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How to connect e-commerce to SAP and Dynamics

Written by
Published on
September 17, 2021

SAP S/4HANA and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management are among the most renowned ERP systems on the market. As businesses look to create omnichannel experiences by integrating these ERPs with e-commerce platforms, our low-code integration platform provides a unique solution to build the connection in a fast, flexible, and future-proof way.  

More often than not, when you start an integration project with these giant ERPs, whether you work with consultants or internally you end up with a common roadblock. ERPs like SAP or Microsoft Dynamics 365 don't possess the data points or web services that are needed to build e-commerce integrations.

Of course, these ERPs have the capabilities to provide webservices, however with this option, there are unfortunately none. Simply put, a normal SME ERP or accountancy software application has a large amount of data entities provided as webservices which in most cases are also well documented. Examples of data entities are "Customers, Products, Stock, Prices, Orders", which are also needed data for B2B e-commerce like "Customer specific prices, invoices’" etc.  Therefore, by concluding that they are “empty”, what is meant here is that the webservices of these giant’s ERP’s are not able to deliver such data as of yet.

Do you really need these ERP consultants to be onboard?

Thus, all the e-commerce desired data needs to be created as webservices by these ERP consultants, so the digital environment is able to get the data from the ERP, and to send the data back to the ERP, to obtain a seamless omnichannel experience. Dynamics 365 FO is slightly different, however, also lacks the data needed to automate your e-commerce platform for B2B eCommerce, they seem to have data for B2C e-commerce… but webservices are lacking in performance asking for catalog data, which therefore the Microsoft consultants will advise to configure a push file so the webservices are not producing performance issues. A second problem which the Microsoft consultants are trying to solve is the fact the dynamic custom fields of the catalog are not mapped in the default available webservice.

As mentioned, no data will be available for B2B e-commerce, which additionally means no data is available for B2B customer specific price information, real time order simulation for presenting the right discounts, prices, VAT, and basket surcharges which, furthermore, contributes to not being able to send the orders, deliveries, and invoices of all your customers in a push file which is only able to call the data – resulting in any performance issues.

By going down this route, with no webservices or data available, you will be left with a complex SAP or Dynamics project, a 3–6-month timeframe wasted before the integration project even starts, your customer spending three days for an individual webservice configuration through an ERP consultant and a trial-and-error project that pays no dividends. Of course three days seems not to be so problematic, however, please imagine that for a fully-blown e-commerce project, you will need 20 webservices, so it is essential to realize that 20 webservices multiplied by 3 days contributes to a needed budget for the ERP consultants of  +/- 60 days or in terms of an hourly rate, accumulates to approximately 200, which subsequently results in a budget of 120.000, notwithstanding all the problems ERP consultants are creating by trying to be ‘digital experts’, which is not the case. We believe that digital processes should be guided and supervised by the right figures.

Connecting the enterprise variants of SAP and Microsoft Dynamics to e-commerce can result in:

  • A SAP or Dynamics project where no webservice/data will be available
  • A complex SAP or Dynamics with ERP consultants involved
  • A customer paying a huge amount for having their webservices configured
  • A wasted 3 to 6 months before the project even can start
  • A test an error project that inevitably gets you no further from where you started

So, now that you know you want to “work smarter not harder, you more than likely want to start with a project that is not as complex and expensive, whilst providing you with documented webservices that provide you with all the data. As it goes without saying – “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!"

Happily... You DO NOT need these ERP consultants!

The smooth solution: How to connect SAP and Dynamics to E-commerce!

Alumio has been connecting to SAP and Microsoft for over 20 years and have created unique and native software which can be installed in these ERP’s. The software delivers configuration features so that the data objects of the ERP’s can be configured within a matter of days. Between day one and day three day you will have 21 well-documented webservices and push data points which can in essence, be connected to the eCommerce platform.

But how do we connect to E-commerce?

You now are able to connect the data with your development team, using custom code to e-commerce. A faster and more future-proof way is to use Alumio’s integration platform. The integration routes are already available as integration templates, so your integration project is kick-started. You can now change the routes according to the needs of your customer, let junior developers do the integrations, and you will have automatic logging and monitoring features!

The costs of the API Plugins

Most importantly, API Plugins are cost-effective solutions for kick-starting your integration project with all the needed and desired webservices. For the fully blown version that entails 21 webservices, you will pay a bit more than using the 8 data routes needed for B2C e-commerce.

Additionally, there is also a variant option designated for E-Invoicing, EDI, and Message broker. In essence the installation and configuration of the SAP API Plugin will cost a limited amount of money as a fixed price integration project, bringing the total cost of ownership of a 3-year project to a fraction of the custom-built version by ERP consultants. Perhaps more importantly, you will have a working version within a three-day time frame.

Don’t reinvent the wheel, flip it on its axis and watch it spin with this Alumio – e-commerce combination and see your e-commerce dreams come to life!

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