How to use interfaces to integrate all your B2B systems?

Interfacing

 

Traditional ecommerce software is developed to serve online retail, B2C web stores. These platforms run ‘autonomously’. This means, the ecommerce platform is able to do all the work itself, without the help of external systems. It exists of functionality to render the web store pages, to setup navigation structures and allow for web store management. On top of that, these ecommerce systems also calculate the orders, the discounts and taxes, store orders, store customer and assortment information in their own database.

 

Although all this sounds like a logical thing, it is as well the starting point of something we call ‘interfacing’.

 

Open-ended projects

 

Hooking up these kind of traditional ecommerce systems to your administration most often start with an interface to be able to pull the assortment of products from the ERP into the web store. A second interface would then be needed to push the web store orders back into the administration and of course an interface is needed to transfer the customer information as well. What you see is that once started with an interface project and getting new insights, new interfaces are needed or existing interfaces need to be extended. Besides, the web store software supplier often does not understand the ERP environment, nor does the ERP vendor know anything of the ecommerce system. Lots of first-time experimenting is part of these kind of open-ended interfacing projects, performed on a time and material basis which makes it even worse.

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