Website integration is becoming more and more important to business’s wanting to streamline their internal systems. We have all heard the catch cry that to be more efficient we should avoid duplicate content within your business systems, this is often easier said than done. Many of the people we talk to are running an accounting system that holds product price data, and sometimes product descriptive data, and an eCommerce website that holds the same information. The challenge they have is how to maintain the data consistently in both places without manual double handling. The answer is integration.
Integration can be loosely defined as the process of allowing two or more systems to be brought together so that they behave as one. In essence allowing an update to be made in your accounting system (to price or product descriptions) and to have these changes reflected on your website (or vice versa), and potentially on any number of associated systems.
How do we integrate?
There are many ways to integrate computer systems. The method used should be driven by the requirements of the business. Real time integration ensures a change made on one environment is reflected immediately on all other integrated systems. Delayed integration will process updates on to associated system at times that suit your business, this could be daily at a time when site traffic is at a minimum.
The technical solution used to integrate a website and backend systems is generally determined by the systems that are required to communicate with each other. These can encompass relatively simple csv export and import functionality to the development of API’s that expose a range of functions from their associated systems that allow data to be extracted and inserted based on the requests of the calling environment.
Integration between a website and backend system can offer significant savings to a business, these are achieved through avoiding repetition of data updates, improving speed of updates (price changes, Terms and Conditions changes etc) and simplifying the update process. While there is an investment required in establishing a robust integration layer for your online environment, the return on investment associated with the synergy integration can establish between systems ensures the ROI time frame is relatively short. The Koda Web team have experience integrating a number of backend business systems with a variety of website content management systems including Drupal and Magento. Backend systems that we have integrated with include:
- Web Ninja
- Sales Force
While integration can seem daunting, if you recognise the business benefit you are hoping to achieve, plan correctly and partner with the an experienced integration provider there is no reason why you can’t leverage the economies of scale and consistency of data that integration offers to a business. If you’d like to discuss further please feel free to contact the author at Koda Web.