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i95Dev

Reasons for Microsoft Dynamics ERP and eCommerce Integration


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In our last blog, “ERP and eCommerce are Two Different Systems” we had tried to underscore the importance of investing time and effort to understand the complexity of integration and setting up your expectations accordingly. But before we get there, it is important for businesses to be convinced about the reasons for integration, why they must integrate these two alien systems (Dynamics ERP and eCommerce) which seem to need each other quite often.

10-Reasons-for-ERP-Ecommerce-Integration

In this blog we will very briefly explore few reasons that have triggered our customers to take the path of Microsoft Dynamics ERP and eCommerce integration. While these can be looked as reasons for integration they are also the benefits that businesses derive from it.

Business Case for ERP and eCommerce Integration

eCommerce has witnessed a lot of growth recently, luring Retailers, Distributors and Manufacturers alike to join the bandwagon. This rush, while it has been beneficial for customers giving them multiple options to shop from, has also presented businesses with the challenge of retaining customers and making them come back for more.

 

For this, the businesses at the very least must provide customers a seamless shopping experience across all channels in order to manage inventory, streamline order processing, update orders and provide great customer service. To ensure this, businesess must provide a smooth communication between the systems involved: eCommerce (where orders come from) and ERP (where orders are processed, inventory maintained, etc.). While manual data entry serves the purpose, the solution is not scalable and can limit the growth of a business. Hence, a solution is needed which seamless integrates these two systems, while being scalable to support the growth of business.

Reasons for ERP and eCommerce Integration

We have categorized the reasons under four categories.

1. Business:

  • We have often observed that the primary reason that drives businesses to integration is lack of growth despite all their investments in the right systems. While their investment in these systems has empowered them to grow their business to the next level, they often find themselves limited by the amount of manual effort they can put in. To cope with this they add more resources, increasing their costs and reducing margins. While businesses will still be happy with this they often find themselves at the same crossroad every time the business grows.
  • With integration we have enabled businesses to streamline and automate most of these processes: order fulfillment, shipping and payment, etc., by transferring data between the ERP and eCommerce systems in real time, thereby reducing the dependency on factors limiting their growth. This allows businesses to focus on other growth opportunities like acquiring new customers, serving new markets, increasing opportunities with more informed sales, etc.

2. Operational:

  • As mentioned above, businesses initially resort to manual data entry processes to sync information between the two systems. While this not only limits business growth it is extremely expensive, inefficient and prone to errors. With integration businesses reduce their dependency on these manual processes witnessing reduced costs (businesses now need fewer resources to transfer data between eCommerce and ERP systems) and improved efficiency (their resources can now focus on more important things like sales and customers).
  • Not only that, integration also enables businesses to better manage their inventory & product information (with integration they have to maintain this information in only one system and any updates in one are automatically synced to the other) and returns (automating the returns process – inventory update, refund, etc.)

3. Decision Making:

  • There are multiple reasons why businesses pursue integration; one reason which they often realize in hindsight (after experiencing the benefits of integration) is how integration helps them improve their decision making process.
  • With integration businesses see all their data (customer, product, inventory, order, etc.) at one single location (and the same information is present in all the other systems) which enables them to run advanced analytics and reporting tools on them. This improved reporting often leads to benefits like improved forecasting, better understanding of customers, data backed marketing efforts, etc.

4. Customer Experience:

  • A bad customer experience is never good for business, especially in this connected world. While integration seems like a technical solution a number of executives have integrated their systems for the impact it has on providing their customers a good shopping experience. While integration only syncs product information between systems, customers see brand consistency across channels. While integration only syncs inventory information between systems, customers are spared situations in which they are sold products not in stock.
  • While integration only syncs order information, customers see their order status in real time. While integration only syncs customer information, customers experience great service. While integration only syncs information, it enables your business to provide your customers a great customer experience.

For more information and to look at each of these categories in detail download and read our ebook Reasons for ERP and eCommerce Integration.

by i95Dev – Partner for your eCommerce and Microsoft Dynamics Integration Needs.

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