Marketing Managers and IT Managers will be aware of this all too well, but sometimes the systems you rely on to manage your eCommerce operations, just don’t connect.

As we’ve discussed previously, customisation can provide short term gains but add risk long term yet the importance of integrated systems is absolutely essential.

Finding the right middleware solution means your business can resolve complex integration issues without forcing development on either of your platforms, that could impact on their upgrade paths.

What is Middleware?
Middleware acts as a direct communication between applications and databases where there isn’t a standard connection between them. This means you are able to manage the flow of information in both directions to ensure a single voice of truth.

What are some examples?
A very simplistic middleware example is Zapier. This allows a User to take a basic function (email) and use information provided on a form, to be uploaded into a CRM. In instances where your CRM is standalone, this is a quick and efficient way to get the necessary information without manual intervention and copy/paste.

More complex applications of middleware can be taking information from standalone POS systems, and integrating them into your eCommerce platform. There are a variety of systems out there that can assist, with Mulesoft and Jitterbit being two examples.

There are a variety of benefits to using middleware, see below for some examples –

  • No requirement for complex development between unconnected systems
  • Usually they are cloud based which means no further costs for self-hosting
  • They are incredibly flexible, so you can connect multiple systems together using process flows and normalisation of data
    • Linking Business Intelligence / POS / eCommerce for example

When choosing the right platform, you need to have a clear understanding of the systems you have in place and where the pain points are. Middleware comes with a variety of pricing, end point users, licenses, and volume of integrations – all of these will determine which product is suitable for you and your business needs.

At the Playhouse Group, we love complex integration projects and finding practical solutions. If you are currently facing issues with connecting multiple platforms, we’d love to hear from you and so we can provide recommendations, support and implantation. Reach out on the form below for more information.

Save Time, Save Money and Stay in Control with Integration

Whether you have two departments or ten, you might be running off two databases right now or twelve. There are hundreds of excel sheets and even more versions. It is all getting a little out of control but how can you stop this, how can you take back control?
Integration is the answer. This can be between teams and between systems. Whatever way it gets done, it is essential to your future success, and sanity!

The Lure of a Layered Approach
We know just how easy it is to start off small, and slowly grow before you know it, you have ten departments working on six systems with countless versions of excel files – where does it end?

It is easy to build up these layers without actually realizing to what extent they have grown. You do what’s quickest and easiest at the time, and before you know what has happened, things get a little bit challenging to manage and stay in control of.

The impact this change can have on your business is phenomenal.

  • Customer satisfaction levels are impacted
  • Information is not shared between teams effectively
  • It takes more time to resolve issues
  • It prevents your staff from getting on with their jobs due to the extensive time they spend looking for information

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Information Systems and the role your company data now plays in any business is so much more important than ever before. Not only can it help you to stay competitive in your industry or field, but it can also help you to scale your business. If your e-commerce business starts to flourish, then you would be better equipped with an integrated system in place to power you through and boost your overall business efficiency and ability to serve your customers to the very best of your abilities.

Integrate Before It Is Too Late
Our message is simple, and it works. Whether it is your ERP, Stock management tools, spreadsheets, POS, BI, Nav or other; pulling together your information and integrating this can be one of the best business strategies that you will ever make.

With this single decision, you will make it easier for your customers to deal with your business. Your team will have more time to service the needs of your customers and better support the business, and they will be able to do it all much quicker than before.
Having a solid strategy in place can help you understand exactly what to expect when integrating your business systems, it is an essential first step if you are considering a system integration project within your organisation.

Whatever stage of the process you are currently at, Playhouse can help you to outline, define, plan, and carry out an effective business systems integration project. We have extensive experience and can handle projects of all sizes, with businesses in any sector. Talk to us today for an initial discussion about how a system integration project could help your business to flourish.