Great Plains and eCommerce

Anyone aware of any connection or sync products that will connect to/communicate with Microsoft Great Plains Dynamics and eCommerice and shopping cart websites like woo-commerce, Abante cart, Presta Shop, open cart, magenta, etc. Is there some kind of standard protocol in place that I should be looking for in evaluating any potential solutions? The idea is to be able to either download any orders from a website to Great Plains or to have Great Plains via a connector/sync app to connect to the website and downlaod orders and requests for information.  Thank you.
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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAsked:
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Steve EndowMicrosoft MVPCommented:
Hi,

There are a few options, but your options will depend on the ecommerce solution you choose to use and how you use it.

First, be wary of any ecommerce solution or vendor that claims to integrate with Dynamics GP. Many claim to integrate with GP, but most do not--they may have a report that you have to export to CSV and then have to figure out how to import to GP.  If they make such claims, ask them specifically how they integrate to GP and ask for at least 2 GP customer references that you can speak with.  

Off the top of my head, the only two that I'm aware of that have actual out-of-the-box integrations to GP are Nodus or k-eCommerce. There may be a few others, but those two companies are regularly at the GP conferences.

For simpler, more generic, integrations, you may be able to use eOne SmartConnect or Scribe.  But those tools usually have some limitations--for instance, I don't believe SmartConnect can expose a REST web service for an ecommerce system to send orders to GP synchronously.  So you would still need to design, construct, and implement the integration based on asynchronous data transfer.

If you are doing multi-channel ecommerce, that is usually more complex, and your GP integration design will depend on the multi-channel commerce solution you implement.

Recently, the customers I have worked with have wanted a RESTful API that would allow them to have a synchronous integration with GP with the ability to customize the integration.  For those customers, I developed a custom web API using ASP.NET Core, which then used eConnect to import master records and transactions into Dynamics GP.

Thanks,

Steve Endow
Microsoft MVP - Dynamics GP
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the response. I took a pretty long look at both company's websites and it looks like to me that these are companies that provide solutions that include the website itself, their own ecommerce platform/solution, right? This client of mine is a small business that sells only 100 or so different products in various quantities and is also a seasonal business that sells from December to June (seasonal/perishable items) with sales that are only about $450,000 a year. From the look of the suggestions they seem to be geared to much larger sales volumes than this client of mine--I am right or do they also cater to small business? Thanks.
Steve EndowMicrosoft MVPCommented:
Got it.  That context helps.  Yes, those 2 products may be too large of an investment for seasonal sales.

It looks like there are companies that offer platform specific integrations to Dynamics GP, such as this offer to integrate PrestaShop to GP:

https://www.patchworks.co.uk/prestashop-microsoft-dynamics-gp-integrations/

But be careful with these solutions and inquire what their fees are for upgrading to new versions of Dynamics GP.  I recently had a customer held hostage by their Shopify integration vendor who wanted like $10k to get the integration to work with a new version of GP (even though it should be a trivial process).

I would try and narrow down the choice to a few top contenders, then inquire what options they have for integration to ERP systems.  If there isn't a good platform specific GP integration available, I'm guessing CSV exports will be the default integration method.

If the GP customer already owns the Integration Manager product for Dynamics GP, that tool can be used to import CSV files from the web site. IM is not a fancy tool, but it handles basic integrations.

If they don't already own Integration Manager, SmartConnect is the most popular 3rd party integration tool for GP, but with the license cost, annual enhancement, and training (which I strongly recommend if you or the customer will be supporting the integration, as it is a complex product), it's around a $9k investment before you actually work on the integration.
 
An alternative would be to develop a custom .NET integration, which can probably be done for under $7,500, if its a simple integration.

If you narrow things down and have any additional questions, let me know.

Steve
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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks.
Steve EndowMicrosoft MVPCommented:
Hi,

I'm at the GPUG Summit and I spoke with a friend who is on the Nodus team.  She said that they do have a connector that will allow you to integrate ecommerce platforms like Shopify to Dynamics GP.  You do not need to buy their entire ecommerce solution.

You can contact Nikki Nguyen at Nodus:   nikki@nodus.com

She can share their GP integration options with you and see if it might work for your customer.

Thanks,

Steve
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
thank you
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the referral Steve but there solutions are in the $20,000 to $30,000 range
Steve EndowMicrosoft MVPCommented:
Wow, it's $20k - $30k, just for their GP integration connector?

Steve
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
No that is their all in one solution--their connector is an API only and not a solution--the API would require custom programming that he said would still cost more than what we can afford but not give me the price of it.
Steve EndowMicrosoft MVPCommented:
Interesting. That's too bad, I thought they had an actual integration solution rather than just an API.

Well, if your client does choose an ecommerce solution, I'd be interested in hearing what they choose and how you end up integrating it with GP.  

Maybe I'll develop something that works with a few common platforms and sell it for a reasonable price.  The integration to GP isn't particularly difficult, but dealing with the different file formats or calls or web hooks from different platforms will likely be a hassle.

Steve
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
So far I am finding that most have the ability to export sales to quickbooks (not all sales data but some--reduces some dual input) but haven't seen or found how to import from QB -- if I find one that can do that then surely that export can be used by GP's integration manager to import that file, no?
Steve EndowMicrosoft MVPCommented:
If the ecommerce platform can export the data you need, and if the customer already owns Integration Manager, then yes, you should be able to prepare some integrations to GP.  But depending on the data the ecommerce platform provides, you may need to modify the data in Excel prior to import, or make sure to set some defaults in GP (prices, taxes, GL distributions, etc.).

If you need to export data from GP to send to the ecommerce platform, I have a free tool that can call SQL stored procedures and export them to CSV files, and also upload and download files from SFTP sites.  

https://precipioservices.com/sftp


I would be interested to know how it works out.

Thanks,

Steve

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Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thanks I will let you know if/how things go. Still struggling to get owner to make decisions.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
OK Steve we are back on track. We have decided to implement woocomerce for our site, it was between it and magento. Do you know if your app or some other could import customers and orders into GP; would integration manager be able to deal with any of this? Any guidance on this would be appreciated -- thank you.
Steve EndowMicrosoft MVPCommented:
Hi,

Thanks for the update.   A few initial questions:

1.  Will the web site data only flow one direction from woocommerce to Dynamics GP? (new customers and orders)  Or will the customer need to send data from GP up to the web site? (current inventory quantities, order status updates, ship notifications, tracking numbers, etc.)

Looking at the extensions, it looks like they offer CSV export and CSV import extensions.

https://woocommerce.com/products/ordercustomer-csv-export/

https://woocommerce.com/product-category/woocommerce-extensions/operations/import-export-extensions/


2. Does the customer already own either Integration Manager, eOne SmartConnect, or Scribe?  

Steve
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
The ideal would be both ways but the most required is from website to GP. I have seen there csv import/export and I am actually using it to create products on mass instead of one by one. Have not looked at the order or customer export yet. And yes they own Integration Manager. I used to install it when setting up a new PC but stopped doing so when they stopped using it to integrate with yahoo Store (Yahoo Store changes made the "syncing" process full of errors).Thanks for your time Steve.
Steve EndowMicrosoft MVPCommented:
Okay, thanks.

That is great news that the customer already owns Integration Manager and doesn't have to purchase a tool.  In that case, I think you have everything you need to get started.

For web site to GP:  Setup the CSV export for the customer and order data and save it to the preferred destination.  If the customer wants the data downloaded automatically, I suspect the simpler option is FTP / SFTP.  If you go that route and send the files to an SFTP server, you can use my free SFTP tool to download the files.  Integration Manager can then be manually run to import the customer and order data into GP.

If you want to try something fancy (but bleeding edge), you could look into using Microsoft Flow with an HTTP POST service to accept the data and save it to a SQL staging table with the On Premises Data Gateway.  Integration Manager could then read the data from the SQL staging table and import it.  This approach avoids having to shuffle CSV files--but I don't know if Flow is up to the task yet.  

For GP to the web site: You could use my SFTP tool to extract data from GP and save the CSV files locally, or push the CSV files to an SFTP site, but I don't know if the woocommerce CSV import tools can consume the files from SFTP.


Let me know if that helps, and if you start to work on a specific integration, let me know if you have questions.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Hi Steve -- thanks for all the help -- have not tested anything yet but this does point me in a direction once I get some more time I will do some actual import/exports and if I have any further questions them about gettign it into GP I will try to contact you again. Thanks for all your help and time.
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