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Replacing an In-House E-Commerce JDE Integration with Orchestrator

As we explored in our previous post, off-the-shelf software that integrates e-commerce and JDE is often costly and challenging to configure for implementation. That’s one reason companies stick with their own in-house workarounds. However, that can lead to even bigger problems if they are using manual processes or Excel spreadsheets to manage this complex business workflow. Fortunately, Orchestrator is a fast, affordable, highly effective alternative to third party e-commerce integration software and purpose built systems.

Excel Doesn’t Work Well for Building Integrations with 3rd Party E-Commerce Sites

Here’s a recent example from a sports equipment company that came to ACBM to create a JDE integration with Orchestrator.

  • The company had built an Excel solution with macros. This required a manual process to build the integration (it was really 4-5 integrations in one).
  • Different parts were written in different languages. The people who built the solution were no longer with the organization, and nobody else knew how to maintain it.
  • There were many manual incremental steps to actually use the system (push a button, get data, transform the data, input it in the next step, rinse and repeat). One reason for doing things like this was to manually check for data integrity issues in Excel since data was being pulled from multiple sources.

Believe it or not, this Excel mess was an improvement from the previous 100% manual process. Looking up websites and entering orders manually, taking a website code, and matching it to the JDE equivalent was tedious. Each person doing sales order entry could only process 10 per hour.

By using Excel macros to find the correct JDE options, they bumped that up to 40 per person per hour. This pace was still painfully slow and not scalable. The Excel spreadsheet had tabs and worksheets with hundreds of different options to map the e-commerce values to JDE values. This worksheet represented a potential single point of failure and a significant business risk if something went wrong.

How Did Orchestrator Change the Game for E-Commerce Integration?

  • By using an Orchestrator solution to automatically pull information from e-commerce sites into JDE, the company can now process sales orders in real time with no manual intervention or volume limitations.
  • Consolidating the system of record into a single source and using cross references to maintain mapping in JDE dramatically reduces errors.
  • Data validation is built in. Any errors that do occur are automatically caught and the appropriate person is proactively notified to address the issue.
  • Because the system is simple and built in Orchestrator, the company has plenty of in-house expertise available to manage and maintain it.
  • As part of the JDE system, Orchestrator is robust and well-supported by Oracle. Changes to third-party e-commerce sites can be easily addressed by updating connectors if necessary and leaving the rest of the orchestration intact.

Batch Processing vs. Real-Time Dynamic Sales Order Entry

Another issue that can come up with in-house e-commerce integrations is batch processing of sales orders. At first glance, it might seem more efficient to enter sales orders every night in one giant batch. However, this approach is fraught with risk.

An electric supply company encountered this problem with their batch processing. They would run a process every night to bring in the sales orders from JDE. A team member would review it the next day and find that there wasn’t necessarily inventory in place to fulfill the orders since the updates weren’t happening in real time. It could be 2-3 days later that they figured this out. Then, they would have to tell the customer that the item was out of stock. This caused confusion and disappointment.

REST Makes Sales Order Entry and E-Commerce JDE Integration Simple

Building orchestrations with REST connectors to enter Sales Orders in real time eliminated this problem. REST is perfectly designed to accept a stream of data and process it dynamically. SOAP is appropriate for big data sets that require a lot of transformation. But REST is the preferred methodology for integrations when you need to get real-time data directly from the source with less data transformation on top of it.

When using Orchestrator in this way, all the security of JDE is built into the solution. As a bonus, any data errors (such as an integrator changing a code) can be immediately identified and fixed. The orchestration simply sends out a notification as soon as an error happens. This is much better than running a batch of a thousand sales order entries overnight and finding a thousand failures in the morning.

Do you have an e-commerce integration system that needs to be upgraded to match the pace of your business? Contact us for a free discovery call.

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