Find eCommerce Success with an IBM i and Magento Integration

Bill Onion
October 29, 2020 | 10:30 AM

ibmi-magento-integrationHow your IBM i can lead your company to a thriving eCommerce site. 

We know there are a million things going through your mind right now, with the success of your company being chief among them. We're all making sacrifices right now to keep teams afloat, so a major project is probably at the bottom of your list of priorities. But to successfully navigate economic uncertainty, companies need to be flexible and ready to adjust. If your organization is stable, why not look ahead and prepare for the future? 

According to a Harvard Business Review Article, How to Survive a Recession and Thrive Afterward, there are three reasons to prioritize digital transformation during a downturn: improved analytics to help better understand business performance, helping to cut costs, and improved company agility.  

"Companies should prioritize 'self-funding' transformation projects that pay off quickly, such as automating tasks or adopting data-driven decision making," states the HBR article. That's why we think this is the perfect time to move forward with integrating your IBM i with an eCommerce platform like Magento 

Recognize the Power of your System 

First, let's talk about your IBM i. If you're anything like some of our past clients, you view the system as old and creaky, something to replace rather than embrace. But IBM i is a great platform for commerce 

  • Easily handles complex business logic 
  • Capable of storing large amounts of data 
  • Boasts an uptime of over 99.9% 
  • Faster transaction processing than any other system  

Does that sound like an outdated system to you? IBM i is powerful, reliable, and has served your company well for years. You don't need to replace or ignore it. You need to figure out how to tap into it. That's where an integration with an eCommerce platform like Magento comes in.  

Follow an Integration Strategy 

We hear you; an integration project is huge and probably not in the budget right now. But there is plenty of prep work you can do now, without investing in software or outside help, so that you can hit the ground running when things get back to normal.  

Ask the Right Questions/Define your eCommerce Strategy  

Some of the most important work of an eCommerce integration project requires only business expertise to complete. Start solidifying your eCommerce strategy by answering a few crucial questions.  

  • Who are you selling to? Are your current customer personas applicable to your eCommerce project? Or do you need to create a new set of personas exclusive to the online channel? Identifying who your eCommerce customers are, what they're looking for, and how they want to access it is important foundational information.  
  • How are you using eCommerce within your sales cycle? Why are you implementing eCommerce in the first place? And no, the answer isn't "because our competitor has it." A few common reasons include:  
    • Breaking into new channels and markets for more revenue opportunities 
    • Driving cost out of the organization through automating processes 
    • Improving the customer experience and customer service  

When answering these questions, don't forget to think beyond the current circumstances. An IBM i and Magento integration is a big project that shouldn't be a reaction to the current crisis. Instead, think of what you want your company to look like in a year, in five years. Those goals should inform your eCommerce strategy 

Collect Data from your ERP 

An eCommerce site requires a lot of data, most of which is probably stored in your IBM i already. Data organization can be one of the most tedious and time-consuming parts of an integration project, so it's never too soon to start. Data you'll need includes:  

  • Extended descriptions 
  • Product attribution 
  • Product imagery 

This is also a good time to consider which products will be sold online and which won't, which can lead to an item master cleanup. Go through your files and get rid of duplicate items, misnamed products, and out of date information.  

Start your Design Research 

Don't worry, we aren't asking you to design your new eCommerce site. But achieving the site you want takes more information than just your brand colors and an "add to cart" button. Get your team together and start brainstorming design ideas.  

Take a look at competitor sites and note what you like and dislike. Identify the look and feel you want your site to have. Do you have any unique features that need to be considered? For example, we've had a client who sells very specific and detailed amounts of cable, or a client whose customer didn't care about the brand or description of an item, just the item itself. Identify these features now, as they will affect site design in the future.  

I have a few questions… 

Struggling with defining your eCommerce strategy? Not sure how to find your product data? Not even sold on eCommerce in the first place? There are lots of moving parts to an IBM i and Magento integration. Download our comprehensive guide for more information on how to get started, what the project will look like, and how it will benefit your company. 

Download the IBM i and Magento Commerce  integration guide. 

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