As we see from our consulting practice very successful and relatively low budget ecommerce integration projects were done in old-good-days Integration Manager. This method gives you flexibility and such great advantage, as preserving your historical ecommerce programming investment, as it doesnt require you to redeploy B2B or B2C ecommerce website on the new platform or product. You keep your existing site and export newly checked out shopping carts either into the text files with folder controlling mechanism (exported, processed, exceptions with notification to the IT team), or even open ecommerce SQL database (you are not restricted to Microsoft SQL Server, it might be on Oracle, MySQL with PHP, FoxPro, MS Access, Pervasive SQL, anything that is ODBC compliant). Lets review the recommendations on IM integration scenarios:
1. Where shopping cart goes in Great Plains? Usually into SOP Sales Invoice (SOP10100 and SOP10200 tables) with Customer Deposit (in B2C case) or just without deposit (in B2B scenario, where you may sell on account). Sometimes, when you are selling service with flat one line description it is more natural to send it as Accounts Receivable Invoice (RM10301). We do not really recommend you to target the carts into older Invoicing module (IVC10100), as this module is not exposed via Integration Manager
2. Integration Anatomy. First of all you need to build Query or several linked Queries (SOP transaction uses at least two queries, where you have to link SOP Header and Lines). Next, you choose the integration destination, such as SOP Entry for the recommended way to transform the cart into Sales Invoice. And finally in the destination your design how the fields from the Queries will be mapped into destination document fields (with possible VBA script modification logic, data translation replacing one value or string with another, and other methods). In recent versions of IM, such as 10.0 and 2010/11.0 you can also deploy so-called eConnect adapters, where database access is more efficient, as eConnect is coded in SQL Stored Procedures (encrypted to discourage copying), versus old fashioned IM connectors, where such technology as Microsoft OLE is deployed (plus it requires GP workstation to be running for OLE fields enabling obviously stored procedure is faster, comparing to multiple applications and graphical interface stack dependent OLE Server)
3. What kind of experience is required to setup IM Integration? It is recommended to have Great Plains technical or even functional consultant to help you with setup. But, IM is end user friendly tool, especially when you are planning to base it on text files there are examples on each scenario in Integration Manager default database (installed automatically). If you plan to go and try advanced ODBC queries (directly pulling data from ODBC compliant database) then you should have experience with the DB platform (the most elegant and powerful way is to create SQL view and base the ODBC query on the view). If you want to process text files when integration is complete, you should do it in VBA scripts (upon integration completed just move text file into Completed folder, maybe you also need Exception transactions these should be handled in upon document completed event)
4. Integration scheduling. We recommend quasi real time ecommerce integration approach, where you schedule IM integration via Windows macro shareware or freeware routines (or more advanced tool is available for purchase directly from Microsoft Business Solutions). If your customer is OK with twenty (or five) minutes delay Integration Manager will do the job, and there is no need for deploying real time integration tools, such as eConnect direct programming in Microsoft Visual Studio
5. Ecommerce Shopping Cart platforms and integration to Great Plains. We strongly believe that such popular carts, as Magento on MySQL and PHP, ASP.Net Storefront, or your custom SC are open for transactions export into the text file or ready for their database table exposure via ODBC. Higher percentage of the customers however decided to undergo Text file (CSV) direction
6. If you think Integration Manager doesnt fit and you need real time ecommerce shopping cart integration. Not a problem, assuming that you have read the recommendations above and you still feel that they do not do the job or do not give you a way to follow. We recommend you two options to consider. First one would be eConnect direct programming (you should be experienced in such Microsoft .Net programing languages as C# or VB where you will enjoy code samples, potentially also C++). As eConnect libraries could be included into MS Visual Studio web project, shopping cart integration could be triggered to happen immediately when the order is paid. Second method we can give you a set of SQL Stored Procedures, geared to open SOP Transaction for simpler way of data feeding (comparing to eConnect, where some learning curve might be needed)
7. If you would like to deploy eCommerce product and decided that neither Integration Manager, not eConnect, nor Order Connector do the job for you, we invite you to see the demo of Alba Spectrum eCommerce module for Dynamics GP Great Plains. We are always trying to save consulting budget money for our customers, but it is often the case that the project is too challenging and requires moderate or even substantial budget to be fulfilled. We are here to help you feel free to call
8. For additional information, please feel free to call us 1-866-528-0577 or 1-630-961-5918 (this number works for international customers) or email us [email protected] We serve you USA/Canada nationwide via remote support (web sessions and phone/Skype conferences). Local service is available in Western Michigan, Chicagoland, Southern California (LA, Orange County, San Diego), Houston area of the state of Texas
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