TL;DR — In the age of eCommerce, ERPs like Sage, Netsuite, and Epicor still have a lot to offer. Integrating them with Magento can help transform your B2B or B2C business into a modern eCommerce enterprise.
Technology is pushing the frontiers of eCommerce ever further, ever faster. Mobile-first. ADA compliance. Conversion funnels. Leading digital retailers must encompass these trends (and a thousand others) to stay competitive.
But for brick-and-mortar CPG’s, transitioning to ‘modern’ eCommerce on platforms like Magento can seem overwhelming. After all, they aren’t asking about design tweaks or mobile optimization. They’re asking questions like: “do I have to abandon my 20-year old ERP and rebuild from the bottom up?”
It’s a legitimate concern with major implications. Fortunately for those CPGs, Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERPs) can and do thrive in today’s eCommerce environment.
“You don’t have to replace the brain of your business. That is often the least efficient option. ERPs like Sage, Epicor, and Netsuite can integrate with Magento—no rebuilds required.”
– Amit Bhaiya, CEO of DotcomWeavers
ERP INTEGRATION VS. ERP REBUILD
The alternative to Magento / ERP integration is the bottom-up rebuild. Here you scrap your ERP and rebuild its functions with separate plugins for finances, warehouse management, shipping, etc. Developers must connect each system with your eCommerce platform and with each other.
ERP integration can avoid those uncertainties. Your ERP works. It’s your single source of truth. Synchronizing it with Magento means that data can flow automatically between your backend application and your eCommerce storefront.
For example, your ERP will tell Magento how many of each product is in stock. Then Magento shows that information to customers. Finally, it reports the day’s purchases to your ERP which updates the system accordingly. That’s a valuable conversation.
If you’re a wholesale or omnichannel business (or plan to become one), then ERP and Magento integration matters even more. Integrated systems offer many UX/UI enhancements, from showing your customers the same prices across platforms and sharing their order status to storing payment data and managing inventory availability.
WHEN TO INTEGRATE YOUR ERP WITH MAGENTO
Companies sometimes put off integration to manage costs or simply because they are busy. We’ve worked on dozens of integration projects and understand why some companies hesitate. But eCommerce is the future. Delaying the integration will only make the process harder and potentially more expensive down the road. It may also stifle your growth.
“You can operate an online store without an integrated ERP, but it’s not a great option. Manual data entry is prone to human error. Without integrated systems, your customer experience—and much else—is at stake.”
– Kris Pursel, Director of Sales & Marketing at DotcomWeavers
When integrated with Magento, your ERP will still do your business’ heavily lifting—only smarter. This will save you time. A lot of time. And Magento also offers a diverse ecosystem of extensions (a few of which we built ourselves) that can streamline your processes even more.
HOW ERP INTEGRATION WORKS
Connecting your Magento storefront with your ERP relies on flat-file data exchanges (transfers). This enables the regular, automated flow of data between the two applications. You can choose how much account, order, product, and inventory data goes back and forth, and how often.
Whether you manage that data in your ERP and then send it to Magento, or keep it text-based for easy flat-file transfer while managing the images in Magento, is also up to you.
That’s the high-level look. The real process is more technical and varies based on which ERP you use. That’s why we’re writing separate posts on ‘Big Three’ ERP integrations:
As you can see, many of the classic ERPs have life in them yet. By integrating the brain of your business with a modern eCommerce framework like Magento, you can position yourself as a serious online competitor in your industry.
START YOUR MAGENTO — ERP INTEGRATION
The key to a successful ERP and Magento integration is a partner who will develop solutions that work for you. Look for an agency with certified Magento partner status. Check their portfolio to see what they have to offer companies like yours. And ask a lot of questions about the benefits of integrating your ERP with Magento.