You’ve made the decision to integrate new Enterprise Resource Platform software into your existing website. Good for you! You’re going to save time, money, and create a well-defined path for the future of your business.
That is, if you integrate correctly.
Here’s everything you need to know about the process of implementing a new ERP on your website.
Your Integration Options
If you’re an eCommerce business (which many B2B and B2C companies are), you’ve got three options for integrating an ERP:
Fast & Furious: Stacking an ERP on top of an existing eCommerce platform saves time and money, but it drastically cuts down on functionality and still involves a lot of manual synchronization tasks.
All-in-One: Switch to an eCommerce platform that automatically connects with your existing ERP. Great for maintaining flow between the two platforms, but not an ideal solution if you’re unhappy with your current software.
Start from Scratch: Moving everything over to an ERP that has built-in eCommerce functionality, or vice versa. Takes a significant investment of time and resources to do a full switch, but in the end, you’re likely to end up with a suite of tools that fit your exact needs.
Where to Start
Integration is a process. It takes time. Don’t expect your IT firm or software specialist to come in, flip a switch, then magically transform your business into a well-oiled automation machine. That’s a recipe for disappointment.
Integration always starts with data. Data is the backbone of your eCommerce business; the first step should be moving over your existing data then deciding who can access it. Customer data, ordering data, and inventory data are some of the most important to consider.
Next, get rid of duplicative functions. ERP and eCommerce platforms share some of the same functionalities, so spend time workshopping how customer orders should flow. Reducing redundancy by selecting a “master” function saves employees time and creates a better customer experience.
As with any new technology, your team will need ongoing training to ensure a full understanding of the system. If your employees aren’t utilizing everything your ERP/eCommerce platform has to offer, what’s the point? Training should be scheduled and it should be mandatory – the incentive is the promise of a better, less frustrating workflow.
It’s also a good idea to have someone in charge of double-checking the new system against the old one for a while. Did the customer information carry over like you expected it to? Are inbound leads being funneled to your inbox like you want? Does the display inventory accurately reflect what you’ve got in stock? Software isn’t foolproof; you’ve got to teach it how to work for your business.
Enterprise Resource Platforms are designed to make businesses run smoother.
They’re complex, and there are so many options out there it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Need help determining which product(s) make the most sense for your eCommerce business?
We can update your website, too, while we’re at it.