Q3 developed a solution for a client that sells storage media via different channels such as distributors, retail ecommerce and OEMs.
Q3's global sourcing model gives the maximum benefit to customers in terms of cost savings, improved quality, access to highly talented professionals, flexibility of operations and reduced time to market.
Client had introduced several new models in the market and they sell storage media via different channels such as distributors, retail ecommerce and OEMs. They sell directly to large retailers as well.
Client sells products via distributors, OEMs and retail eCommerce operations. All three channels had their own front end systems. These channels were not interconnected requiring manual re-keying of orders and inaccurate inventory levels.
The sales mix coming from various channels changed suddenly with the new product offerings. There was a growing divide between front office and back office as orders increased significantly from the online and tele-sales channel.
The old systems couldn’t handle all of these demands, which resulted in a patchwork of custom systems and manual processes. The increased work and time delays decreased overall company performance.
Q3 technologies analyzed the technical systems and business processes of the client. The process assessment identified the need for an integrated system that cut across different departments and effectively supported business processes. The management team at the client was wary of both the cost and time frame required for a completely integrated system.
Q3 technologies implemented the solution in two Phases to keep the project on a manageable time and cost schedule.
Phase I: Microsoft Dynamic’s Great Plains Implementation and integrated with the web based system. Upgrade of Commerce System to a Commerce Server based platform.
Phase II: Upgrade to Microsoft Dynamic’s Great Plains with real-time integration via eConnect.
While both Phase I and Phase II were implemented under the estimated budget.
Phase II real-time eCommerce Integration: COM based integration was chosen for integration MS Commerce Server based eCommerce web site. Since Commerce Server is built using COM technology, COM based integration was preferred. Incoming integration was done for orders, customers and return requests.
The integration touch points included were at various levels including
I. Sales Order Processing
II. Shared Master
III. Receivables Management
A two-way integration was required with both incoming data as well as outgoing data into the Microsoft Dynamic’s Great Plains system. Slightly different approaches were used for outgoing integration as explained below.
Incoming integration: Incoming integrations were handled by creating an XML object of the order and passing it to .NET Assembly or COM object for phone order system and eCommerce system respectively. eConnect objects performed the entire operation of data validation as well as transactions into Microsoft Dynamic’s Great Plains Sales Order and Account Receivable Series. For data cleansing pre Procedures were used before the order data was fed into Microsoft Dynamic’s Great Plains. Inherent support for pre-import procedures and SQL language support was crucial for certain data translation activities.
Outgoing integration: An XML request was passed to the COM object or .NET assembly via a HTTPS post to a URL. The ASP page at the URL in turn invoked the COM object or .NET Assembly based on the request type. The reply was provided as a XML document passed via HTTP protocol. These posts were made by the custom systems and received XML was formatted and fed into the on screen fields.
Tools/ Platforms and Services
Retail companies know the value and the cost of product distribution. The result of implementing the MS Dynamic’s Great Plains solution streamlined the entire order fulfillment and customer support process.