Integrating Dynamics AX with External eCommerce Solutions

Maximize Business Potential while Keeping Costs Down

Dynamics AX eCommerce integrations can help businesses to deliver more value to their end-users. It can improve user experience without significantly increasing overhead. In fact, it can dramatically reduce overhead while improving customer satisfaction. The integration process involves properly defining your business's processes and then automating where it makes sense. It will allow you to deliver relevant information and personalize the experience for the end-users. Automation can help improve customer experience without increasing the cost.

It is essential to work with an experienced partner to ensure a seamless integration process. It will be ideal if they have worked with the Dynamics AX or AIF application integration platform, and the eCommerce APIs before. There are a lot of nuances with both of these sets of APIs. Each has different capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Therefore, partnering with someone who has successfully integrated with the resources both these applications have to offer is essential.

Common Entities to Integrate

Some of the common entities to integrate between Dynamics AX and an eCommerce platform include:

  • Customers and accounts
  • Categories, products, as well as product attributes and associations
  • Sales, orders, invoices, and quotes
  • Shipments and shipment status
  • Payments, users' and inventory location data
  • Custom entities and fields

Customers and Accounts

You can choose between a one way or a two-way integration for entities like customers and accounts. Customers and accounts are a very crucial area. It generally includes:

  • Address information (both shipping and billing)
  • Contacts tied to eCommerce users roles.
  • Customer-specific pricing, tax levels, and any tax exemptions
  • Credit limits
  • Order history data and reordering

Products and Categories

One of the most common things to bring in from dynamics AX into your eCommerce system (and vice versa) is the catalog of products and categories, as well as any associated fields.

Whenever you integrate Dynamics AX to bring data into an eCommerce platform, there is generally a base set of data. It typically includes product information, metadata, attributes, any media or documentation, dimensional weight, etc. There are also pricing data. It could just be simple pricing, or a quantity-based price discount, or a more complex customer-specific discount. So, all of this base-level data must be pulled in from Dynamics AX.

Once the data is in the eCommerce database, it is essential to enhance the data to make it web friendly. Moreover, all the data living in an eCommerce system needs to be preserved whenever there are any new updates. These might include new products or updated information for existing products such as price change, warehouse location change, etc. All this data needs to be updated in real-time. Therefore, the extended information must be preserved.

Essentially, the question is, can your chosen platform customize business logic and set up specific data transformation rules? If yes, then it would preserve data were necessary between the integrations.

Enterprise-Level Platform

We also recommend looking for an enterprise-level platform. However, that does not necessarily mean you have to pay an enterprise-level cost. It is only important that the platform offers scalability, security, and redundancy. Ultimately, it should cater to a growing business. It should allow for improvements over time.

A platform like this means you can start small and continue to build incrementally as your business grows. You can also start with a significant amount of integrations with infrastructure like this.

Invoices

Some customers might prefer paying via the eCommerce site as opposed to sending a cheque, making a phone call, etc. So, this integration will allow sending invoices from Dynamics AX into the eCommerce back-end. After that, all the order and payment information will be sent back to Dynamics AX, marking the order as paid. So, all the different information (taxes, customs, and duties, shipping fees, etc.) needs to be mapped into the appropriate fields inside Dynamics AX. Therefore, your integration platform can perform intelligent data transformations.

Shipment Status

It is also common to integrate shipment status. So whenever an order is completed, the end-user stays up to date with the fulfillment process. They can get information regarding pick and pack slips, warehouse transfers, etc. It will prevent the end-user from growing impatient and be aware of the order status at all times. It may also include tracking information once the shipment has gone out. You may provide an option for customer support, refunds or replacements if there are any issues with an item in the order.

Omni-Channel Integration

We support omnichannel integration so you can set up a multi-store integration. This will allow users to order online through the eCommerce platform but pick up the order in-store. They may also split the orders so that some items are shipped, whereas others are picked up in-store. The customers may also bring the item back to the store for a refund. All this needs to make its way back into Dynamics AX.

How Can Clarity Help

Dynamics AX eCommerce Integration Specialists

If you have any more questions related to this topic, we encourage you to reach out to our experienced team. The Clarity team has a very friendly and knowledgeable sales and business development staff. They can provide a complimentary analysis. We certainly look forward to answering your questions and talking with you about your upcoming Dynamics AX integration project.

We also encourage you to go through the resources below. They have helpful information that covers other topics related to Dynamics AX integrations, some of which can be helpful for your project. If there are topics that you do not see below, you are welcome to click on the ask the expert link. Our team will be happy to provide a technical response to any questions that you may have regarding those topics.

NopCommerce + Dynamics AX Integration

Clarity Connect is a middleware platform that facilitates the integration of NopCommerce to Dynamics AX, 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 NopCommerce and Dynamics AX. 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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Connecting with Clarity Connect:

  • NopCommerce

    NopCommerce

  • Dynamics AX

    Dynamics AX

Clarity Connect is a middleware platform that facilitates the integration of NopCommerce to Dynamics AX, 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 NopCommerce and Dynamics AX. 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.

NopCommerce
Innovative & Robust

How Middleware Integration Works for B2B Platforms

Integrated NopCommerce & Dynamics AX 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 NopCommerce & Dynamics AX 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.
Dynamics AX
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 NopCommerce

NopCommerce 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 Dynamics AX

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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 Dynamics AX

Workflows and Benefits Supported by Dynamics AX

Dynamics AX 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 Dynamics AX into the NopCommerce storefront

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Inventory & Stock Quantites

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

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Invoicing & Payments

Pulling invoices from Dynamics AX into NopCommerce 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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