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2015/01/26

Make NetSuite Speak with Your Existing Systems: An eCommerce Integration Scenario


When a system works for your company and is perfectly customized for your business requirements, it doesn't necessarily make sense to replace it... You have likely already made significant financial investments and spent time and energy training your team on how to use it. As a result, the decision to go forward with a new ERP system, like NetSuite, may spark concerns. Will it be possible to use Netsuite in in conjunction with the existing customized system(s)? Will NetSuite be able to exchange data with your other system(s)? 

The answer is: yes. NetSuite can be integrated with, pretty much, any other system.

ERP Guru’s Integration experts know Java like the back of their hands! They have completed numerous integration projects for clients, whether it is an existing CRM tool, a 3PL, or any other kind of project, shipping or ticket management system. One of the typical scenarios we often address is the integration of NetSuite with an existing online web store. 

eCommerce Integration Business Case

Companies that sell their products online will often want to keep their existing web store when they consider implementing NetSuite. Prior to deploying an ERP system, many of these companies have developed in-house management systems and databases to run their online businesses. In these types of situations, connectors must be developed to facilitate unidirectional or bidirectional flows between heterogeneous data formats. In other words, a connector can be created to simply link the existing in-house system(s) with NetSuite’s ERP system, as well as additional web-store applications. 

In order for NetSuite to have the most accurate information, data from the web-store must be shared with Netsuite. In the event that a client wishes to maintain both NetSuite and a separate in-house system, data will need to be fed to both systems from the web-store. For a clean integration, NetSuite and the in-house database should be able to synchronize customer records, inventory, orders and items as described below.

Supporting the in-house system’s existing records and incorporating new records from NetSuite, to keep the in-house database up to date, can pose an interesting challenge. Additionally, ensuring real-time updates from the web-store to NetSuite makes the project even more complex. To resolve a situation such as this, our integration team designed and built a connector to manage the synchronization between both systems as seamlessly as possible. Furthermore, real-time processing from the web-store to NetSuite can easily be handled by a NetSuite scripting solution.

Whatever the integration challenge is, ERP Guru has the knowledge, experience and tools to tackle it. Try us! Together we can leverage integration to make NetSuite speak with your existing systems, avoid data silos and add value to your overall business processes.

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2015/01/20

2015: The Internet of Things, Big Data & Cloud Computing

Internet of Things
Internet of Things (IoT)... Big Data… Cloud Computing… are these only big buzzwords for 2015 or are they a sign of a real technological revolution? In 2015, approximately 4.9 billion “things” will be connected to the internet, and to one another, to power up the IoT. By 2020, this number is expected to reach anywhere from 25 billion (Gartner) to 75 billion (Morgan Stanley) connected devices, fueling a $3 trillion industry. We’re talking serious technological and business transformation… not just buzzwords.

While more and more “things” are connected everyday, an increasing volume of data of varied types will need to be processed at faster rates. This is what we call ‘big data’. Several companies, mostly startups, are pioneering through this quickly-developing environment to  basically define the IoT. “At the pace they move, these companies rely heavily on cloud-based technology because they’re the only services that allow for quick innovation,” states Brian Roepke, Director of Product Lifecycle Management and Product Data Management at Autodesk (1). The rest of the market will need to keep up with the IoT revolution. In all cases, cloud computing provides, not only the flexible infrastructure to support the IoT and its massive data, but also provides sophisticated tools to drive innovation faster. Across the two hundred  US senior executives using cloud-based softwares that were surveyed by global industry analyst firm Frost & Sullivan, 81% said that the cloud represents a competitive advantage over non-cloud using rivals - especially for entering new markets and quickly adapting to change (2).

Cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems provide the most efficient ways to spur finances, sales & marketing and product development. It is ERP Guru’s mission to free companies from their hardware and to offer simple and affordable cloud-based solutions. Our portfolio includes NetSuite (ERP & CRM), Salesforce (CRM) and PLM 360 (PLM) for fast configuration and deployment, to shape your company’s competitive edge. Don’t simply follow the revolution… drive it!

Internet of Things

NetSuite™: IoT and Supply Chain Automation
“Today, more than 20,000 companies and subsidiaries depend on NetSuite to run complex, mission-critical business processes globally in the cloud” (2). NetSuite is THE reference cloud financials, ERP and omni-channel eCommerce solution. It will also prove to be a key platform in the great impact that the IoT will have on how the supply chain operates. As warehouse devices are connected and enabled to communicate with one another, they will directly track orders, fulfill and ship them, while mitigating the bottlenecks and eliminating human errors. These machine-to-machine transactions must be connected to the right management system to reach seamless processes and still provide personalized customer experience. NetSuite understands this vision and is ready for the evolution of business operations.

Salesforce™: Use the IoT and big data for new ways to connect with your customers
The massive data generation that goes along with the IoT (big data) obviously includes sales data. Smart consumer goods that continuously collect, store and analyze information on behaviors, choices and usage will provide an unlimited (and accessible) goldmine for marketing and sales professionals. Easy exchange of sales data, instantaneous customer analysis, and prediction of social media trends are some of the IoT enhancements to marketing strategies that can be harnessed by Salesforce. To push the IoT possibilities further, Salesforce provides open APIs that can be leveraged by developers to build smart and social apps on top of the Force.com platform.

Autodesk™ PLM 360: Skyrocket the connected device development and productivity
Autodesk already counts a number of exciting IoT companies that chose PLM 360 to bring new innovative products to market. The easily configurable workspaces and workflows allow for the development of a flexible and agile environment enabling quick time to market that fast-paced companies need.

Cloud-based ERP + CRM + PLM = Fully integrated environment for IoT
ERP Guru is not only positioned to provide top of the line services for NetSuite, Salesforce and Autodesk PLM 360 but also to ensure these systems are effectively integrated. Year 2015 is highly promising for cloud-based technologies, contact ERP Guru for the tools you need for your business transformation.


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2014/12/19

eCommerce Retailers: Is Your NetSuite Integration Ready for New Shipping Cost Calculation Rules?

eCommerce and Shipping
As of January 2015, UPS and Fedex, the most recognized global shipping services, will make an important change in cost calculations for ground-shipped packages in the United States (1) (2). Multiple analysts predict this change will impact one third of all American shipments (3).

The new rules: dimensional weight pricing
Until now, ground shipping costs have been calculated based on weight alone. The new pricing model will now consider both package dimension and weight to generate the shipping cost.

This new set of rules will translate to increased shipping costs applicable to a wide range of packaged goods. Packages that are large but lightweight (ex. apparel) will be greatly impacted. 

Example: The Wall Street Journal did a shipping cost calculation analysis for a 32-pack of toilet paper; the results found a shipping cost increase of 37% based on the new dimensional weight pricing model.

Are you ready?
As an eCommerce retailer, it will be crucial to ensure that your website and NetSuite integration are compliant with these new shipping calculations. Otherwise, profitability margins may be at risk as a result of overspending on shipping. Whether it is in terms of importing products or shipping to clients, companies across America will want to ensure that they are taking these new rules into account. Most recently, ERP Guru clients have contacted us for validation of their eCommerce and NetSuite integration, in order to ensure that their systems will support this change. If you have not yet verified your system, now is the time! 

The good news is ERP Guru can help!
ERP Guru has the expertise required to verify and update your integration. 

Contact our Integration Specialists today and avoid paying the price in 2015!

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2014/11/27

ERP and PLM: A Powerful Team

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, like NetSuite, can address a great deal of business operations. NetSuite is perfectly designed to manage financials, for example:

  • To coordinate purchasing and accounting; 
  • To control inventory;
  • To schedule production activities;
  • To track sales;
  • To organize shipping.

When it comes to managing product data, ERP systems do not have the full capabilities to handle product requirements, concept to detailed design, introduction of new products, bill of materials and change throughout the product development and production stages. Have you ever tried to control change for your BOMs in an ERP? If the answer is yes, you know the issues that may go along with those types of changes.

This is why ERP Guru made the decision to leverage the cloud to introduce a new Product Lifecycle Management(PLM) solution by becoming an Autodesk PLM 360 Advisor. With a highly flexible and agile cloud-based PLM solution, Autodesk revolutionized traditional systems. What used to be massive to implement and exclusive to big enterprises from the automotive, aerospace and military industries is now accessible to manufacturing companies of all sizes. No more heavy infrastructure to install and to maintain. No more endless implementation to fear. No more new releases to test for months before installation.

ERP and PLM

Autodesk PLM 360 and NetSuite address specific business needs and complete each other.  


Over the past few years, Autodesk and NetSuite have become great partners that work more and more hand in hand. Since data is shared between ERP and PLM, it may quickly become confusing to tell what should drive what. As a simplistic line of demarcation, we could say that NetSuite is the system of financial records while PLM 360 is the system of product records. While transactions are performed in NetSuite, cyclical processes (revisioning  changes, …) take place in PLM 360.

ERP and PLM

To connect both systems, an integration middleware comes in handy. Both PLM PLM 360 and NetSuite being so configurable, Jitterbit, another key player in the industry, facilitates data transfer and manages processes between both systems.

Typically:

  • You manage your BOM with all related changes in PLM 360 and push your BOM to NetSuite when it is ready to be built (one push, when the BOM is ready).
BOM with ERP and PLM
  • You manage your inventory and costs in NetSuite and push that information to PLM 360 to provide your Engineering Department with tools and data for better decision making (scheduled pushes, to provide real time information).
Costs with ERP and PLM

ERP Guru consultants can assist your business by helping to define its strategic integration needs and evolving toward a powerful implementation of both NetSuite and PLM 360.


Your company has integrated an ERP system with a PLM? Go ahead and share your stories, challenges and lessons learned right here!


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2014/11/19

PLM 360: Saving You From Death by Spreadsheet Management

We all agree that spreadsheets are extremely easy to manipulate. Manage an action log? Track your vendor list? Plan your next design requirements? Put a quick Gantt chart together? Rows, columns and formulas are so flexible that anybody can use them and literally drive all of your business processes! However, as your company grows, hires more employees and expands to new locations, a new challenge emerges: those nice and easy spreadsheets get exponentially multiplied, are saved in random locations, travel from one person to the other by email, are not so up to date anymore, and become totally unmanageable… well, the spreadsheet honeymoon can quickly turn into your worst corporate nightmare.

In the previous post “There is a Better Way with PLM 360”, we highlighted the fact that Autodesk PLM 360 offers powerful ways to automate your engineering and business processes. PLM 360 uses the concept of workspaces to act as storage spaces for your data. Many useful workspaces such as “Items and BOMs”, “Project Management” and “New Product Introduction” are coming out of the box and are ready to use. The figure below displays a standard Autodesk PLM 360 Main Menu where Categories act as placeholders to organize workspaces. The workspaces contain all the pertaining records.

Categories, Workspaces and Records
Figure 1: PLM 360 Categories, Workspaces and Records

Each workspace could be compared to a spreadsheet - where PLM 360 fields would be equivalent to spreadsheet column titles and each PLM 360 item records would be equivalent to spreadsheet rows. For example, the “Customers” workspace would contain as many records as you have customers. And each record would contain all details relative to one customer: the name, address, website, primary contact, logo, etc. Any attribute that you want to track can be easily setup. The figure below provides a great overview of how a spreadsheet can be translated into a PLM 360 record inside a workspace.

Transform Spreadsheet
Figure 2: Transform your spreadsheet into PLM 360 data

Using this paradigm, it becomes possible to capture any spreadsheet into PLM 360 records by adding / modifying fields in “out of the cloud” workspaces or by building dedicated workspaces. From this point, your business data is going to be taken out of email inboxes and file servers and will become properly tracked and available to all your users.

Taking control of your data and ensuring everyone has access to the same consistent data is one of the basic capabilities of PLM 360; and ERP Guru can help you implement this solution in no time. Quick wins! Contact us for more information of how Autodesk PLM 360 can add value to your processes, projects and people management.

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