A renowned camera manufacturer was embarking on a large-scale multi-phase project that included switching to NetSuite ERP and SuiteCommerce Advanced (SCA) from competitive ERP and ecommerce systems. Due to the size of this project, the manufacturer split it into separate phases with staggered go-live dates. The first phase included switching from the legacy ERP to NetSuite’s ERP while the second phase included moving away from the manufacturer’s legacy ecommerce system to NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce Advanced.

It was recognized early on that the two legacy systems used an integration contract that was fundamentally different than NetSuite’s APIs and data architecture. In essence, the legacy systems and NetSuite’s applications didn’t speak the same language so there was a risk of data loss or worse if the integration contract didn’t remain the same. SuiteCentric was tasked with resolving this integration contract issue while waiting for the ERP implementation phase to complete.

Creating the Middleware

SuiteCentric’s senior development team has extensive experience with integrations so it understood how to duplicate bi-directional integration points that exist between disparate ERP and ecommerce systems. In this instance, they had to almost entirely mirror the existing integration contract between the camera manufacturer’s legacy ERP and ecommerce system, which was built on a SOAP/XML integration.

The SuiteCentric team created an extremely flexible Node.js application that it termed the “middleware.” This middleware featured an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) data integration pattern in its design. To replicate the existing integration contract, the communication between NetSuite ERP and the middleware was based on a REST/JSON series of APIs. Then, the communication between the middleware and legacy ecommerce system was translated to SOAP/XML bi-directionally.

Another way to think of a middleware solution is as a translator for the legacy systems and NetSuite’s applications. This is where all of the logic took place to extract raw data, transform it, and load it into the new system through a set of pre-defined mapped fields.

Before completely deploying the middleware, SuiteCentric conducted an extensive round of user acceptance testing (UAT) and quality assurance (QA) to flush out any inconsistencies, and confirm the functionality of customizations.

The Results

This middleware went live with the NetSuite ERP and required virtually no management until it was phased out with the go-live of SuiteCommerce Advanced nearly eight months later. The camera manufacturer retained all of its data through the multi-phase project thanks to the middleware and it now operates more efficiently and is better positioned for future growth. (See why manufacturers prefer NetSuite.)

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