Integrating Sage 100 with External eCommerce Solutions

Unlock Business Potential through Intelligent Implementations

An advanced eCommerce integration to Sage 100 allows a profoundly robust scalability for businesses looking to enhance their capabilities or extend their reach, without necessarily adding to the overhead of the business. It also comes with the ability of an optimized reduction regarding the required spend to scale and expand within a particular market or multiple markets. Sage 100 is a highly capable system, as it offers multiple different forms of integrations. Depending on the desired depth of integration into an eCommerce platform, we recommend that you work with a partner that has equivalent experience with the capabilities and the available offerings within Sage 100.

The preferred execution method is through the Business Object Interface, commonly referred to with the acronym BOI. The BOI essentially grants full access to an SDK-like interaction between Sage 100 and your selected system, using the latter’s web API framework. The protocol that's typically used for the Sage 100 BOI ends up being a web services/SDK type of interface, and the Magento APIs are going to be REST-based calls. The Sage 100 also offers a Visual Integrator (VI) and a relatively limited set of web services. It’s useful to know that the Sage 100 platform itself does have options for licensing that may or may not be enabled. Depending on which interface or integration type you wish to complete with Sage, we encourage you to examine your licensing and make sure that it’s appropriate. If you don’t already have the desired Sage 100 license, you should be aware of the associated cost for obtaining and turning it on.

Our ultimate recommendation is to select either the Business Object Interface or the Visual Integrator for your eCommerce integration. The reasoning behind this advice is how the web services are quite limited in terms of available entities. If your particular scenario just needs to integrate sales orders, contacts, and perhaps other simple entities similar to those, it may be possible to only use the web services that are already built into Sage 100. On a number of occasions though, businesses will opt to use the Visual Integrator along with the Business Object Interface. While the Business Object Interface tends to be relatively complex at first, it reliably delivers the most powerful capabilities overall, with a strong ability to access any entity or field within the system. It should be noted that Visual Integrator technically has these options too, but it can be cumbersome and rather finicky to work with just because it's using comparably older technology. On top of this, there are some nuances to how VI needs to be configured in order to run successfully.

Selecting the Appropriate Entities for Integration

Syncing Considerations and Optimal Execution

Due to the complexity the VI or BOI may present, we recommend working with a partner who is experienced with Sage 100 and is able to expertly navigate these different scenarios or alternative options. With regards to the actual Sage 100 and eCommerce integration itself, we usually recommend evaluating many distinct entities within your business for optimization and automation. Probably the most common entities tend to be the following:

  • Categories
  • Products
  • Product catalog system, the associated attributes, and any relationships between the products
  • Pricing information and possibly customer specific pricing
  • Inventory
  • Locations
  • Meta information
  • Imagery
  • Custom fields

Any of the above data that's living in Sage 100 can be brought into the eCommerce platform via a successful integration. It is even possible to extend or hydrate that data further inside of the platform, by intelligently evaluating when certain fields are updated in Sage 100 to pull those in a logical and reasonable way that works for your business. This is generally referred to as business logic and data transformation within the connector itself.

The Clarity Connect platform certainly enables these capabilities for your business, and it doesn’t stop here as we can additionally handle other integration types. For example, customers and accounts may be synced between Sage 100 and another system in a two-way sync. In other words, existing customers and accounts can be brought over so that the accounts can be claimed inside it. This can be done based on the domain of the email address and other forms of verification, like claiming an account with an account administrator or administrators. The process can be completely customized in practice, to match your unique business needs and requirements.

In addition, clients often decide to bring in detailed information around accounts and related hierarchy, such as:

  • Addresses, including billing and shipping addresses
  • Contacts
  • Account specific pricing
  • Tax levels and tax exemptions
  • Location data
  • Credit limits on the accounts and their updates
  • Product purchasing history

Other potential data that might be brought inside involves recommendations, which may be in the form of transactional emails with included recommendations. It's also possible to bring over sales orders, invoices, and quotes from Sage 100 into another software solution or vice-versa. All of these cases present the ability to bring back customers and accounts into Sage 100 as well.

Further Capabilities and Optimization Based on Business Requirements

Explore the Massive Opportunities that Align to your Organization

For certain entities, including sales orders, invoices, and quotes, it's achievable to bring a line item and details from external platforms into Sage 100 whenever someone completes the checkout process. This is going to include taxes and tax classes on each of the product line items, if desired, along with any kind of integrations like Avalara. Further options would be shipping and fees, customs and duties, discounts, any item orders, shipping level discounts, payments, and tracking of transaction data. Therefore, you can split payments and integrate refund data as well, so that the request for a refund can be made, then sent to Sage 100 for processing, and then returned to the original system. In a similar fashion, any shipments and their status can go from one system into Sage 100 for fulfillment and shipment with tracking information. Next, the Sage 100 system can dynamically push the data using the connector application, allowing the end customer to see real time -or near real time- data with tracking and information about their shipment status.

Moreover, you have the option to enable payments from invoices, quotes, or orders that are placed in Sage 100 has no prior related information. By syncing those entities, customers are empowered to make payments for a Sage 100 invoice inside of an eCommerce platform. In addition, you may select to set up users syncing from an additional system to Sage 100, and even allow for specific logic that associates the created account with a particular company. As seen before, this can be verified based on domain information or possibly company addresses.

Furthermore, the functionality supports omni-channel capabilities, like multiple locations, proximity searching, transferring of inventory, inventory location based on nearby stores, and more. Through Clarity Connect, it's feasible to essentially integrate in a one-way or two-way direction between eCommerce solutions and Sage 100, with advanced data transformation and business logic. One of the big advances that the Clarity Connect platform offers is a very discreet task-based engine. This connection tool allows for queue-based persistent tasks that are associated with specific entities and fields that you need to integrate data between. This includes the ability to leverage specific company and business logic together with data transformations on core and custom entities. Clarity also offers real-time integrations to meet elevated needs with the highest level of accuracy.

How Can Clarity Help

Sage 100 eCommerce Integration Specialists

If you have questions about either aspect of this integration, we definitely recommend that you reach out to our team of experienced professionals who'd be happy to share more. We certainly encourage you to ask our friendly and knowledgeable staff about any of the aforementioned options to receive all the details you need. You're also welcome to look around our website and discover the other available resources which provide additional related information. If you still have areas of a particular topic that aren’t fully covered on our site, click the Ask the Expert link. We'll be happy to provide you with a complimentary response and elaborate further on that subject. Always feel free to contact our team of specialists and learn everything your business needs for a flawless Sage 100 integration.

BigCommerce + Sage 100 Integration

Clarity Connect is a middleware platform that facilitates the integration of BigCommerce to Sage 100, including the automation of business processes and the sharing of data. Why would you do this? Every company, as well as every need to integrate is different. The most common is to marry the front-office web property with a back-office application, such as an online storefront connected to and ERP to pass orders automatically when the order is placed online.

There are many considerations when designing the connection between BigCommerce and Sage 100. There can be security and performance criteria, as well as the physical access available to the applications. The two common connection types of applications that are typically connected are SaaS and On Premises.

Pricing
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Connecting with Clarity Connect:

  • BigCommerce

    BigCommerce

  • Sage 100

    Sage 100

Clarity Connect is a middleware platform that facilitates the integration of BigCommerce to Sage 100, including the automation of business processes and the sharing of data. Why would you do this? Every company, as well as every need to integrate is different. The most common is to marry the front-office web property with a back-office application, such as an online storefront connected to and ERP to pass orders automatically when the order is placed online.

There are many considerations when designing the connection between BigCommerce and Sage 100. There can be security and performance criteria, as well as the physical access available to the applications. The two common connection types of applications that are typically connected are SaaS and On Premises.

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Be Nimble, Be Quick

SaaS or In-the-Cloud Applications

SaaS-based integrations are very common. These are exclusively online and used to integrate applications like Salesforce, Office365, USPS, UPS, 3PL, Avalara (Clarity is a certified Sage, Microsoft and Avalara partner) and any other application that is served up in the cloud.

In any of these scenarios, the eCommerce storefront is hosted on a cloud-based server (usually at a provider like Amazon, Azure, Rack Space, Liquid Web, Managed.com, etc.), and Clarity Connect is installed on the same server, with the connector or adapter communicating to the other online application across a secured Internet connection.

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Working from Within

On-Premises Applications

Another common implementation is when a client has their ERP or CRM installed on premises, behind their corporate firewall. In this scenario, Clarity Connect is then installed on a server on premises, along with the connector at the client’s facility and configured to communicate securely within their network to the back-office application(s).

Then an IP exception, with specific port and public / private key combo is used so that Connect can securely communicate with the other application’s connector / adapter in the cloud, improving security and ensuring that the client’s ERP / CRM are not exposed outside of their network.

BigCommerce
Innovative & Robust

How Middleware Integration Works for B2B Platforms

Integrated BigCommerce & Sage 100 applications can foster greater customer loyalty with business process automation that delivers consistently outstanding customer service. Order processing speeds up, customers can access a range of information about their accounts such as order history and shipping options, so that it’s easy to place complex orders. Examples of how integrating ERP software works in practical terms include the following automated processes:

  • Customers and prospects visit an eCommerce website.
  • A record of the visit is generated and converted into a format that works in BigCommerce & Sage 100 software (Contact record -> Activity log).
  • If a sale is made, a Customer Record and Sales Order are automatically generated.
  • Visitor behavior is tracked and recorded to build user profiles for custom displays, marketing messages, recommendations and content curation.
  • Sales Orders and Quotes are sent to the appropriate staff for review, fulfillment and shipping.
  • Shipping details are converted into readable formats and forwarded to the eCommerce store.
  • Inventory figures update in real-time.
Sage 100
A Better Experience

Customer Service Takes its Place at the Top of the Queue with ERP Integration

The usefulness of both CRM and ERP software depends on how efficiently business process automation works, and that depends on how fully the software is integrated into operations. If customers must contact sales or customer service staff frequently to troubleshoot problems with orders, get answers to simple questions or manage other issues with their accounts, the hidden and labor costs can be tremendous.

Companies routinely lose orders, fail to upsell accounts and frustrate customers when self-service eCommerce applications don’t work seamlessly with back-office data, pricing and automation. The costs of staff intervention also raise human capital costs and prevent staff from pursuing revenue-generating tasks.

  • Generating customized email, marketing promotions and newsletter marketing.
  • Generating customized reports and 360-degree views of each customer’s profile and real-time actions.
  • Automating line of business applications to foster seamless connections with multiple databases and internal management systems.
  • Delivering customer-centric tools for order fulfillment, support requests and ticketing applications.
  • Triggering custom quotes, accelerated workflows and faster management decisions.
  • Triggering custom quotes, accelerated workflows and faster management decisions.
It's All About Endpoints

Business Logic & Endpoint Types

Business logic are workflows that are the real meat and potatoes of the integration. It's where all the business processing happens and is made up of events, triggers, rules, and more. It's what allows all of the real-time or batched communication and automation of the front-end website with data and logic from the back-office applications. This is what extracts and exposes all of the value of your website / marketplace project.

The workflows can be very simple, such as checking a product's in-stock inventory count, to something much more complex. The basic endpoint categories are:

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Contacts

Individual users, typically customers or individuals of partners

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Accounts

Customer accounts, partners, resellers, etc.

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Products

Products or services that your company provides or sells

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Inventory

Stock quantities of products or services

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Pricing Tables

Pricing set on your products or services

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Sales Orders

Orders placed on the web that are pushed to the back office for processing

There can be literally hundreds of endpoints an API can expose to a connector (Clarity's eCommerce API exposes over 10,000) and the list can be very different from the two sides you're integrating. This is important because you may want to push or pull information from an application that can't be easily accessed or loaded to an application that doesn't support that type of data (Accounts and Contacts may both be in your CRM and ERP, but products and inventory may only exist within the ERP).

Possible Complex Workflow Samples

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Login Authentication Workflow

When a user logs into your store, Connect can go to the integrated CRM, look up the user, see what account they belong to. Is the account status on hold? Does the user have permissions to purchase on account? What pricing table does the account get assigned? Which products should be made visible to the user, etc.?

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Viewing a Product Workflow

When a user clicks on a product category, go to ERP in real-time and check to validate their (the account's) pricing, inventory story quantity and whether the product can be back ordered.

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Displaying Multiple Stock Quantities

If you stock products in multiple warehouses, how do you let users know how many are at each location? Connect can pull that information from your ERP(s), and display that on the website, allowing users to order from the closest location that has the number they need in stock.

Workflows and Benefits Supported by BigCommerce

BigCommerce uses REST for its Connector-Adapter (API). This allows for the integration of data in the Product and Orders categories. Here's a brief list of some possible workflows:

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Login & Tiered Pricing

Automated login can validate users & account-based tiered pricing with Sage 100

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Lead Capture & Generation

Capture leads to support your marketing activities

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Automate Sales Orders

Automate push Sales Orders for processing into Sage 100

Workflows and Benefits Supported by Sage 100

Sage 100 uses EDI File Exchange for its Connector-Adapter (API). This allows for the integration of data in the Pricing and Fulfillment categories. Here's a brief list of some possible workflows:

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Products & Services

Automatically pull products and services from Sage 100 into the BigCommerce storefront

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Inventory & Stock Quantites

Display accurate stock and inventory counts on your BigCommerce store by pulling real stock quantities

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Invoicing & Payments

Pulling invoices from Sage 100 into BigCommerce allows customers to save, print and pay their invoices online

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Integration Cost & Timing

Since the endpoints expose what is accessible to each connector, those applications with robust, well-defined APIs allow you to integrate more quickly and at a much lower cost. Simple integrations (i.e. forwarding orders to the back-office, pulling stock and quantities to the front-office) can start around $15k (including the platform's one-time license fee), especially for those that we've already developed robust connectors for. The complex integrations or those with many workflows and dozens of endpoint calls, may run as much as $30k all the way up to $100k for multiple applications.

It all depends on the number of applications being integrated, the ability to easily integrate with the applications, and the numbers and complexity of the business workflows being built. Using Clarity Connect, typical integrations can take from a few weeks to a few months. Over more than a decade, Clarity has done over 3,000 integrations and although 40% of the integrations that come our way are new, we haven't met an integration that we haven't been able to develop. Give us a call today to discuss your integration project.

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