Operating a business has become a major challenge for the IT department. Businesses these days need to have a flexible, stable environment and each department usually requires its own specific system to be productive and stay competitive.
The finance department will more than likely use accounting software; sales and marketing will probably utilise a CRM or ERP package; distribution will use a warehouse management system to manage stock levels and distribution; and management will require access to the entire lot.
Purchasing habits by consumers and businesses now demand an online presence, and businesses therefore need to adopt an eCommerce solution to stay competitive. This brings further headaches for the IT department as there are usually several more systems that need to be incorporated in order to create a fully functioning online offering – from an online store that can integrate with online marketplaces to systems that accept payments and others that connect with delivery services.
The problem that arises from this scenario is that the information and data generated by eCommerce needs to be shared with the other systems. This is the only way that each department and the management can have a clear view of essential data, ranging from sales and stock levels to opportunities and constraints, thus providing the strategic insight required.
However, data integration between online systems and back office systems can often be limited or non-existent and, therefore, a great deal of manual monitoring of events and data entry must take place when an order is placed online.
It is possible to rely on bespoke development projects to overcome these shortcomings, but they are often extremely expensive and undoubtedly time-consuming. It therefore makes sense to consider a product that can easily sit between these systems and automate a wide range of required processes.
Code-free drag and drop integration
Codeless Platform’s code-free drag and drop integration tools enables anyone with a basic understanding of the business’s database structures to easily build business process automation tasks – thus removing the need for bespoke development and the subsequent costs. There is no hard coding, no programming and it is fully customisable to suit your exact business requirements.
BPA Platform can remove many manual processes and automate the flow of information between eCommerce solutions such as EKM, Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, eSellerPro, Sage Pay , GoCardless, Stripe, Metapack and any other back office systems (Sage, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Saleslogix, Access Dimensions) – the possibilities are endless.
Automating admin tasks, giving employees on demand access to critical real-time information, as well as improving workflow, can result in cost reduction and the ability to exploit new development and project ideas. It’s a simple solution, but one that is often overlooked.
Some of the most common processes that can be automated include:
- Synchronisation of sales orders including telephone and offline methods between systems
- Automatic transfer of online payment details including transaction IDs to an ERP system
- IT process automation e.g. Optimise disk space capacity in servers, e.g. scheduled disk space monitoring, automatically deleting Temp folders, monitoring key software systems, such as finance and accounting systems, warehouse and time recording systems, are working properly – sending alerts via text message if they are not etc.
- Automatic updating of an eCommerce application when a ‘complete’ or ‘shipped’ status is created within an ERP system
- Automatic creation and distribution of PO requisitions and inventory levels are depleted below agreed levels
- Purchase order workflow authorisations (single or multi-level)
- Real-time inventory level and reorder point notifications via email or SMS
- Personalised automatic creation and distribution of marketing communications based on order history
- Automated customer registration communications
Automating workflow, documentation and alerts
Automating the entire order management process, as opposed to merely synchronising orders, removes the need for users to extract the data from the eCommerce solution and rekey that information into existing systems, and vice versa. This not only saves time and money but also eliminates data errors.
Synchronising eCommerce order transactions and available stock data is one of the first processes business look to automate. But what happens when an order depletes stock to below an acceptable level? How would you know and is it efficient to manually identify and resolve this critical issue?
It is possible to easily add workflow processes to the critical relationship between orders and stock, such as sending business alerts when levels are beached (email/SMS) and trigger PO requisitions for approval and processing.
Synchronising the downloading of orders, the uploading of order statuses and stock level updates could yield a huge return, but imagine what the ROI would be if you could extended the integration process to include courier services, email tools, XML feeds, product management tools and more?
Business process automation software can identify when a product has been purchased via the online store, process the order and also schedule other activities such as an install date within a CRM or service management application. Database trigger capabilities could also ensure that orders are instantly processed within an organisation and dynamically sent to the correct fulfilment partner. Even labels can be automatically printed ready for the dispatch team to process.
Achieving significant ROI and future-proofing the IT environment
Rather than trying to manage a wide number of systems via numerous bespoke integrations, which can be extremely complex and expose the business to high risk, utilising one centralised platform for all integrations will provide better control, make integrations easier and will reduce the risk factor.
Any eCommerce solution can be easily introduced into the IT environment and provide the business with a fully functioning, stable online offering. Additionally, the data can be pushed and pulled between the various systems, providing each department with the relevant information that is required.
The ability to integrate all business systems, as well as automate numerous processes, will help any IT department cut costs, provide the ability to reallocate resources to more essential tasks, as well as deliver a future-proof environment.
Getting it right from the start will simply help alleviate any future problems and will automate a lot of those annoying housekeeping tasks that are the bane for most IT departments.