Over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about connecting your ERP and CRM to Magento. I saw the future of Magento and most major CMS solutions being the integration hub of a company’s information and I believe I was correct in this anticipation. We have received countless integration requests because more and more companies are realizing how important it is to unify data among platforms. Manually entering data from one platform to another is nearly impossible as your company grows and the amount of complex data to keep track of increases. An ERP platform is often times one of the most crucial elements that must be integrated into an eCommerce website such as the Magento platform because it keeps track of a business’s inventory and must seamlessly keep track of inventory changes from both online and offline sales.

One thing I have learned since writing that article is that integrations are hard, very hard. You are working with things that are simply out of your control and there are many variables that can cause the project to be more complicated than originally anticipated. An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system or any third party system you want to integrate into something like Magento is not going to give you full access to their code base, therefore, you are working with the level of access you are granted and what the API’s offer, which sometimes limits what you can do with the data and how you can manipulate such data to your liking. This can be very challenging, especially when the data is required to be displayed on the front end of the website and manipulated in some way with a UI / UX purpose, such as advanced navigation or filtering on an eCommerce category page sidebar.

1) Understand Your Magento Needs

With that being said, there are many things that need to be considered when integrating you ERP into Magento. First is to understand the order work-flow and product data setup in Magento. Magento has a very specific order management process in addition to how products are setup and managed. Product data is controlled by attributes, which can also control product variations and other important information that is relevant to information that must be passed to an ERP system about an order. Therefore, the first step towards successfully integrating your ERP with Magento would be to understand how your product data is or will be organized in Magento. This includes what product types, attribute sets, attributes and anything else about your Magento product data you will need sent into your ERP platform.

Additionally, you should get a feel for how you want to organize your order work-flow. Orders can be customized in Magento and you can create custom statuses / states. If this is something you will need than that will likely make your integration more complex. The other thing to consider is what other systems will need to be integrated into Magento and whether they affect your ERP / Magento integration. Often times you may need a PIMM and POS integration and those two platforms could affect your ERP integration. There are many variables to think about for an integration so covering all the bases is the best option.

Things to consider:

  • Magento version, community versus enterprise etc
  • Product Types (grouped, bundled, simple, configurable etc)
  • Attributes & Attribute Sets
  • Orders, Credit memos, shipping
  • Magento Caching system
  • API capabilities of Magento and your ERP

2) Understand Your ERP

Every ERP system works differently, therefore the more you know about the ERP system you have, as well as how Magento works. The more you know about how Magento and your ERP store and manipulate data, the easier it will be to help manage the integration between your ERP and Magento. If you don’t understand your ERP system and what it is capable of doing, then the integration could be a nightmare and you will have to rely way too heavily on a third party to do the integration for you. This third party  may not know how you actually want to use Magento or your ERP system for your specific business needs and use case. ERP platforms often have a lot of features and can also be modified or customized to your business needs, therefore figuring out how you want to use your ERP now, and in the future, will help you determine how your integration with Magento should work.

3) What Data Should Pass Between Your ERP And Magento

ERP Magento Integration Graphic

Do you need a two way integration in which your ERP data passes to Magento and Magento passes data back to your ERP or do you just need it go one direction? Does the data have to go back and forth every twenty minutes, or can it pass through once a day? What type of data do you need passing back and forth? Do you need the sku, price, and customer information for an order or do you need more in depth data captured in Magento? There are many questions you need to ask when thinking about the integration. You may find that you will have to make some compromises when you take into consideration your budget and what is actually possible when it comes to the data passing back and forth.

Some of the data you might want passing back and forth between your ERP and magento:

  • Order Data
  • Shipments
  • Customers
  • Inventory
  • Product Data
  • Customer Groups
  • Invoice Data
  • Credit Memos
  • Transactions
  • Tax Rules

ERP Market Leaders

One of the things that makes ERP integration into Magento so complex is that the ERP market is very fragmented and as a Magento solution provider it is difficult to have experience integrating every ERP into Magento. However, when you research the most popular ERP platforms you will notice that there are many prebuilt connectors for Magento that have been created by many different third party integration companies.  Many of these prebuilt integrations are listed on Magento Connect, but some of them can only be used if you contact the company directly. Some ERP platforms have strong connections to Magento such as Bright Pearl and Dydacomp who have their own integrations on Magento Connect.

ERP Market Share 20131) SAP

SAP is the clear leader in the ERP marketplace holding 24% marketshare in 2013. As an enterprise ERP solution it has a lot to offer, especially with larger companies that demand an array of complex needs such as multi location, international operations, analytics, and more. As a major company that is constantly improving their software, as well as has the ability to offer a more complete business suite of products that can connect to their standalone ERP solution.

In regards to integrating SAP into Magento there are several things you want to do first. The first thing is to see if someone has built an extension that does the work for you. In the case of Magento, six extensions come up on Magento connect when you search SAP. Unfortunately most of them do not have a lot of positive reviews and none of them are listed as compatible with Magento 1.9 and 1.9.1 the newest versions, with the exception of eBridges.

One thing to notice is that not all of them do the same thing. Each one has different features, and may not serve any of the needs that you have as far as an integration with SAP and Magento. This is why it is so crucial to understand what you need integrated, because you may realize that you actually need more data passing back and forth between Magento and SAP than you actually anticipated. The other thing to notice is that only one is free and the others range from $3000 to $7,000 just for the extensions. The less expensive extensions may not offer the full range of integration capabilities that you are looking for so make sure to investigate what functionality you are getting from the extensions.

Additionally it is unlikely that simply installing one of those extensions will do exactly what you need from an SAP to Magento integration because every business is different and has different ERP / Magento needs. Therefore a one size fits all integration extension is usually too good to be true for two platforms (ERP and Magento) that are highly customizable and have specific use cases and needs per business.  Expect to spend more money on customizing one of those extensions or paying a developer to do an entirely custom integration which could be far more than the cost of those extensions. SAP does have a partner and integration community website that can help you find more information about completing an integration.

Integration Magento Companies:

Extension on Magento Connect: Yes, 6 results

Magento Partner: no

2) Oracle / JD Edwards

Oracle is close behind SAP in the ERP marketplace with a 12% marketshare in 2013, who will argue they are even closer by different ERP metrics. They, similar to SAP have advantages in offering a complete Suite of products to compliment their standalone ERP solution as well as the backing of a major company with a lot of revenue. They have a strong presence in the manufacturing industry so they could make a good fit for a B2B Magento ERP integration.

PunchOut2Go is the only company that has an extension on Magento connect that looks like it has anything to do with Oracle’s ERP platform. However it is not an ERP integration and looks to be more geared towards populating Magento with your Oracle ERP catalog information. Ultimately this means you will most likely need a custom integration with Oracle’s ERP platform and there is no extension that can be used as a shortcut to integrate with Magento.

Extension on Magento Connect: No

Magento Partner: no

3) Sage

Sage is an interesting ERP platform in that they have invested heavily into connecting and working in tandem with Magento as opposed to some of the other major ERP providers. You will find them at Magento related events, where you would be unlikely to find the other major ERP providers like SAP, Oracle, and Infor. Both Oracle and SAP have competing eCommerce platforms with Magento so that might explain their lack of interest in working closely with Magento and their ERP platforms.

There are 41 results on Magento Connect when you search Sage, far more than the other major ERP providers, although not all of these have to do with Sage ERP. Sage has a lot of products including Sage Pay their payment gateway. When it comes to integrating their ERP into Magento it is definitely worth looking into some of these extensions because these could drastically save time and money paying an agency or developer like Trellis to build a custom integration. However, as I started earlier an extension or one size fits all solution does not always work for your specific situation so make sure to do you research into what the extension can and cannot do as far as integrating Sage ERP into Magento.

Integration Magento Companies:

Extension on Magento Connect: Yes, 41 results

Magento Partner: no

4) Infor

Infor, like the other major ERP providers has a suite of products that can compliment their ERP solution, including a cloud suite designed for different industry types such as automotive, chemicals, and distribution. They have a strong combination of EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) solutions as well, and are considered a major player in the enterprise software industry. There are no results for Infor or Infor ERP when you search on Magento Connect. It does not look like they have made a strong push to make connecting their ERP platform to Magento easier than building a custom integration compared to other major ERP providers like Sage. With Infor you would like need an agency or quality developer to complete an Infor ERP to Magento integration.

Extension on Magento Connect: No

Magento Partner: no

Integration Magento Companies:

Leanswift is a Magento technology partner that specializes in Magento Infor integrations. They are most likely the best option for integrating your Infor ERP into Magento, however there are other.

5) Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft, arguably the most used software company by businesses around the world also has a robust suite of products built around ERP needs called Microsoft Dynamics.  They market themselves as a solution that can solve the needs of small, medium, and even large size enterprises. With a popular CRM platform that can work hand in hand with their ERP solution, Microsoft Dynamics is a popular product for many types of companies.

In relation to Magento, Microsoft just formalized a partnership with Magento in terms of their cloud hosting solutions for Magento. I believe its possible Microsoft may see the opportunity to work closely with Magento from a hosting but also CRM and ERP integration perspective as well. When you search Microsoft Dynamics on Magento Connect you will find 14 extensions. Some of these are fairly expensive with some ranging as high as $15,000. This reinforces the notion I explained before that integration’s can be difficult and expensive, considering that just the extension could be that expensive, not the installation and getting it actually working with your Magento and Microsoft Dynamics platform. I would certainly check these extensions out to see if they serve your needs, but it is very possible you may need some custom development to get the integration to work the way you want.

Integration Magento Companies:

Extension on Magento Connect: Yes, 14 results

Magento Partner: Yes

6) Kronos

Kronos has a complete set of human resource and workforce management applications including Kronos HRMS, payroll, time and attendance, absence management, scheduling and more. They have a large user base and their system is in place at more than half of Fortune 1000 organizations. Kronos is consistently improving and enhancing its products. They also offer a cloud solution to stay competitive in todays increasingly cloud based world. When you search Kronos there are no extensions on the Magento Connect marketplace, therefore you will most likely have to pay an agency or developer, just like the other ERP solutions that do not have integrations on Magento connect.

Extension on Magento Connect: No

Magento Partner: no

7) Concur

Concur has been acquired by SAP and focuses on travel & expense software. Although its purpose may not fall inline with a companies need to integrate with Magento like the other ERP solutions on the market it may be integrated into Magento in tandem with an SAP integration.

Extension on Magento Connect: No

Magento Partner: no

8) IBM

IBM works with Oracles JD Edwards, Peoplesoft, SAP, and more to deliver a complete suite of business ERP solutions. As another major tech company, IBM is not going anywhere and will be around to provide an ERP solution for time to come. They do not have any listed Magento connect ERP integrations. Integrating IBM ERP into Magento will most likely require a custom integration from a Magento solution or integration provider.

Magento Partner: no

9) Totvs

Totvs is a Brazilian software company that specializes in Agribusiness ERP but also has solutions for many other sectors such as construction and projects, distribution and logistics, and more.  They have no Magento connect integration extensions and it does not look like any Magento ERP partners list them as an ERP they integrate with. This is most likely a rare ERP that is utilized in tandem with Magento because of the industries they focus on. This will most likely require a custom integration given the lack of prebuilt integrations available for Totvs.

Extension on Magento Connect: No

Magento Partner: no

10) Yonyou

Yonyou is a chinese based ERP platform. Magento does have a strong global reach, but most of their stores are in Europe, North America, and South America, so there does not seem to be a strong connection between Yonyou and Magento.

Extension on Magento Connect: No

Magento Partner: no

11) NetSuite

Netsuite is a very popular ERP platform in the United States and is considered a great solution for small, mid, and even large enterprise retailers or wholesalers and distributors. There are several Magento extensions that involve Netsuite and there seem to be a fair amount of companies that connect Netsuite to Magento. I would consider Netsuite in the same class as Sage and Microsoft Dynamics as one of the best enterprise ERP suits that has a large collection of integrators and prebuilt integrations for Magento. This makes finding a connection to Magento more affordable and reliable given the abundance of options relative to other solutions.

Extension on Magento Connect: Yes, 6 results

Integration Magento Companies:

12) Epicor

Epicor ERP is a fully integrated ERP solution with extensive functionality for accounting, inventory control, pre-production materials planning, and manufacturing execution (MES). The system is delivered either on premise, hosted, or as a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) offering.  The application is architected using a true Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and is modular based, meaning that buyers can purchase only the modules they need without being forced to buy other modules that are part of the system. Epicor has gained strong market share due to this SOA architecture and the system’s overall functional breadth. Epicor announced a partnership with Magento but it doesn’t look like much has come of it. I was unable to find Epicor on the Magento partner list.  Epicor only has one extension on Magento connect and seems to have less prebuilt connectors than some of the other popular ERPs, like Sage, Microsoft Dynamics and Netsuite. It is likely you will need a custom solution to get the integration you want.

Integration Magento Companies:

Extension on Magento Connect: Yes, 1

Magento Partner: no

13) Dydacomp

Dydacomp is a Magento gold partner and has committed to seamlessly integrating with Magento as much as possible. They have two solutions, Multi Channel eCommerce Inventory & Order Management Software (MOM) and Freestyle. Freestyle is their new cloud based seamless integration with Magento.

Integration Magento Companies:

Extension on Magento Connect: Yes, 2

Magento Partner: Yes

14) Bright Pearl

Bright Pearl is a relatively new cloud based order management system. They seem to be geared towards the small to mid market and got their roots in the UK and now have an office in San Francisco. They are a silver Magento partner and have built their own connection to Magento so you can count on them to keep it up and running and the connection supported at all times rather than the third party connections you may find with other ERP integration solutions.

Extension on Magento Connect: Yes, 2

Magento Partner: Yes

15) Intuit / Quickbooks

Intuit provides the leading accounting software in the world, Quickbooks that has a massive market share in the accounting industry. Intuit also has its own suite of products that go beyond the traditional accounting space that make Intuit / Quickbooks being capable of being a full ERP solution for many businesses. There are 28 extensions on Magento Connect when you search quickbooks and even more when you search Intuit. It looks like there are a lot of options for connecting Intuit and Quickbooks into Magento and it would be wise to explore all options before making a decision.

Integration Magento Companies:

I did not list all quickbooks / intuit integrators because there are so many, but please feel free to comment and mention any other ones you feel are worth of being mentioned.

Extension on Magento Connect: Yes, 28

Magento Partner: No

16) Odoo

Odoo is an interesting ERP / CRM solution in that it is open source and also has a free version for the first two users. Although there is nothing that comes up on Magento Connect when you search Odoo, there does seem to be a connector to Magento provided by their open source community. As confirmed in the comments the connector seems to work, so there is a good chance you can connect Odoo to Magento at a much lower cost than many of the ERP platforms who do not have an existing connection.

Extension on Magento Connect: No

Magento Partner: No

Others:

  • Accountmate
  • Batchmaster
  • Blaschko Computers
  • CGS (Blue Cherry)
  • Everest
  • General Connections
  • M1 – 72
  • Open Systems
  • Openbravo

Conclusion:

Ultimately there are two routes you can go when connecting your ERP to Magento. One is to go with a prebuilt connector such as what Logic Broker, Modern Retail, or eBridge Connections has to offer. The other is to build your own custom connection. A custom connection will likely be more expensive, but there are always exceptions to the rule. I would explore the prebuilt connections and their costs to identify whether they fit your needs or not. If they do not, than you most likely have to get quotes from developers for a custom connection, which is a much more costly and time consuming process because to quote something of that complexity accurately could require enough time to justify a cost in itself.

Please leave a review if you feel there are any other ERP solutions worth mentioning or you know of any extensions / solutions to integrate one of these ERP solutions that were not mentioned. 

I welcome any other advice or solutions out there as the ERP market is huge and it was very difficult to cover it because there are so many options out there.

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