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Dynamics GP Ecommerce Shopping Cart Transfer to SOP Document

If you are using Dynamics GP (or even its older version, when it was known as Great Plains Dynamics) and now you are thinking about exposing this Corporate ERP application to ecommerce shopping cart interface, you probably want shopping cart to be transformed into Sales Order Processing document.

SOP transaction could be either Invoice (with Credit Card deposits, in B2C ecommerce scenario), Return, Sales Order (where you would like to control fulfillment in separate process, probably in Warehouse Management System) or even Quote (useful in B2B ecommerce scenario, when you sell on account and you would like your customers to be able to configure the Quote with their price levels, possible bundles with additional discounts, etc.).  Well, you may say, these mappings look absolutely natural and great to me, but how they could be realized or programmed? And by the way – we have existing ecommerce website, which we coded in-house with our IT programmers – we would like to preserve this ecommerce web application.  Let’s try to look at your options:

1. Real-time, Quasi real-time and scheduled integrations.  We recommend you to review this “theoretical” question first, as the answer might save you a lot of software development or ecommerce product software licensing money.  What is real-time ecommerce shopping cart integration? –this is when customer submits the order, the SOP document shows up in the Dynamics GP at the same moment (with reasonable delay for your Server to run real time integration code, maybe one or two seconds).  Is real time important?  The answer depends.  Let’s say, you have several thousand transactions per hour (meaning that your ecommerce page submits maybe one transaction in the matter of few seconds), and order processing time is so important, that you absolutely need to inform your ecommerce customer in a matter of several minutes, that his or her order was received and allocated, and here you have your UPS or FedEx shipping tracking number with estimated delivery tomorrow morning (or in three to five business/calendar days).  If this about to be your situation, real time B2C and B2B ecommerce integration might be considered as required feature.  But what if you can wait, let’s say five or twenty minutes and send the batch of “order received” confirming emails to your ecommerce newcomers or returning customers?  If this is acceptable or even if this is optimal way of doing business, then you can schedule the integration and move shopping carts into Dynamics GP SOP transactions every few minutes (or maybe ten or even twenty minutes).  This scenario is quasi real time ecommerce integration, and you may consider implement it.  Now, let’s consider the case, when you are selling something really expensive and you do not expect more than a dozen shopping carts per business day.  When customer places the order, you may immediately trigger responding email, indicating that the order is received, and then you may run integration overnight or in the morning hours and at the end of the business day (twice per day, taking Saturday and Sunday as days off).  This scenario is integration on demand or scheduled integration

2. How each of the ecommerce shopping cart integration scenarios could be implemented with minimal cost?  We expect that you would guess – real-time integration is the most luxury approach and probably commands the highest implementation price.  And you are absolutely correct, real time requires eConnect custom programming (or such tools, as Order Connector, available from Alba Spectrum, where the set of SQL Stored procedures is more intuitive and doesn’t require SQL programmer to get exposure to eConnect objects and learning curve).  We do not recommend ad-hoc SQL programming (writing Stored Procedures with limited exposure to Dynamics GP table structure and data flow, Dynamics GP is mid-market Corporate ERP and MRP application and its data flow is pretty complex).  Let’s now move on to the customers, where you do not need real-time power and you would be quite happy with quasi real time shopping cart integration approach.  Here you may avoid custom programing phase and directly deploy such end user friendly tool as Dynamics GP Integration Manager.  IM could be scheduled to fire every certain number of minutes (maybe even every minute, but more realistically every five, ten, or twenty).  If your IT department has enthusiastic software developers and IT engineers, these people should find the way to schedule IM integration via Windows macro type of freeware applications.  Also, if you would like to get IM scheduling tool (for some cost) directly from Microsoft Business Solutions, it is also possible.  And now the third way – when you have limited number of ecommerce transactions per business day and you are ready to take the approach, when Dynamics GP user opens integration and runs it once or twice per day.  Our Dynamics GP consulting practice and our experience dealing with ecommerce integration requirements to Dynamics GP or historical Great Plains Dynamics indicates that that third scenario is the most common and fits to Dynamics GP ERP software niche

3. eCommerce product for Dynamics GP.  Microsoft Dynamics GP has so-called ISV partner channel, where you have add-ons to GP available from third party Integrated Software Vendors (usually Microsoft Gold Certified Partners who was granted the option to sell their products as extensions to native Microsoft Dynamics GP functional business logic).  When you are trying to take this route, please, be aware that add-ons are not supported directly from Microsoft Business Solutions and you might be required to pay annual enhancement fee to Dynamics GP ISV partner directly.  Well, when you are seeing Dynamics GP ISV ecommerce presentations, typically ecommerce add-ons or sometimes “ecommerce turnkey solutions” may require switching to their ecommerce platform (versus offering just ecommerce shopping cart connectors).  And the tradeoff (abandoning your existing legacy ecommerce website versus picking the product that offers just the connectors for your existing ecommerce shopping carts in productions, such as Magento/MySQL/Linux/PHP, ASP.Net Storefront) – this is where we recommend you to be especially careful

4. Alba Spectrum Ecommerce module.  Yes, Alba Spectrum Corporation is also in Dynamics GP ISV channel and we have the offer, which in our opinion is reasonably flexible and allows you to save cost on ecommerce shopping cart integration.  In drop down list we suggest you to select your existing ecommerce shopping cart platform (Magento, ASP.Net Storefront to name a few)

5. To request further support, please call us 1-866-528-0577, help@albaspectrum.com We need to discuss your cards in order to recommend you the best solutions, which is not contingent to our preferences.  We serve you USA/Canada nationwide via remote support (web sessions and phone/Skype conferences).  Local service is available in Western Michigan, Chicagoland, Southern California (LA, Orange County, San Diego)Article Search, Houston area of the state of Texas

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Andrew Karasev, http://www.albaspectrum.com Great Plains Dynamics GP and eEnterprise Certified Master, Microsoft MVP and consultant with 10 years and plus experience and expertise.  Alba Spectrum, 1-866-528-0577, help@albaspectrum.com.  If you are thinking to implement Dynamics GP in challenging environment, we recommend you to give us a call.  Our information portal is http://www.pegasplanet.com Pegas Planet



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