Versa Cloud ERP Expert: Integration

Webinar Replay

Presented by Kathy Phelan
“Do you integrate with X?” This is a common question we get from our customers. Our response will always be “what do you mean by integrate?”. This session will focus on how to think about integration and how to describe what you really need when you ask the “do you integrate?” question.

Integration Webinar Transcript

Hi everybody.

This is Sunil from Versa. And as usual, I have my colleagues, Richard and Kathy on the call as well. Welcome. We are going to be talking today about integration. It comes up a lot in our discussions with new prospects, as well as customers who will come to us and ask us about integration and and then we sort of go down this path of discovery where we find out what it actually means. So it's not a simple question. When it's not an easy answer when someone asks, Do you have an integration with? So today we will try to answer that. What does it mean? What are the things that need to be spelled out before that question can be fully answered. So thank you for joining us. Following this, two weeks from now, we're going to talk about Versa's API, which is one of the capabilities used in the integration. And from there, we have a whole host of other topics. We're trying to figure out what to do next. But we will let you know.


So again, the format is the same we will sort of talk about integration we learned A few questions, and then talk about a few support requests, talk about some new things we've done, or releases, etc. I see that most of you who are attending today have attended previous webinars. So this format should be fairly familiar.


Again, you know, we're not trying to make you experts on integration, just trying to share some high level knowledge about how to think about it, and you're considering it how to prepare for it and to understand the scope of the work that might need to be done when you proceed on that journey.


So like I said in the beginning, the question, you know, we get asked this question all the time do you integrate with and the simple Answer is usually Yes. But what do you need? What do you need mean by integration. So we'll address that in the next few slides.


And we'll do it using an example. The example we've chosen is medium in terms of complexity. But it will give you an appreciation for the kinds of integrations that can be done, as well as how to do it, etc. It's a good example. your particular integrations that you're considering, may not be so complicated. There are most of our customers are not. There are a few who are more complicated, but in this case, we are taking an apparel business that sells using Shopify shopping cart. They also have stores. So they use the Shopify POS. They also use a 3PL. And the name of the 3PL here is Softeon. They use EDI, in some instances. They have a b2b portal, for new order which is specific to the apparel business. They have a product lifecycle management system where they keep all the details of their products, their images, their designs, etc, or backbone. And then there's Versa in the middle of it all sort of trying to integrate everything together and make sure everything flows and you know, whatever can be automated in the process is automated.


So, I'm going to now take you through The next slide, which is a bit of an eye chart, and this is a view of the integration. So if someone were to come to us and say, Do you and and when we engage with them in the beginning, they came to us and said, do you integrate with Shopify? And oh, by the way, we have a 3PL. And we said, well, who's the 3PL they said Softean and we said, we don't have to build a custom integration, what should the integration do? And, you know, they hadn't thought about it very much. And then over time, as we engaged with them, and as they sort of figured out what the integration would do, it became obvious that their b2b portal needed to be integrated the integration with their supplier or we forgot we have EDI with our suppliers and then where should all the product data be kept, not in Versa for them was the backbone VLF. So this is the kind of integration that is possible. And if you were to go to anybody or we were to engage with anybody, we want to come down to this level of detail, which is really centered around what workflow Do you want to enable, you know, on. And the way to think about workflows is to think about them individually first, before you put them together.


Right? So if you sort of back away from that complicated picture and look at the workflow for the order to cash cycle, what you see is the orders come in from New Order into versa and they come in from Shopify. They come into new order from the wholesale customer because this is the B2B portal, and they also come in from Shopify, the retail customers come in through the Shopify point of sale, etc. Once all of that happens, that information those orders need to go to the 3PL because they don't fulfill them other than in the store. So there's an integration required with the 3PL and the software and to be identify the warehouse management software that is used whether 3PL like to be identified. And, and, you know, we had to build an integration with that.

But it wasn't all of the orders that went to the 3PL from versa. The b2b orders for some special reason how to actually go from new order to the 3Pl. So first I had to know about it once it was shipped. So it could keep track of where all the inventory was. So this is complicated enough. So if a customer came to us, it would be great if they had talked about this in this level of detail. And that's why this webinar is a little bit sort of selfish in our part, because we want to make sure our customers understand and prepare before we get into a discussion of integrations, because it's very important that the integration is not seen in, you know, by itself in isolation, but as part of enabling certain workflow, these are external workflows. There are internal workflows as well, which we are not talking about here because they don't really have much to do with integration, which needs to be figured out. What does that mean? What that means is when a Shopify order comes into versa, what should be happening in Versa what is the first thing, Second thing, third thing for them. And eventually as it shipped out, all of those steps are again part of your internal workflow in versa. And those also need to be figured out in conjunction with your external workflow.


So that is the order to cash cycle for example, for this customer, if you look at the purchase to pay cycle, it's pretty simple. You know, the purchase order goes out to the supplier, the supplier sends the goods to the 3PL, the 3PL tells versa, that they got the goods and then it's matched up against the bill that comes to versa and the bill payment occurs. So that's not complicated. But again, what does it mean when a customer says says can you integrate with a 3PL This is what it means it means can you in the purchase to pay cycle get the goods receipt in the order to cash cycle and you send them the orders that have been shipped to be shipped.


And then other than these two sort of main workflows and integrations associated, you have other things going on in the background, right? You need the product data actually coming into versa and then being pumped to new order and to Shopify, because the customer only wants to manage their product data in the backbone PLM. So all changes are made in the PLM which is quote unquote, the master and the slaves are Shopify New Order and Versa At the same time, the master the sort of overall inventory numbers are being tracked in versa. So we're son needs to keep updating New Order and Shopify on inventory levels because they are showing current availability to the customer. And you know, they need to know what they are. So that issort of the other thing that is going on.

At the same time, the 3PL needs to no matter what worse the things the inventory is, at some point, the 3PL is going to say, Well, this is what I have. So those adjustments need to be brought into Versa as well as the forecast because this business is very driven by seasons and trends and all of that the customer needs A way to include the forecasts in the PO planner so that the planner can then drive what should be ordered from the supplier. So they do it in Versa using, they do the forecast outside, but then that extra amount of stuff they need to add. They upload into Versa using sales, forecast sales order. So this is all still got to do with integration. Integration does not stand out there on its own. It's really a small part of a much larger question, which is, what are you trying to do in what order and then what are all the different pieces that need to work together


and so you end up with this, you know, composite picture that we saw in the beginning, but suddenly a lot easier to Look at it in isolation. Now, many of our customers have integrations, whether it's to a device scanner, or to email or to payroll or to shipping. But, you know, most of them are not at least 50% of them are not so complicated.


So a simple integration with Shopify would look something like this. You get the orders from Shopify, you ship them from your own stock, let Shopify know. And then Shopify sends the tracking information on and on the back end on the order to cash cycle you just sort of take the peel and send it to your supplier sends you the goods and you know, you get the bill and you pay. And we're so we'll help you make sure you don't overpay that you only pay for stuff that you received. All of that matching goes on versa.


So, what are the sort of four, three or four pieces that you need to worry about in an integration? What are the systems? And do those systems? You know, what are the ways in which those systems can receive data from the outside and send data to the outside? Now, what are the workflows mean, which we just talked about? What is the data to exchange it could be master data, like customer data or supplier data, product data, it could be transaction related that sales order invoice or something like that. And then it can also be status data like this, how much inventory or here's the tracking number for what the shipment that just happened. So that's one set of things you need to sort of figure out when you're thinking of integration. And when you work, put the workflow down. You're going to be Forced to answer these questions. So, again, I keep coming back to work through, you know, then the question becomes also when should this data exchange occur? It could be done asynchronously, which is a fancy way of saying, as it's needed, on demand.

You know, when the data is created when new data is created somewhere, should it automatically be sent somewhere else to another system? Or when it's updated somewhere, should it be sent or something else happens and certain data has to be sent across or it's not just sent, it could also be pulled from a different system. So that's on demand as it's needed, synchronously is, you know, on a scheduled basis, so is it two times a day, three times a day, four times a day? How is that going to work? Some of The interfaces, some of the data exchanges, some of the integrations may be asynchronous, some may be synchronous, all of that has to be figured out. So when someone says, Yeah, we integrate with that. It's really, you know, it's like, they might as well not say anything, because it really doesn't mean anything. Everybody, every company's workflow is different. And you need to get down to this level. And usually what you're going to find is that standard integrations will work 50% of the time, and 50% of the time, there's some difference in the way your business works that requires it to be customized, and since Versa does most of its own integrations. Those customizations can be done by us, if you will, using third party connectors, then you're apt to approach the third party Or if the other system you needed to be integrated with was doing the integration, then you'd have to do that. Then as part of the integration, there is always a question of initial data. Once the integration is put in place, there has to be an initial exchange of data to get everybody on the same date. What is that? What data has to be pulled a push to the other system, who's going to do the pull pushing? Who's going to be the master slave? And then finally, once all of that is sorted out, then you can talk about the technologies that you sort of use, are you going to go API to API or even to use EDI upload, manual upload or whatever. So when when you go to a website and somebody and you know products say they're integrated with me It means they have some workflows implemented with x may not be your workflows or you know, maybe different maybe close to what you need but not quite or it could be possibly everything in Alright,


I started talking about this, there's so many different earlier and previous webinars also there are many ways to sort of do these integrations, many technologies etc. So, all of that needs to be sorted out with versa. The advantage is is we like to build these connectors these integrations into versa. So, you know, we have control it when something breaks, you can come just to us and run around. We can also build capability that is much more advanced than most of us. Third Party connector people do they try to cater to a common sort of, you know, level, we tend to based on our customers needs tend to get into all the edge cases at all, as well.


We talked about this already. So the whole picture is the systems for workflows and the integration technologies.


I keep talking about workflow. So here are some examples of workflows taking orders. How do you take orders, you know, you might say, well, we get it from Shopify and you order that's an integration, picking and packing. Maybe you integrate with some kind of scanner, or some other picking app. That's an integration, shipping and delivery. Customers will integrate with package delivery, like USPS and all those are LTL. They may use delivery apps that show them the routes and you know, and scheduled deliveries and or installation. Those are things you would need to integrate with invoicing may require integration and taking payments for require integration with your, you know, ACH and, and credit card capabilities are PayPal. Similarly, placing orders receiving stocking, you know, so there's all kinds of different workflows that require may or may not require integration. And so, as you look at your business and you look for opportunities Efficiency on these, you know, we have experience with all of these sorts of things. Payroll is kind of interesting, because you have two sort of main categories of Payroll. One is just, you know, high level you figure out what payments were made, what taxes were paid, you get that from your payroll provider, and it enters versa and is recorded, but there are some companies who really need very, very granular details on payroll of all the different projects their employees worked on how much time they spent, and then they want those costs or products, and they want those costs allocated appropriately. And there are very different kinds of payroll providers who provide that level of detail based on the detail that goes into them through some project management product or time tracking product.


So those kind of integrations are also done with Versa, so yeah, we've talked about all of these. So we've come to the end and I'm going to see if we have any questions. You have any questions, please type them into chat.

And okay, so we do have questions. What is the pricing on these different integrations? Are they standard, some of the integrations in Versa are included in the subscription and there is no cost for some of the standard integrations that are already been done and there's no cost For using that integration, there is no cost for implementing that integration and there is no cost for supporting that integration. There are other integrations in versa, which are very complicated, where it requires us to actually assist you in putting the integration in. So while there is no cost for the subscription of that, for using that capability, there is a cost to help us set up the integration. And then there is a cost to support that integration. Because when things don't work, then we have to go in and troubleshoot it and determine whether it's Versa or it's the other side, and then you know, that effort can be quite substantial. And then, if it's the other side, we have to figure out either, you know, you have to go to the other side and work with them to resolve it or we have to figure out a workaround. So it can get quite expensive. And so for certain integrations, based on experience now, many years, we do charge a support fee that's not included in the standard support. And then custom integrations we do all the time, which basically could mean either changing a standard integration or building a whole new custom integration. And for that, we will provide your quote, and if, and there's usually a annual support fee for those custom integrations, too, because we have to keep up with any changes on the other side that I made, etc. So it's not like we do it once and forget it. So those are all very specific to what it is there's no sort of general answer. But yes. You know, that's how we charge that three components to integration. There's use of the capabilities which we typically don't charged a subscription, we sometimes charged for putting it in having you put it in and we sometimes charge additional for your normal subscription for supporting those integrations.

Anything else? No. Okay. All right. So we'll move to the next part. And I believe Kathy will take that. And we will talk about some of the support cases that we have. And then we'll follow that up with some of the new things we released. So Kathy, you there. I mean, okay. Can you talk about these two questions you picked out of support?

Oh, the first one is, can the GL be closed or locked for prior accounting periods to prevent transaction posting to those periods. So enter Yes, um, what will happen is when you do close those periods, transactions won't be able to be posted in an error message will come up or not an error message and a message will come up and say, you cannot post to a closed period. Oh, close a period. Once you know you've made all your transactions, go to setup area, and then go to that period. And then you'll see next to the period that says close, that doesn't mean it's already closed, it means you push that button, close it. So once you push that button, it'll close the period and then you can rest assured that no other transaction can be posted in that period.

So this is a interesting one you picked out Kathy, We get this question quite a bit and we probably need to be much more focused and tell our customers about this during the implementation because obviously, many people don't know this. And they're very surprised that this capability that has existed since almost the very beginning this right. All right.

So the next one is there is an unpaid option under the list invoices. Can I export the data on the screen to excel in the same format? Not at the same screen, but yes, under the Reports menu, and then you go to sales, there's an invoice aging report. That's essentially the same exact thing. You can display that email it or download it as a CSV and then do whatever you need to do with it. From there. That's not on that exact screen, but you can absolutely get that information in that format.

So this could be something we could consider though to add to the screen.


Okay. All right. Thanks, Kathy. So we'll move on to the next thing, which is some of the new stuff that we are doing. We keep focusing on performance. So, Richard, you want to just talk about why we did this? Some of them anyone? Sure, yeah.

So the first one you just see, you know, when you get with us for depending on when you have a dashboard, sometimes I take a while to show up. So we just sort of change how we load the widgets on the dashboard. So basically, the page will be you'll see the dashboard right away and then the widgets they just load as they become available, just just to make it faster for you to access the application. The second one, this is based on user feedback in our system when you post an invoice, that invoice is kind of locked. You cannot edit it in ways except for a few fields. So sales channels and invoice template fields used to be not editable. We have make it editable were for posting invoices. The second the third one is we rename. So the data type in our system used to be called communication events to notes just for simplicity, simplicity, is there for people to understand where it is the third one is you know, we have a lot of buttons on the order page for sales orders, purchase orders, we kind of reorganize the buttons to make them sort of group them in, by functions and then to just expose to more frequently use patterns to your right over here and hide the rest. So that's the changes.

Richard, on this note comes up sometimes where customers that says hey, what about having this notes feature extended to sort of collaborate between users in versa. So we have the notes, you know, attached to an order or whatever so that we can see that you can collaborate back and forth can be extended as a collaboration tool within versa. What are your thoughts on that?

Yeah, so right now the notes can only be attached to certain records like you know, the customer record or the invoice. It's sort of when we first created this, the purpose was, you know, you just want to record something for this data type for someone else to see, later on, you know, people look at it, it's just that maybe, you know, this can become kind of some kind of collaboration between multiple users in the system by somebody working on this invoice. They may have questions, you know, they can post it as a no, the next person can answer the questions and post the answers in, in the note area. So to make this more interactive, rather than the static notes, make it more so collaborative. Yeah, I think that's definitely the sort of a good idea and then we We'll do something about that. And then also we can also extend notes to other areas like you know, what if you want to know our sales order purchase orders, so I think pretty much most of the major data types that we should allow people to know of for whatever purpose you want to use it for.

And also the notes gives you the ability to assign an action on that data pipe. So if I'm working on an invoice say and I do a note I can also say Richard, please You know, do XYZ on this.

Yeah, sometimes you know, you may want to even though I say okay, you know, do this by this day, you know, and then you want the other another person or if for yourself, you will do this by this date. You want to leave for note and then attach sort of schedule or due date to it. Then then you become a to do lists for for you or someone else or maybe for that

So that's a good idea too, Okay, great. Thanks for sharing, Richard. Looking forward to seeing that.

Alright guys, so we are done with today. Thank you for attending. We will be talking about the API next time around and additional topics to be announced. We have actually quite a long list, trying to figure out who's available to do it and when we should schedule it so we will talk to you again and thank you again for attending. And be safe. Take care

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