Ready to deploy a new ERP system in your ecommerce business? You have a complicated journey to navigate. How can you ensure your deployment goes as smoothly and painlessly as possible? How can you ensure minimal business disruption – and maximum business benefits? Here are our top five tips for a successful ecommerce ERP integration.
1. Understand your aims
ERP systems encompass a wide variety of different functions, across almost every business department. This underlines how transformative they can be – but can also be overwhelming when it comes to making decisions. So, break it down. What are you actually hoping to achieve by adding an ERP system to your ecommerce business? Is your focus on streamlining particular operations? Reducing errors? Generating new business intelligence? From there, you can make an informed an intelligent decision as to the right ERP system for your organisation. Remember that modular ERP systems can enable you to choose only the functions you need today, safe in the knowledge that as your needs change or your business grows, you will not need to upgrade your entire system.
2. Where are the connections?
A common mistake when integrating an EPR system with your ecommerce system is in treating it like any other new software deployment – of thinking you just need to install a new tool and you’re done. But the whole point of ERP systems is that they touch multiple different elements of the business – they take information from multiple different teams, departments and functions – and share information with them too.
As such, a successful integration requires a really careful mapping of all of those data flows and points of connection, and a really clear understanding of which elements of your business need to share or receive information from the new system. Typically, this requires multiple different stakeholders from across your organisation to participate fully in the process, which means you need to approach the question of buy-in and commitment carefully.
3. Determine KPIs
With any enterprise IT project, it is critical that you know from the outset what success will look like, so you can accurately evaluate the project afterwards, and make any necessary adjustments as seamless as possible. Factors such as sales conversion rates, average order value, cart abandonment rate and the cost per acquisition for each customer area all common KPIs for ecommerce/ERP integrations.
4. Get outside help if you need it
It is important to recognise that the scale and complexity of an ERP/ecommerce integration may make it one of the more complex enterprise IT projects you have undertaken, particularly if you are a new and growing business. Even if this is not something you have done before, now might be the time to look for external assistance with project management and implementation, depending on your internal resource. This is where organisations like Smart IT can add really tangible value, helping you to determine exactly what your implementation should look like, and carrying it out with minimal business disruption.
5. Training and education
Once you have deployed your new software, you need to ensure that ever relevant member of staff knows how they are expected to use it, and the value they are meant to gain from it. This means taking a strategic approach to training and education on the new software, planning out when and how different terms will be trained, and how you will deal with the inevitable questions and hiccups which will likely take place over the first weeks and months.
There is no single silver bullet for ensuring a successful ecommerce/ERP integration, but by following these top tips you can maximise your chances – and begin reaping the rewards faster.