are Guaranteed to Be in Stock

False! In order to be successful online and keep up with increased demand, your eCommerce strategy should include integration to ERP, accounting and inventory software (or other systems you use in your multi-channel environment, like POS). Having this integration will ensure that products shown on the web store are actually in stock.

Additionally, your business will become more flexible. Integrating your web store with ERP will enable you to see all new orders and customers in your business system.  Products and pricing can be managed from one place – which makes the whole process much simpler. Integration provides a much more accurate exchange of data that scales as you grow.

 

Microsoft Dynamics GP and NAV Integration to Ecommerce Reduces Manual Labor & Improves Throughput

True!  Leveraging existing customer, product, inventory, sales and shipping data from your ERP system reduces redundant manual entry and will help you increase throughput while reducing errors. You can process transactions without having to hire staff to manage these tasks.

An integrated eCommerce system streamlines inventory synchronization, tracks updates and provides an accurate view of inventory availability to shoppers. It also sends automatic notifications to customers when orders have been shipped and allows them to track the delivery of products with limited data entry.

 

You Cannot Make Updates for All Systems from One Central Location – It Just Doesn’t Work That Way

False! Price and product changes to inventory such as quantity or promotional discounts are simplified and automatically updated from one centralized location.

 

You Need to Set Goals and Have a Plan 

True! Before you begin integration make sure you have well-defined measurable goals and objectives and a process in place.  An ERP system that is not flexible may force a company to change their business processes to fit the ERP system model. This requires a re-engineering of steps needed to complete business tasks and a retraining of employees and business partners - and sometimes even customers. As we all know people inherently do not like change, and this will create resistance and delays for any organization (at least in the short term).

ERP is an invaluable, reliable resource that improves an organization’s workflows, business, and decision making, but doing it right still requires a plan.

 

About the Author

Lisa Steinhart is the VP of Marketing at nChannel.com. nChannel is a complete web-based, multi-channel management platform.  nChannel can connect many of the systems you use to manage sales environments and operations associated with multi-channel selling – using the systems you already own.

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