Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a software platform that companies use to automate their back-office business processes. These include accounting, material procurement, inventory, purchases, customer service, financial compliance, supply chain operation, and distribution. The solution includes a complete suite of integrated applications that standardizes and streamlines the workflow across these business processes. This ensures the smooth collection and flow of transactional information from numerous sources to eliminate data duplication. Most enterprise resource planning software system consists of following key features:
- Modules that facilitate end-to-end enterprise-level business process integration across different departments,
- A centralized database for proper collection, classification, analysis, and transmission of real-time data, and
- Modules to ensure the real-time execution of various business operations within a matter of seconds.
Why is E-commerce ERP Integration necessary?
E-commerce ERP integration is the process companies adopt to merge their front-end online storefront with their back-end ERP software platforms. It is a cost-effective and productive way for them to conduct their online commercial operations in the market. Their employees do not need to record identical data in two different business software systems manually. The information is generally in the form of
- Unique inventory item codes for products,
- Product description,
- The product’s selling price per unit,
- Customer details like name and address,
- Shipping notices for monitoring the transit of online customer orders, and
- Value-added tax rates applicable to online sales.
The above helps in simplifying the processing of online customer orders and tracking the shipment of these products. Merging the software solutions also instantly updates inventory levels after every purchase or sale. This enables companies to know their exact stock levels at any particular point in time. Corporate enterprises even expect instant alerts when certain products they sell fall to low levels. They can then take the necessary steps to re-order them from their vendors to avoid shortages.
Types of E-commerce ERP integration solutions
Companies can choose any of the following types of ecommerce ERP integration software models for their businesses:
- Point-to-point (P2P) connectors,
- Custom e-commerce ERP integration,
- Middleware integration,
- Hub/Spoke, or
- Enterprise service bus.
These corporate enterprises need to take into account certain factors when selecting the right e-commerce ERP integration model. These include proper real-time data uploading, migration, and execution between two independent software solutions. They have to ensure the customer ID is consistent through out the exchange of information between the systems. The costs of installing the software model in their IT infrastructure should be within their budgetary allocations. Only then can they expect a positive benefit-cost ratio when implementing an e-commerce ERP software integration platform.
Implementing and operating a suitable ecommerce ERP integration software solution allows companies to take their entire business operations to the next level. They can automate, streamline, synchronize and monitor the processing of online customer orders in real-time. In doing so, they can significantly minimize many of the avoidable clerk errors common in a manual system. Corporate enterprises even maintain adequate inventory levels to prevent shortages, which can disrupt their activities. This helps to boost both customer satisfaction and engagement in the long-run effectively.