Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is often an integral part of a company's operations. Platforms like Oracle, SAP, and Sage give businesses a single solution for managing different processes. They may provide a centralized place to manage information but they have their limitations and can be difficult to use.
Despite this, many companies are reluctant to shift to new types of software. The main reason is that there is a lot of technical debt that comes with moving away from these platforms.
Those who want to hold on to their ERP must find a way to integrate the system with modern commerce software. This is critical as these solutions have the tools to create the user experiences customers now expect. ERPs and legacy software do not have these capabilities.
In this post, we’ll examine the different approaches for ERP e-commerce integration and the processes it helps to improve.
Approaches to Integration
Most ERPs are available via on-premise deployment or as a SaaS product. For on-premise deployments, you can use AWS Direct Connect or another network service for integration. This will allow you to establish a secure VPN connection between your data center and your e-commerce provider's virtual private cloud (VPC).
For SaaS products, there are a variety of integration methods:
1. GraphQL and SOAP integration
ERP systems commonly support GraphQL APIs. These APIs include query, filter, sort, and mutate capabilities. You can use the APIs to easily integrate with third-party applications.
ERPs also provide a simple object access protocol (SOAP) interface which can be used for bulk upload and download of record sets.
2. Secure API authorization
Many ERPs use the OAuth2 framework to authorize connections to third-party integrations. To enable the connection between systems, you must create a new application in the ERP app registry. You then configure authorization for the API calls between the ERP and e-commerce system.
3. Integration middleware
You also have the option to use an iPaaS solution currently in your environment.
ERP and E-Commerce Processes
When you integrate your ERP and e-commerce systems, you enable the communication of vital data between the two. This helps automate once manual processes. Without the need to manually transfer information between systems, companies can benefit from greater efficiency and reduced errors.
Here are some of the processes that can be set up with an ERP and e-commerce integration:
1. Product and pricing sync
Product master data from the ERP is automatically synchronized with your backend e-commerce systems. With a product information manager, you can enrich the data and ensure it is consistent across channels.
2. Inventory check
The ERP handles tracking and projecting available product inventory. Through integration, the e-commerce system can perform real-time inventory checks. Accurate inventory is then displayed throughout the customer experience.
3. Order fulfillment
Orders in the e-commerce system will create a pending order in the ERP. This is in turn will trigger the fulfillment workflow within the ERP.
4. Shipments and pending invoices
The e-commerce system will pull important information throughout the fulfillment workflow. This information is then shared with the customer. Examples of details customers need access to include:
- shipment statuses
- tracking information
- pending invoices
- reconciled payment statuses
Using headless APIs for a seamless integration
Modifying an architecture built with legacy software was once a painful process. Fortunately, modern e-commerce software plays well with integrations. Services like Fabric are API-first and microservices-based instead of monolithic. With this flexibility, you can easily integrate your e-commerce system with your current ERP.