Many businesses choose to integrate their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and their BigCommerce platform in order to take advantage of data automation and other benefits. Integration is a fantastic option that often provides huge savings and cuts down on human error. However, an ERP BigCommerce integration project can be complex and multifaceted, and certain issues may be overlooked. Here are some common problem areas and what you can do to get around them.
When Businesses Tackle the Project Themselves
Many businesses choose to handle their ERP in-house with dedicated hardware and employees. This is referred to as “on-premise,” as opposed to cloud-based ERP services hosted by a third party vendor in an off-site server. There are definitely benefits to on-premise ERP: You have full control over the project and you can save money by utilizing staff as opposed to outsourcing the project to another company. However, this kind of integration process is an involved and technically arduous process that requires multiple upgrades and regular maintenance throughout the course of its lifespan.
If your designated employee leaves the company, you have to find someone who can carry on the upgrades and regular maintenance and who can be brought up to speed on all the ins and outs of your particular system. This can often lead to disruptive bottlenecks and downtime.
To get around this, we recommend hiring an expert who specializes in ERP and BigCommerce integration. With someone who knows what they’re doing, you can be sure the job is done right and they’ll complete all the regular upgrades and maintenance.
No Main Contact
For businesses that outsource their integration projects to experts, it is a good idea to find a main point person or contact at the firm who knows the platforms that are being integrated, and who is readily available throughout the project.
If you jump into this long and involved process without a main contact, you risk getting tangled up in the details and mistakes can be made. If any problems or ambiguities arise or you have questions or concerns about your data, it can be pretty frustrating searching for a person to talk to every time an issue comes up.
With a knowledgeable main contact, you can have someone to keep you in the loop throughout the process.
Concerns Over Data
For any number of reasons, businesses require large amounts of historical data to be stored. Whether their previous orders utilized to generate sales history reports on top-sellers or trending items or analytics on top landing pages, having comprehensive data is key to strategizing on future success for any BigCommerce-powered business, and any online company in general.
When planning and implementing ERP integration, companies of all sizes need to consider how data will be synchronized to appropriate systems along with identifying any data integrity issues.
Non-Standard Procedures and Systems
According to TechTarget, companies have historically struggled with integrating vastly different processes. Previously, many organizations struggled with identifying the appropriate integration architecture for ERP software with other best-of-breed (BoB) enterprise systems, including customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management, reporting tools, and even other ERP platforms.
TechTarget contributing writer, Beth Stackpole, also states that much of the complexity surrounding ERP integration isn’t just synchronization with one or two primary systems, but to an array of sources that a company in the midst of an integration project may not have control over.
In more concrete terms, let’s say that you operate a wholesale distribution company that utilizes BigCommerce as its B2B eCommerce platform. You’re likely working with many vendors who each specialize in a different set of products. If every vendor utilizes varied systems and SKUs to track inventory, it’ll be up to your wholesale company’s ERP platform to bring order to chaos when standardizing your own supply chain management, product lifecycles, and even customer or client feedback.
Integration Done Right
These are the most serious problem areas in an ERP BigCommerce integration process. To mitigate any potential integration issues, it’s best to go through thorough testing and quality assurance procedures as if you were implementing any other type of data or communication management system:
- Get a clear understanding of your system’s requirements and existing infrastructure.
- Use an established, proven method that includes deep research, development, and prototyping among non-experts who may be able to identify areas for improvement.
- Test, test, QA, and then test again. Perform comprehensive testing before widespread implementation throughout your organization.
For most businesses, if you contract the professional skills of an expert, establish a trustworthy main contact, and develop realistic timelines and budgetary constraints, there is a very good chance that your project will be a success. From then on, your business can enjoy the cost and time savings provided by data automation and integration.
As innovators in web design and SEO for many companies that operate on BigCommerce, Coalition Technologies is a certified BigCommerce partner that has worked with a number of ERP integrators or integration methodologies to ensure that BigCommerce and the ERP fully support each other’s functions and data. If you’d like more insight on how you can streamline your online company’s core systems while improving your visibility online, get in touch with us today.