More and more companies are moving into the realm of selling their products online. Many typically focus initially on the web store, and as orders begin to come in and volume grows, they have to deal with managing their inventory, purchasing and shipping of orders. Frequently the back-end processing is manual, Excel-based or re-keyed into an existing accounting system. The idea is that “if we grow beyond this, we’ll then implement new integrated systems.”
If this sounds like you, and you’ve been successful, you’ve probably become a victim of your own success. Your manual or disconnected back-end system has likely become a drag on your ability to grow sales, or a cause of inefficiencies, errors and potentially customer dissatisfaction. Statistically, you’re most likely to only start looking at integrating your web store and back-end system seamlessly and efficiently once you’re already in this mess.
If this has already happened to your company, don’t let it go any further. If it hasn’t happened to you already, consider yourself lucky – but don’t wait until that point. Here are three reasons to integrate your systems and to do it as early as you can:
- Web store platform: many of the less costly basic web stores do not play nicely with others, or provide a basic level of integration with one or 2 basic bookkeeping programs. That may be fine if you’re only ever going to be handling 10 or 15 transactions per day. But if you grow too far, too fast, on such a platform, you may have to change your web store to a completely new platform before you can even begin to work on systems integration. And that can end up being a massively disruptive and costly exercise. It’s much easier to change your web store earlier on, or even better, start off with a plan in place for integration that shapes your decision on the platform to start off with.
- Personnel: a seamlessly integrated system both requires and allows for a different level of employee in the warehouse and to some extent in the office. If you put integration in place early, you avoid hiring / firing issues, retraining of staff, and resistance to changed processes.
- Avoid losing customers: if you don’t have an integrated accounting system at the back-end of your web store, with accurate up to the minute availability data, you’ll accept orders and payments from customers and be unable to ship what they’ve bought. Do that to me more than once, and they’ll probably never buy from your web store again.
By integrating your online sales with a robust ERP system as early as possible you avoid these and other pitfalls that frequently limit the growth potential of many businesses.
Customers using the Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200 accounting system have several options for an integrated shopping cart solution. Some businesses are looking for an entirely new, web-optimized and integrated website. Others have selected a website developer and/or already have a website shopping cart solution but require the integration to the Sage ERP MAS 90/200 solution. Regardless, there are options available:
New, Integrated Website
Clearnine* – This integrated website shopping cart solution is designed and supported by a former Sage Software developer who has over 20 years of MAS 90/200 experience. The main advantage of this solution is the strong integration features taking advantage of the powerful features available in the accounting system. In addition to options for customization and optimizing presence on the internet, customers have their choice of hosting options.
Websitepipeline* – This hosted, integrated website shopping cart solution is powerful with many options and features that can be implemented and added over time. In addition, this solution offers optimized presence on the internet.
Sage eBusiness Manager – This solution was originally introduced in the late 90’s and offers a simple website shopping cart that is integrated to the accounting system. The strongest aspect of this solution is the integration, given the website is built using the same ProvideX technology as the accounting system.
Integration to An Existing Shopping Cart
IN-SYNCH website integration* – IN-SYNCH is a tool that boasts almost 300 Sage ERP MAS 90/200 implementations to date. The tool is written in ProvideX, the same language as the Sage ERP program and offers the real-time integration and high-speed processing. Both Websitepipeline and Clearnine utilize IN-SYNCH for the integration of their website shopping carts. The integration solution takes approximately 24-hours to implement.
Some customers have engaged a website designer, but need the resources to enable the website’s shopping cart “readied for integration.” In this case, Simplicity Consulting, Inc. can be resourced to provide the expertise required.
Sage eBusiness Web Services is an option for a website that requires a limited set of fields to be integrated to the website, and/or has a lower level of volume expected. This solution is available for Sage ERP MAS 200 version 4.4+. Websitepipeline’s shopping cart utilizes Web Services for most customers who are using version 4.4.
Whether you are looking for a new website or to integrate a current website, the best case scenario is to line up the tools and resources that are proven to work with Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200.
If you are interested in learning more, please plan to attend our upcoming web seminar led by website integration expert, Bob Richter of ROI Consulting, Inc. Bob has been integrating websites with Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200 since 1998. The web seminar will include a demonstration of the IN-SYNCH tool and the Clearnine shopping cart. Webinar details coming soon!