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Complex businesses require custom systems integrations to get the most out of data—but why is that so hard? New podcast with data architect Keifer Hunniford and Miva CEO Rick Wilson.
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The data needs of any given business can vary wildly based on the complexity of products, orders, and processes. For simple “minimum viable product” business models, the goal might be to execute very basic order fulfillment on a small scale, requiring less moving parts among data systems. Conversely, a complex business which employs multiple platforms, sells complex product catalogs with inventory in various locations, and offers a host of fulfillment options, will require “middleware” to integrate all systems successfully into a whole.
This week, Keifer Hunniford, Miva’s Senior Director of Product Integrations, joined Rick Wilson for a special conversation exploring the inherent challenges in getting information systems to communicate with one another effectively.
“Ecommerce data is fairly straightforward,” Keifer says. “It maps a product, which might have attributes, and those attributes might have options. Then an order has order items, the order products are in categories, etc. The trouble is everybody can look at that data a little bit differently, with very different approaches about how to implement.”
Keifer’s work designing custom integrations between Miva and ERP software NetSuite is a case in point. It started by understanding the the big picture of why integrating with ERPs is hard.
“NetSuite is incredibly powerful,” Keifer says, “but there are areas where they've chosen methods which create complication. Platform integrations are hard because there are lots of little nuances in how people want their data to be stored. So we had to roll our sleeves up and become experts in connecting systems together, and become experts in NetSuite specifically. We had to put together something that we feel is worthy to give our customers, which solves their pain points. As long as you're obsessed with the data layer and how data is managed, everything else will fall into place.”
Custom data integrations are crucial for building a business which doesn’t break when you implement that data. Most merchants are trying to solve two problems at once, Keifer says.
“Get exactly what you want on one hand, and on the other hand, is it reliable? That has always been the balance of what people are looking for. That's really the data juggle.”
Listen to the full talk about the challenges of data integrations in Dragonproof Podcast episode 66, “The Data Juggle” here.
Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.