We believe that businesses currently planning their future growth strategy should consider an organisation-wide solution, combining the ecommerce power of BigCommerce and Microsoft Dynamics systems integration.
Ecommerce is growing rapidly and expanding globally. Reducing friction throughout your customer’s journey will not only increase loyalty and satisfaction, but it will also help to reduce costs and improve profitability.
Effective integration between your ecommerce platform and your enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems must be a top priority for businesses that want to optimise their performance.
Benefits include automated backup, data synchronization, valuable time savings, and cost reductions along with improved data accuracy and less data entry errors. However, many businesses have yet to fully realize these outcomes.
An effective ERP
An effective ERP system can reduce a business’s risk in an uncertain market, improving performance, productivity and profitability.
We can vouch for the effectiveness of earlier products such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX that have now been converted into the modular Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations for mid to large corporate organizations.
Microsoft now has a clear strategy, roadmap and vision for their business software, which makes it a good choice for growing businesses. In February this year, the 2020 release wave for Dynamics 365 launched a range of innovations that Microsoft claims will transform businesses.
The release contains hundreds of new features across Dynamics 365 applications including marketing, sales, customer service, field service, finance, supply chain management, human resources, commerce, and central business management functions for small to medium-sized businesses.
Dynamics Commerce functionality can unify back-office, in-store, call centre, and ecommerce experiences to provide what they describe as ‘a delightful shopping journey for consumers across the different touchpoints’.
Future-proofing your strategy
In the past customer-facing functions have often been compromised to meet the requirements of effective data flow across ERP systems.
Many businesses use electronic data interchange (EDI) to synchronize with other systems but application programming interfaces (APIs) are a viable and modern alternative.
At the start of the last decade, the integration projects we worked on would be flat file extensible markup language (XML) and file transfer protocol (FTP) based. As demand for better performance, improved security and modern integration has increased we are now heading towards an API first world.
Used with software as a service (SaaS) solutions like BigCommerce, APIs can deliver agile functionality while still allowing proper data orchestration throughout the organization.
APIs provide the building blocks to make integration work and each time an API contacts a server, it’s called an API call. However, the number of API calls that can be made is sometimes a challenge.
BigCommerce provides unlimited API calls, meaning that data synchronization is almost in real time. However, your ecommerce platform is only one part of the process to deliver a seamless exchange with your ERP system.
There are a variety of options based on your needs and priorities; that’s why BigCommerce teamed up with the systems integrator, eBridge Connections.
ERP integration to meet your business needs
Modern data management and coordination are high priorities for successful businesses.
ERPs like Microsoft Dynamics provide a single source of information that allows businesses to automate processes, enabling planning and forecasting. An effective ERP can give teams across an organization up-to-date customer, product and accounting information. This can be the foundation of streamlined business processes and more effective services and solutions.
Dynamics Commerce can improve business outcomes through personalized customer engagement, improved employee productivity, and reduced costs through optimized operation and supply chain efficiencies.
To do this effectively, an ecommerce ERP integration strategy is needed to make sure data can be successfully orchestrated.
Migration – one approach is to move specific data at a certain time from one system to another. This can allow several teams in your organization to share information.
Developers can use API calls to configure and migrate data in or out of the ecommerce platform, either on command or when needed.
Broadcast - data can be moved from a single source system to multiple destination systems in near real-time, or even real-time. This is a one-way synchronization from one to many systems. It can be used, for example, to update inventory levels across sales channels including marketplaces, brick and mortar stores, your own website and wholesale partners.
Aggregation - alternatively data from multiple systems can be copied or moved into one system. This can remove the need for multiple migrations on a regular basis, improving data accuracy and synchronization, ensuring that data:
- is always up to date
- isn’t replicated
- can be processed or merged for reporting
Two-way - multiple data sets can be combined in different systems, effectively making them behave like a single system. This is helpful when tools and processes serve different functions using the same data, helping to provide data integrity across the synchronized systems.
Correlation – the correlation approach identifies where two data sets correlate and will then complete two-way synchronization, creating new records when information is found in one system and not the other.
BigCommerce eBridge integration enables two-way data exchange between business systems, so re-keying can become a thing of the past and data entry errors can be all but eliminated. It supports multiple stores and platforms in the Cloud including marketplaces, customer relationship management (CRM) and EDI. Shared business rules can replace mapping to reduce the total cost of ownership.
Modern ERP integration frameworks allow businesses to innovate quickly and cost-effectively in the face of competition such as Amazon or agile new micro-brands.
For businesses that already use Microsoft Dynamics, integration with BigCommerce gives flexibility at the presentation layer for user experience (UX). It enables personalization and innovative customer experiences, as well as scalability at the API layer, including unlimited API call volumes.
BigCommerce is a good choice because you can handle your online store efficiently while integration with Microsoft Dynamics allows you to:
- automatically insert orders into Dynamics
- update your online site with offline sales
- transfer inventory levels, product images and descriptions from your ERP systems to your ecommerce site
- synchronize customer information between your site and your ERP systems
- use rules to automatically place an order with a preferred courier service or internal distribution team
Shock Absorber aims to be the UK’s No.1 sports bra brand. Their new ecommerce store on BigCommerce is the start of that journey and showcases the power of integration with Microsoft Dynamics.
BigCommerce met their requirements for a fast, effective and affordable solution. Their requirement for integration with Microsoft NAV, formerly known as Navision, was handled by our technical integration team, which has worked on dozens of similar projects.
The first phase of integration connects product and stock level information to BigCommerce, with the site returning orders back to NAV, which in turn updates Shock Absorber’s online store with order status and a delivery tracking number.
Contact us to speak with one of our experts about integration to enhance your ecommerce business.