How to integrate a third-party system with your website or mobile app

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  • 6/10/2014
    Integrating your digital marketing solution, whether it is a website or a mobile application, with a third-party system can be a challenging task. It takes a lot of planning and willing to change the way you currently do things. In order to get started, there is a lot of information that needs to be obtained from both systems.

    This type of integration has many benefits, the most obvious being cost savings, time savings and centralized data. It could be that your new website would like the ability to process orders from your website and you have an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that you are currently using in-house. I lieu of having the order being processed by the website, why not have your ERP system do it for you?

    If this is something that you might be interested in, here are some questions/tips that you might follow if you were to integrate an ERP and an e-commerce website:
    • 1. Make sure the ERP is already established within your organization before trying to integrate it with your new website.
      • a. Trying to do both at the same time can be very difficult and not necessarily cost effective.
        b. There may be a lot of wasted time with restarts and redos of tasks that could significantly delay the launch of your website.

      2. Does your ERP system have an API?
      • a. If yes, is there documentation for it? b. If no, is there the possibility to build one?
        • i. This would be if there was direct access to the third-party’s data.
          ii. Could also work with the vendor to build this as well.

      3. What features can I integrate by using the API?
      • a. Orders/Invoices
        b. Inventory
        • i. Part numbers
          ii. Stock levels
          iii. Lead times

        c. Customer data
        d. Lead generation

      4. Are you willing to change your business processes, if needed, to help streamline the cart experience of the website?
      • a. Let the API drive how the website flows, not vice versa.

      5. How often do you need to refresh the data on the site? Would an update of two times a day be sufficient?
      • a. A lot of time reading the data using the API can be a performance hit.

      6. Does you ERP have a checkout process?
      • a. Does it handle tax?
        • i. This hits on the point of having data in a centralized place.

        b. Payment gateway?
        • i. Avoiding reinventing wheel. A lot of times, business systems are already payment card industry (PCI) compliant, so this would eliminate this worry.

      7. Do you have a contact at your vendor to help with the integration?
      • a. Having direct access to the vendor is very helpful. They have the knowledge of the system being integrated with and has probably been involved in this type of integration before.

    These are just a few of the many possible questions/tips that could be asked that will help guide through what could be a stressful time. Have any questions? Ask them in the comment section below.

    This article was featured in thunder::tech's Code Update email. You can subscribe to this and other industry-focused e-newsletters at our Subscription Center.
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