Microsoft Dynamics NAV is a popular ERP system among midsize organizations. It’s known for being easy to install and learn its interface. It’s a vital system for most retailers as it controls your financials, supply chain, sales, business intelligence and more.
As retailers grow though. the need for integrating their NAV ERP becomes evident. Your ERP isn’t the only system needed to run your operations. Retailers must share the same data between their POS, eCommerce, marketplace, 3PLs, and other important systems.
Integrating Microsoft NAV with other retail systems is no small task. To get you started, we put together this beginner’s guide so you can learn all the basics when considering integration.
Telltale Signs That You Need NAV Integration
First, retailers must evaluate whether or not they’re ready for integration. Since integrating your ERP takes time and resources, you want to make sure the project is worth it before you dive in. There are many common signs that indicate that you need to integrate Dynamics NAV.
Here are our top three signs:
Too Much Time Spent On Manual Data Entry
Without integration, retailers rely on manually entering the same data into multiple systems. If you have teams or individuals solely dedicated to spending hours manually moving data, then you’re ready for automation. All these hours moving the data yourself could be better spent, like improving your customer experience.
Inaccurate Data Across All Systems
Relying on manual data entry is also more prone to human mistakes. All it takes is a typo in one system to offset your data. Bad data can lead to inconsistent product information across sales channels, inaccurate delivery addresses for online customers, and wrong inventory counts. You shouldn’t deal with these issues on a regular basis.
Disconnected systems cause your business processes to be inefficient. How quickly can you get new products up on your eCommerce store? How long does it take you to update inventory counts? When these processes are too slow, it negatively impacts your performance. You can’t keep up with your competitors.
Overall, these issues can lead to a poor customer experience. You won’t be able to process orders quick enough or give customers the accurate information they need to make a purchase.
If you’re still not convinced whether or not you need integration, check out these other telling signs.
Top Benefits of Integrating NAV
Integrating Microsoft Dynamics NAV allows you to automatically sync data between your ERP and other systems. You don’t have to touch any buttons. You get to define rules on how data is shared according to your operational needs.
Here are the top benefits of NAV integration:
Integration eliminates manual data entry. There’s no need to enter the same data over and over again to other systems. When you enter data into one system, data automatically syncs to your other systems as defined by your rules. Think of product information in NAV syncing to your webstore, online orders syncing to NAV, and shipping and tracking data syncing to your webstore. Automation saves you time since by eliminating the need for you to enter data yourself.
Another important benefit of integration is that it improves your data quality. Your data won’t be prone to human mistake like typos and incorrect spellings. Integration ensures that quality data makes it to all of your systems.
More Efficient Processes
Do you feel like most of your data lives in Excel spreadsheets? Integration takes care of that, too. It improves your operational efficiency so you have more timely data. This allows you to know things faster like when to move inventory from location to another, when to markdown products, and how to market in one region versus another. Integration leads to quicker decision making.
Being able to make critical business decisions at the right time relies on having visibility into your operations. Integration is often the key to that type of visibility. It gives you a central location to manage and view all your data.
Keep Up with Customer Demands
Today’s customers demand a lot from merchants. They want fast shipping times, low to none shipping costs, real-time product availability status, and so much more. Without integration, merchants struggle to provide this experience. Integration is your best solution to creating a better experience.
Now that you know you’re ready to integrate, let’s talk about how to do it.
Choosing an Integration Approach
Integrating your NAV ERP isn’t something you do in a just a day or two. It takes careful preparation and the right resources. When done hastily or without proper research, retailers can be left with costly projects that last months and don’t ever seem to function correctly. That’s why some sellers often fear integration.
However, these fears shouldn’t stop you from getting the most out of your retail systems. You just need to do some work upfront and pick the best integration solution for your business. This guide helps you do just that.
What to Consider before Integrating NAV
Before choosing an integration approach, here’s what you’ll want to consider:
- Budget – Keep in mind a realistic budget for your project.
- Type of Systems – Some retail systems are easier to integrate with Dynamics NAV than others. There are cases where you’ll need to update a system, like migrating your eCommerce platform, before you should integrate.
- Complexity of Operations – The number of systems you need integrated and the complexity of your operations will determine what type of integration you need. Processes that complicate NAV integration include splitting orders for fulfillment, handling return processes, and supply chain management.
- Flexibility – Fast growing companies will want to pick a solution that not only works for their environment today, but also for tomorrow. Your integration approach should evolve as your business does.
Keep these areas in mind as you evaluate different integration options.
NAV Integration Options
This guide is an introduction to different integration approaches, so we’ll spare you all the in-depth technical details that make IT guys drool. Nonetheless, you’ll get a good understanding of the differences in integration approaches.
There are two main integration approaches, either you do it yourself or use an integration platform.
Sellers with in-house IT teams of NAV will sometimes choose to build their integration themselves. This requires your team to have an in-depth knowledge of the technical background of NAV and any other systems you want to integrate.
Sellers must map out how they want data such as inventory, orders, customers, and product to flow through each system. Then, they must build a platform that supports these flows. This requires a team with extensive knowledge of your systems to be able to build a custom integration solution from scratch.
Reasons for building a custom integration including your business having extremely unique needs or the need for complete control and ownership of the project. You must be able to build, support, and maintain the integration. If you have the right requirements to justify it, then custom integration could be best for you.
However, most companies do not have those types of needs. Therefore, they turn to a partner, or third-party integrator provider.
Third-Party Integration Platform
If you don’t have the capabilities in-house, you’ll want to use a third-party provider that has a platform for integrating NAV with other retail systems. These platforms are often cloud-based and use pre-built connectors to sync data between NAV and your webstore, marketplaces, or POS systems.
Third-party integrator providers often work great for NAV users because they don’t need extensive technical knowledge of NAV. These integration providers manage the platform and integration for you. Sellers just work with the providers to define their business processes and needs. The providers than configure the integration specifically for you.
Cloud-based retail integration platforms are often more affordable with many utilizing a subscription-based model for use of their services. There’s also no burden of supporting or maintaining the integration yourself. More often than not, this is the integration approach that most sellers choose.
At the end of the day, it’s about considering your business needs and choosing the approach that’s best for you and ultimately your customers!
We know a thing or two about NAV integration over here at nChannel because we’ve done it before! If you want to learn more about NAV integration, check out nChannel’s cloud-based platform that integrates NAV to other systems like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Amazon, eBay, Lightspeed, and more. Click the link below to get more information about automating your processes.