Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and ecommerce integration is essential to success in the online retail space as sellers must maintain seamless backend information flows to efficiently and effectively meet customer demand. This means porting distribution and inventory data locked within ERP software to online sales channels and vice versa. Unfortunately, pulling off this kind of interplatform connectivity is often easier said than done.
A good number of ecommerce companies find themselves overseeing botched ERP and sales channel integrations as a consequence of ineffective or difficult-to-use middleware. However, an alternative solution has materialized: integration-Platform-as-a-Service technology.
This innovative integration tool allows retailers navigating the online marketplace to link their ERP solutions to their mobile and web sales portals without leveraging problematic legacy integration tools. For ecommerce companies intent on improving their internal data conduits or even establishing such connections for the first time, iPaaS technology is an immensely powerful asset.
Dissecting the iPaaS methodology
Online retail organizations integrating their frontend and backend systems have traditionally used a handful of legacy integration techniques, per the International Data Group. The Enterprise Service Bus approach allows integration stakeholders to incorporate all data flows into holistic end-user-facing applications. Batch data integration, which is primarily used to move data to and from warehouses, makes room for information cleansing and management. XML integration offers similar functionality but is made to handle smaller data loads. While once effective, these strategies create many issues. ESB leads to bloated applications with separate development, testing and production environments, and is also notoriously inflexible. Meanwhile, the batch integration and XML approaches simply cannot support the large amounts of information ecommerce companies need to move, laying the groundwork for backend dysfunction and overspending.
With iPaaS technology, retailers can avoid these common conundrums. This innovation encompasses a robust set of hardware, software and services that give ecommerce companies of all sizes the power to develop, test and deploy cloud-based applications. Most vendors offer preconfigured API connectors and development roadmaps. While iPaaS does involve cloud computing usage, it works on-premises, making it the ideal methodology for sellers that yearn for the security of the server room, no matter how antiquated that notion might be, according to IDG. This combination of digital and physical tools and services makes iPaaS far more effective than its legacy predecessors and therefore offers ecommerce companies significant benefits.
Understanding the benefits of iPaaS
Perhaps the biggest benefit that accompanies iPaaS is the inherent flexibility. Online sellers that leverage these services have the opportunity to develop and deploy custom integration workflows instead of adhering immovable processes and modules, which most do when navigating ESB-, XML- and batch-based approaches. The technology is also highly scalable, giving administrators the power to access automated provisioning tools. And, iPaaS facilitates real-time integration, making it far faster than legacy options and the optimal choice for ecommerce organizations intent on meeting ambitious backend configuration targets. Finally, the technology simplifies backend system management, as it facilitates the development of centralized retail applications that make ecommerce and ERP management easy.
Embracing iPaaS technology
While more effective than legacy integration methodologies, actually deploying iPaaS can be complicated, especially for internal information technology personnel with little ecommerce experience. Most vendors offer sophisticated product and service packages that can be difficult to navigate. However, the complex nature of iPaaS technology should not dissuade online retail companies that can benefit from it, as there is a workable solution for embracing this integration innovation without stretching technical talent too thin: collaborating with a proven ecommerce development firm. These agencies can leverage tried-and-true ecommerce development best practices to roll out integrated fulfillment and sales apparatuses via iPaaS.
Pixafy is among these valuable organizations, boasting award-winning developers who can help your online retail company cultivate seamless backend operational infrastructure centered on the most recent Magento or Shopify ecommerce installations and ERP software of your choice. if you want to learn more about our approach to ERP-ecommerce integration, take a few moments to listen to our latest webinar. It covers several essential topics, including:
- Common ERP and ecommerce touchpoints
- Touchpoint prioritization based on business need
- ERP integration optimization strategies
Once you are ready to move forward, do not hesitate to reach out.