By Nicole Laurier on Feb 4, 2020 11:30:00 AM
This blog is the second in the series where Fisher Technology is reviewing considerations merchants will need to focus on as part of their replatforming after Magento 1 is sunset in June 2020.
The topic for this blog is Integration. For many merchants having a solid integration in place is key to the smooth running of their eCommerce business.
However, when replatforming, even with an integration already in place, merchants need to go back to basics and (almost) ignore any integration that exists today.
The following advice applies to any merchant who either has integration in place but is replatforming or a merchant who is ready to take the bold step and integrate their systems that are currently working in silos!
So, where do you start?
When do merchants (typically) need to integrate?
Usually when a store has sales of between 15 - 50 orders a week, the merchant realizes that somebody is wasting a lots of time re-keying information manually from the store into their ERP system. They realize that Integrating the two systems not only saves time but can reduce errors.
Figuring out the merchant's needs.
Every business is different and although merchants who focus on business to consumer sales may have some standard needs, when integrating you need to thoroughly review all the business requirements.
For any integration project Consulting is Key!
To have a successful integration project you need to capture the business requirements. The only way to do this effectively is to have an in-depth discovery phase. An integrator needs to learn about a merchant's business, the systems in place, and how the systems and departments work. This is extremely important! There are many facets of the business that could be touched by an integration, such as warehouse management systems, shipping rules, customer service and communication. If an integration partner is not documenting these specific business requirements and needs, beware!
As well as making sure that discovery is done properly, it is necessary exercise ensuring that all the internal stakeholders who will be involved in an integration project will work as a team. It is highly probable that there will be a web agency designing the store, an ERP Value Added Reseller managing and maintaining the systems and an integration partner connecting the systems together. Make sure that all these different partners collaborate. The last thing any project needs is different companies holding up a project as they aren't collaborating effectively!
Final thought on Integration
Not all integrations are equal! Full Disclosure: of course, I am going to say that as I work for a company that does integration.
To some vendors, integration is simply a synchronization between two systems, a simple connector or a bridge. Depending on the merchant 's business this might not be enough. A better way is to tackle the business process as well as the integration.
All businesses have a process. What I mean by that is a way that they do business, thinking of them as a set of rules. These rules are created over time, so that the day-to-day business runs smoothly. When you are doing an integration, automating these business processes will add efficiencies and ensure that processes are standardized and that they work effectively.
Can't wait for the blog series?
Did you miss our first blog? Magento 1 End of Life: What does it mean for my eCommerce Store?