August 28, 2019
When you’re ready to add eCommerce to your business mix—and you’re serious about growth—you need a best-in-class eCommerce platform. For many businesses, that means Magento Commerce. It offers the flexibility you need to design a truly unique shopping experience for both retail and wholesale buyers and a wide variety of built-in features, like rapid content publishing and instant purchase checkout.
However, if you’re a Microsoft Dynamics user, commerce features aren’t the only thing you’re looking for. You also need to know, “Will Magento Commerce connect with my ERP?” The short answer is yes, it will. And, if you plan thoughtfully, the process to integrate ERP software can be thoroughly painless, and not as costly or time-consuming as you think.
If you’re ready to integrate your Microsoft Dynamics ERP system with Magento Commerce—or you’re just thinking about it—this ten-step checklist is for you.
Why ERP Integration is Important
The best reasons to integrate Microsoft Dynamics with Magento Commerce will depend a lot on your specific business model and long-term goals. However, at a high level, integration gives you:
More options for self-service customer reports. When Magento Commerce can access data stored in Microsoft Dynamics, you can give customers access to all their interactions with your brand in one place. You can also let them see credit limits, buying trends, and more.
Smarter business intelligence. When Microsoft Dynamics can access online sales and customer data from Magento Commerce, you can get a more complete picture of your businesses overall performance.
Process automation. Connecting Microsoft Dynamics and Magento Commerce helps you automate workflows—including fulfillment and restocking inventory—and accelerate business processes, such as new product introductions.
Fewer mistakes. With ERP integration, your Magento eCommerce store will display the latest product availability and pricing information. This means customers will not order products which are actually out of stock or be charged the wrong price.
Your pathway to ERP integration
ERP System integration can sound intimidating, especially if your team doesn’t have a lot of technology experience. But connecting Microsoft Dynamics with Magento Commerce may be easier than you think. There are more than 350 Magento solution partners to choose from as well as pre-built connector solutions.
This checklist can help you start thinking about your ERP integration strategy and get organized to take the next step:
1. Understand your business goals
Your integration should support your business goals today and in the future. You should ask yourself how connecting Microsoft Dynamics and Magento Commerce could help you achieve objectives such as omnichannel selling, adding B2B or direct-to-consumer sales, and expanding into cross-border markets.
2. Document your workflows
Once you’ve established your business goals, take a closer look at the workflows supporting them. Workflows define where data needs to go and when. For example, your checkout workflow could include confirming product availability, choosing a payment method, and fraud detection processes. Every merchant’s workflows are different—and B2B workflows can sometimes be complex.
3. Evaluate your data
Four critical data types you may want to synchronize between your Microsoft Dynamics and Magento Commerce platform are inventory, product descriptions and specs, pricing, and order tracking. For each key piece of data, you’ll need to determine where it should reside (e.g., the system of record), how frequently it should be updated, and how it will be managed and cleaned.
4. Consider your infrastructure requirements
Your infrastructure requirements will depend on whether you’ll be running Microsoft Dynamics and Magento Commerce in a cloud, on-premise, or hybrid environment. At a high level, your infrastructure should be flexible and scalable enough to support fluctuating levels of web traffic, transaction volume, and system usage.
5. Account for your online payment models.
A growing number of businesses offer subscription-based pricing and a variety of installment plans. If you use a third-party software package to manage these kinds of payments, it should be factored into your Microsoft Dynamics-Magento Commerce integration plan.
6. Identify the right stakeholders.
It’s important to consult the teams which use your ERP system and eCommerce platforms on a regular basis before you integrate them. Finance, operations, marketing, and sales may all have insights to contribute. And don’t forget to include customers and suppliers.
7. Define your ERP System budget.
Establishing a budget for your ERP integration strategy is essential before you choose a partner. If your budget is very limited, you will have to prioritize your requirements.
8. Pick the right partner.
Unless you have a large IT department, you will want to choose an experienced integration partner. In particular, the partner should have ample experience with Microsoft Dynamics, Magento, and your particular industry. They should have at minimum ten to twenty case studies to share, not one or two, and may propose a proven, extensively tested connector which are packaged software frameworks which can dramatically accelerate your integration.
9. Assign your project team—including a contact for support.
To keep your integration project running smoothly, you will need to assign an internal team to work with your partner to refine requirements, test functionality and manage the overall project schedule. You’ll also need to assign someone—either an internal contact or your partner—to support your integration over time.
10. Define SLAs for your ERP integration.
Your ERP integration strategy should include service level agreements (SLAs) data flows. These SLAs should consider the typical latency of your Microsoft Dynamics implementation, including planned maintenance and unplanned slowdowns which may happen during major reporting cycles.
Ready to take the next step?
If you’re thinking about integrating Microsoft Dynamics with Magento, a great place to start is our best practices eBook Better Together. You can download it here. This eBook contains helpful advice from four Magento partners with extensive experience helping merchants connect Microsoft Dynamics with Magento: