Lawyers frequently say being an effective litigator is not knowing all the relevant laws but knowing where to find them. Most of us have had the experience of searching a library for sources — maybe researching a paper for college. It is often the most time-consuming aspect of producing an article, paper or whatever that has weight and legitimacy. Not everything on the shelves is relevant to our topic, not all sources are equally credible.
But what if they were. What if you knew everything on any given bookshelf pertained to what you were writing. Finding it would prove a breeze. But to do that you would need to select which sources to place on those shelves and sharpen the information to your needs.
The information would be curated in a way that allowed maximum ease of use and efficiency. Further, if you had a librarian — someone who knew your needs and could curate the collection — to assist you, the value would be almost immeasurable.
Most businesses are already using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to empower e-commerce, but integrating an ERP with Salesforce, with the help of an experienced partner can take it to the next level.
As with many things within Salesforce, integrating an ERP can be done either by going with a third-party app or by having a custom build. Both have benefits and both have a downside.
Salesforce is a customer relations platform (CRM), and NetSuite is an ERP. They have different uses. Consequently, it doesn’t make sense for Salesforce to replace NetSuite. An ERP is not the originator of information — that would be whatever platform is being used for ecommerce, such as Shopify. By integrating an ERP with Salesforce, businesses harmonize these three silos of information.
What is important is being able to have all the necessary information contained in NetSuite in Salesforce. Whether it is customer information, order history, shipping details or whatever, the question becomes what information do team members need to interact with in order to streamline the process. That information is what gets imported into Salesforce. That way, there is no extraneous information to wade through.
Maybe a service team member just has a checklist of things they need to do. They need to cancel an order, issue a refund or initiate a return, but they don’t need to see all the financials or edit the shipping carrier. With a bi-direction sync, the relevant information is already available in Salesforce.
Businesses can sync products and orders from an ERP to a CRM, streamlining communication between the two. This also enables workflows from a CRM to an ERP for things like refunds and returns. Additionally, displaying orders from an ERP in real-time when an agent needs access to that information is also a huge boon.
Integration is about taking two systems and identifying who the users are and what they need. NetSuite is about finances, operations — in other words: internal functions. So, when a customer calls, no one from the side of the equation that an ERP is most focused on will ever pick up the phone. That is where Salesforce comes in.
By integrating, those that answer the phone are able to have what they need. They don’t need to call finance or operations to create a record.
In many ways, an experienced partner is like a librarian. They help you understand what you’re looking for and where to find it. As already mentioned, integrating an ERP into Salesforce can be achieved either by writing custom code or by using a third-party integration. A partner can help decide which route is best for an e-commerce business.
As with anything, choosing a route is a tradeoff. A custom-built integration has more flexibility. Although many third-party integrations are incredibly flexible these days, often their user interface component is set, making it difficult for companies to underwrite the code. This is where a custom integration comes in.
Since an ecommerce company would own the build, it would avoid the ongoing payment for a third-party integration. However, the downside to that is there would likely be more work involved as the company grows. Ongoing maintenance is needed as a company grows. Things such as changes in use or problems with scalability require customized code to be updated. This is the benefit of using third-party software.
Or, often, two apps will need to communicate with each other, but neither of them are Salesforce. In which case, writing a custom code in Salesforce makes little sense. Few businesses will have Salesforce be their only platform. So integrations to Salesforce are a strong benefit since it lives outside the platform.
As third-party integrations become more sophisticated, the number of uses that fall outside their scope is dwindling. However, despite this, with the rapidly changing tech industry, third-party software will never have the same agility as custom code. When an API is changed, most third-party software requires businesses to wait until their team builds the user-interface (UI).
Deciding to go custom or third-party is never a cut-and-dried decision. An experienced partner can help an e-commerce business understand whether it is right for them, teasing out what they need today and what it is likely to need down the road. Narrow what is on that bookshelf and make it easier to find relevant resources. Integrate an ERP into Salesforce today.