As eCommerce businesses grow and become more complex, they will often accumulate a wide spread of software systems and platforms to help manage all the areas of their business. In addition to being hard to keep track of, having so many systems can mean increased redundancies and inefficiencies as different systems and departments perform overlapping tasks. Plus, siloed data can mean that a business misses out on key insights and connections.
ERPs solve this problem by creating a central platform for management and data collection from a variety of sources and business areas. A necessary part of using ERPs however, is integrating the ERP with other systems and platforms found throughout the company – which is the process of ERP integration.
What is an ERP?
Before we dive in, let’s highlight the basics of ERPs. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a type of software that streamlines different business elements into one centralized system to simplify data collection and business management. From finance to inventory management to customer information – an ERP pulls all of the transactions, changes, and data into one place. In addition to letting you manage all the data and processes from a central place, ERPs are able to pull data insights from across a variety of platforms.
What IS ERP Integration?
ERP integration refers to the process of connecting different software applications, systems, and data sources with the central ERP platform. Employee management systems like HRMs, inventory management and sales tracking systems, and customer information systems like CRMs are commonly integrated into ERP software, and you can also add data like customer lists, sales data, and inventory data to the ERP platform.
Benefits of ERP Integration
ERP integration centralizes data collection, allows for automation of cross-platform processes, and provides collaborative insights for all departments within a company. The collaborative data of an ERP integration can provide a wide variety of benefits for businesses, including:
Increased Productivity: ERP integration allows your business to automate manual processes like reporting and data entry, improving efficiency and increasing productivity by reducing the time spent on operational tasks.
Centralized Data: The cross-platform and department data that ERP integration provides gives your business a better understanding of overall performance. It allows you to find insights that may span across multiple areas of the business that may not have been visible in a siloed-platform scenario. These insights can inform decision making and increase competitive advantage.
Improved Customer Experience: ERP integration streamlines the customer experience. By integrating customer data into the ERP system, your business can provide personalized experiences to individual customers, and streamline processes with auto-filled data.
Challenges of ERP Integrations
Most eCommerce businesses agree that ERP integration is a central part of success in the current market. However, it can be a complex and difficult process to implement if you’re unprepared. Here are some of the common challenges to be prepared for if you’re setting up your ERP integration:
Cost: Because it is such a wide-reaching system, an ERP and the necessary labor of integrating it into your existing infrastructure can be a costly process. It’s important to weigh the benefits and needs of your company before starting on the process of ERP integration.
Difficulty: ERP integration is a complex process with a lot of moving parts. It takes time, skill, and resources to implement an entire ERP system. However, once the system is set up, it should require minimal maintenance moving forward.
Data Security: Because ERP integration connects all of your business processes together, it can put your company data at risk. Securing the data may require additional resources and systems that you may not think about at the beginning of the process.
How do systems & processes integrate into YOUR ERP?
There are several methods for integrating different systems and processes into an ERP system, including:
Data Integration: ERP systems typically have standard interfaces and connectors taht enable data to be imported from various external systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), and human resources management (HRM) systems. Some specific areas of data integration are File-based integration, Middleware integration, and API (Application Programming Interface) integration. Data integration ensures that data is consistent across all systems and eliminates the need for manual data entry.
Process Integration: ERP systems allow organizations to streamline their business processes by automating workflows and reducing manual interventions. Organizations can define and configure workflows to manage various business processes, such as procurement, sales, inventory management, and financial management. The workflows can be designed to trigger actions and alerts based on predefined rules and conditions.
Customization: ERP systems can be customized to meet the specific needs of an organization. Customization can involve the development of new modules or the modification of existing ones. Customization enables organizations to tailor the system to their unique requirements, such as industry-specific regulations, reporting requirements, and workflows.
Reporting and Analytics: ERP systems provide robust reporting and analytics capabilities that enable organizations to generate insights and make data-driven decisions. Reports can be customized to provide relevant information to different stakeholders, such as management, sales teams, and customer service teams.
How to Integrate your ERP with your software
Integrating your ERP system with other software applications and systems can be a complex process, but there are several steps you can take to ensure a successful integration:
Evaluate your current systems: Before integrating your ERP system with other software applications, evaluate your current systems to identify potential compatibility issues or data discrepancies.
Identify integration goals: Determine what you hope to achieve with the integration, such as streamlining processes or improving data accuracy.
Choose integration methods: Choose the integration methods that best suit your needs and goals, such as point-to-point integration, middleware integration, or API integration.
Plan the integration process: Develop a detailed plan for the integration process, including timelines, milestones, and contingency plans.
Test and validate: Before going live with the integration, thoroughly test and validate the integration process to ensure compatibility and accuracy.
ERP integration can provide significant benefits for businesses by streamlining operations, improving data accuracy, and enabling better decision-making. While there are some challenges associated with ERP integration, careful planning and implementation can help businesses overcome these challenges and achieve their integration goals. With the right integration methods and software applications, businesses can achieve a truly unified and efficient operations platform.
NuORDER Integrates with your ERP
NuORDER is a leading cloud-based B2B eCommerce platform that offers a range of solutions for wholesale buyers and sellers, including order management, inventory management, and catalog management. NuORDER integrates with a variety of ERP systems including SAP, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, and Oracle to provide a seamless experience for its users. With NuORDER, businesses can automate their sales processes, reduce manual data entry, and provide a better customer experience. It is an essential tool for any wholesale business looking to streamline its operations, improve its processes, and grow its sales and that’s why hundreds of our clients have recommended us to take your business to the next level.