Key considerations for integrating third-party applications with Odoo ERP

What pitfalls should you watch out for and how can you protect and future-proof your systems. We’ll explore all that and more in this 10-minute read.
17 April 2023 by
Key considerations for integrating third-party applications with Odoo ERP
Smart Information Technologies Limited, Barry Bullen

consider integration with third-party applications. But how does that work? What can you bolt-on? And what are the key considerations for integrating third-party applications with Odoo ERP? What pitfalls should you watch out for and how can you protect and future-proof your systems. We’ll explore all that and more in this 10-minute read.

What is Odoo ERP?

An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) usually refers to a category of business management software—typically a suite of integrated applications—that an organisation can use to collect, store, manage and interpret data from many business activities. ERP software is designed to simplify and centralise specific business processes, such as purchasing, inventory management, and customer relationship management (CRM), and it can be paired with other business modules to facilitate finance and human capital management processes, for instance. Odoo is a modular, flexible, and customisable ERP platform.

What is an ERP integration?

An ERP integration is where you take your ERP system and link it to other applications and programmes. These might be e-commerce software, third party logistics and fulfilment companies, payment gateways, HR tools, CRM systems and more. This allows their data to feed into your ERP system and for their functions to receive commands from your central system as well. This integration process allows companies to combine, read and analyse data between their enterprise resource planning system and the software programs that it integrates with. When implemented correctly, both systems work seamlessly together to improve business processes, functionality, and performance. ERP integration maps fields from different software to work together and provides a unified database and log-in through the ERP system. They are often linked with an API. This API can be provided by the SaaS provider or created in-house by your ERP integration team. Depending on the complexity an integration can take anything from a couple of days, upwards.

Why would you want to integrate an app with Odoo?

At some point, most businesses will want to integrate an app with an ERP such as Salesforce, SolarWinds, HubSpot, FedEx, Magento or another specialist system. This is because of the unique services those platforms provide. By linking those systems to your ERP, you get a unified view of the business and a central point from which to make data-driven decisions. There are many reasons why you might want to link apps to Odoo and it’s a straightforward process. Your ERP implementation partner can help you scope the integration and rollout.

What kinds of apps make popular Odoo integrations?

While you could link any number of third-party applications with Odoo ERP, some are more common like CRM, logistics, marketing, social media, HR, and the like. Let’s explore why that is:

CRM integration with Odoo

Your CRM is the caretaker of your demand. An ERP is the home of supply. By linking them together, you can improve your data-driven insights into why customers come and go, what they’re interested in and where you might have some gaps and access a 360 view of your customers at any time. Though Odoo links CRM and ERP out of the box, some businesses are wedded to their existing CRM package and won’t migrate to another, even with better functionality. When they make a move to Odoo they will look to integrate Odoo with popular programmes such as Salesforce, Hubspot and SugarCRM.

Social media integration with Odoo

Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, LinkedIn and more can be integrated with Odoo ERP. This helps you manage your leads and inbound contacts on these platforms. Your consumer sentiment, marketing campaigns, couponing, POS, and other promo initiatives can also be tracked and fed in for a single customer story. When combined with your CRM, generally these two integrations can provide a single customer view and omnichannel customer support experience.

Business Intelligence integration with Odoo

Business Intelligence (BI) tools help you analyse all your data and discover insights that can open new markets, highlight high-performing segments, identify star team members and lead to customer loyalty. It also empowers every employee to take control of their performance in line with business KPIs. And management can make real-time coaching decisions to improve customer service at the ground level.

HR integration with Odoo

Connect, manage, and automate back-office tasks while feeding into your ERP. The HR department has some of the most extensive back-office needs of any department, so providing an efficient workflow is vital. The HR department is, after all, the one department that deals with every employee in your business regardless of title or leadership status. Incorporating your HR vendor’s capabilities with your ERP system helps keep track of and automate time-consuming back-office tasks by connecting them to the workflows of your ERP.

Odoo integration with accounting software

Odoo has a comprehensive accounting module. However, finance teams are often invested in a certain package so when they move to Odoo ERP they require integration with accounting software such as Xero accounting, Sage, QuickBooks, etc.

Project Management integration with Odoo

Stand-alone project management tools are sophisticated. So, when you link Odoo with your PM tool, you’re getting that power and performance but with centralised analytics. Report on the status of projects, check workflows, pop into Gantt charts and query blockages all from the ERP side without having to manage multiple systems. This can save time and improve performance overall. If you’d rather use Odoo’s built-in tools, your integration partner can help you set up and configure them.

eCommerce Odoo integration

Link everything from orders to customer info to fulfilment within a single system. Ecommerce integrations are probably one of the top Odoo bolt-ons. And it’s all about efficiency. Creating that link makes your sales data available in other systems for customer service, reorders, complaints, business intelligence, marketing and more. And when you automate it, you take out the delays and possible errors that the popular manual imports of the past would bring. If you have multiple stores or several ordering channels, integrating e-commerce with your ERP can take some of the hassles out of managing your sales. This works for WooCommerce, eBay, ShipStation, Stripe, PayPal, Amazon Marketplace and more.

How can you protect your ERP investment?

Documentation is key here. No matter how you link these systems with Odoo ERP, you’ll want to keep detailed records. You’ll need to know how each of these systems talk to each other, which way the data flows, how it is linked, who owns that API and what to do if something breaks. This is especially important if you’re getting a third-party integration partner to help you. Make sure that you know if you own that API or if it’s the SaaS provider and where each data point is connected. That way, you’ll be able to make changes and future-proof your investment. Lastly, build for tomorrow. Make sure you’ve scoped for at least a year post-implementation so that you can grow with your Odoo integrations. And train your staff thoroughly.

What common pitfalls can you face?

The most common pitfall is not doing a proper map of the existing data landscape. It will often come down to the wire and some team member identifies a crucial piece of missing data. Since API tunnels are created to send specific data fields in a unique format (in most instances) this can be a time-consuming error. The next pitfall is not allowing sufficient time for multi-fold testing. You need to make sure this link works, even when customers or team members input strange or unexpected data from remote sources. You’ll want your ERP implementation support team to be on hand for the first few weeks or months as the link beds in. This is true for even the base installation of Odoo ERP. Your partner should look after the support and training needs of your team to make sure you’re making the most of your ERP investment. Lastly, if proper scoping isn’t done at the beginning, you could end up with an ERP that only works for a month or two. Your partner should help you plan for the next few years to get a system rolled out that’s future proof.

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Key considerations for integrating third-party applications with Odoo ERP
Smart Information Technologies Limited, Barry Bullen 17 April 2023
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