Top 10 tips for integrating to an eCommerce system

1. Don’t leap before consulting
Talk to your accounting software provider. Get to understand their many experiences and your software technical requirements before signing up to a 3rd party that promises “integration is easy” without any knowledge of how you configure and user your complex accounting software, or the integration possibilities.

2. Check on their previous local comparable experiences
Do enquire for details of similar local integrations to complex accounting systems. Don’t reply on an assurance that they have “linked to lots”, or that the technology has linked to many US / European entry-level solutions. You should be able to know what this local partner has done with local integrations and their own developers.

3. Check on the technology beneath
Are they using a 3rd party engine or software to develop your website? Does that limit their integration capabilities to a single rigid form of integration dictated by the 3rd party software, or is it versatile and customisable, and can they bespoke any integration complexities for you?

4. Explain your complexities
Exchequer allows a diverse range of customer trading complexities, pricing combinations and stock variables that need consideration before a 3rd party can promise that they can easily link for you. It is possible that their experience is with integrating to basic entry-level software and your unique trading complexities might be outside of their standard offering, requiring additional development or cost. Its your processes and uniqueness that’s key and that must be facilitated.

5. Who is Spartacus?
Each website has some ability to integrate, and each accounting software has various methods of integration. However, somebody must engineer the technologies to link together. Somebody must convert “their apples to our oranges”. There is no plug-and-play, “one size fts all”. Therefore, who will be Spartacus and take responsibility for the work involved in integration? Don’t assume that there is no effort, or no cost involved, as unfortunately some companies will omit that discussion from their pitch.

6. Consider simple phases
There is merit to planning a proof-of-concept integration in the first phase. Possibly using “lite” integration of say, end of day CSV file exports and imports. This can provide clarity and sanity on the complexities of both systems, prove that the coding, analysis, processes work well in simple terms, so that you can then choose to evolve to greater 2-way links and streamlined automation. It can be prudent and far more cost effective in the long run.

7. Appoint an internal champion
There is a need for an internal champion to step-up. Don’t reply on the ‘web guys’ and the ‘accounting guys’ to sort it all out. Your own unique process, client engagements, and accounting needs etc.. need to be understood. Your accounting software usage needs to be understood so that your champion can call upon that knowledge to apply logical requests and considerations to any web operations where integration is a requirement.

8. Focus on the functionality not the sizzle
We do understand the user experience and the aesthetics of the site must be pleasing and attractive to your customers. But remember, if your site is successful and it grows, and the volume of uploads and downloads increase needing live stock levels, instant order processing and immediately picking and delivery… you need to ensure that the chosen web engine can take that manual burden from your back-office colleagues and is capable of making your own internal experience as satisfying and efficient as your customers experience.

9. Where will the next level go
Where could the new website take you? Overseas and complex shipping calculations, multi-currency transactions, B2B discounts, real-time stock levels, returns processing, on-line customer portal for details of their previous purchases, outstanding invoices, credit amount left? What do your competitors already do .. where might this journey take you?
10. Is there an alternative solution already integrated?
Integration can be simple, or it can be bespoke and complicated. Don’t forget to enquire off your accounting software providers who they have already integrated to, or if there is already a multi-functional recommended solution that can be delivered easily and save reinventing the wheel and to make it more supportable, more future-proofed, and more cost effective

We love to talk software. We love to talk integrations. Let us help you ask the right questions, plan for all eventualities, choose the right technologies, and increase the chance of a successful project.

Exchequer Business Management Systems

Alan Connor

Commercial Director