Solving Multi-Party Data Integration with Dynamics for Retailers

Omkar H.N.'s picture

Retailers typically use a variety of applications from different vendors for processes such as POS, Warehouse Management, Partner Balancing etc., in an effort to deliver maximum value and create a differentiated experience for customers. Integration of these various applications with the underlying Microsoft Dynamics platform is crucial to facilitate seamless flow of data. While integration with Microsoft products is much simpler, connecting to third party applications can be slightly tricky.
However, this integration is extremely crucial for retailers, both from a business efficiency point of view, as well as to ensure a single view of customer data. The traditional approach of point to point integration between Dynamics and the third-party applications is not efficient for several reasons. One, this method isn’t scalable. It needs to be redone completely as business needs evolve. Secondly, it requires considerably greater effort, making it costlier, and difficult to maintain. Thirdly, it creates several dependencies since applications are coupled more tightly.
One of the best ways to facilitate this change is through a platformation approach. As opposed to traditional ‘pipe-based’ approach where data flows from production to the consumer in a linear manner; a platform-based business is a non-linear business. This works well for the scenario such as retail, where are multiple technology partners. One purpose of the platform is to create value for every participant. Business then can scale up infinitely in theory.
We took a similar approach recently for one of our customers, a leading chain of convenience stores in Finland. The brief was to implement a solution to seamlessly integrate data from multiple third-party applications with the Microsoft Dynamics AX backend. Integration of the huge volume of transaction data from these applications with the Microsoft Dynamics AX backend was a challenge. Besides, the customer was keen to automate this process.
Our approach was to:

  • Develop integration points for real-time integration as well as batch integration, based on a schedule.
  • The integration covers both Inbound (data flow to Microsoft Dynamics AX ) and Outbound (data flow to the third party legacy application) data

The client has seen several benefits from the integration using a platform approach. Some immediate benefits include:

  • 100% data accuracy
  • No data contingency with legacy applications
  • Secure transactions
  • Faster updation of data from across applications and legal entities into backend application (AX)
  • Manual intervention reduced by 80% due to automated operations
  • Short settlement times across legal entities for intercompany transactions

If you’d like to know how Sonata can help you make the most of your Microsoft Dynamics implementation, take a look our website: http://www.sonata-software.com/article/dynamics-ax-retail-solutions or write in to us at info@sonata-software.com.