How Business Central and Magento serve your customer
“The cost savings for the customer using the Tinx Connector are huge!”
ERA Group has been a loyal partner of Tinx-IT since 2014. With an in-house consultancy department, the ERA Group takes care of integrations between Dynamics NAV/Business Central and Magento via the Tinx-IT Magento connector and B2B extensions. ERA Group and Tinx have more than ten mutual customers, and this number is growing steadily. Florian Schmitt, E-commerce Director and Architect for Groupe Conseil ERA (ERA Consulting Group), talks about ERA Group, the collaboration and integration projects, and his experiences with Tinx and the Tinx e-commerce connector.
Would you like to introduce yourself?
“I have been working for Groupe Conseil ERA since 2016: first as an E-commerce Consultant and now as an E-commerce Director and Architect. During my period as a consultant, I was closely involved in Magento integration projects. In 2021 I started building an e-commerce team at ERA, and currently, the team is operational and ready to deliver simple and complex successful B2B and B2C e-commerce solutions.”
How would you describe ERA Group and the core business of the company?
“We are a Canadian-based company founded in 2004. The core activity is the implementation of ERP systems. We work with our customers as partners. The main goal is always to improve our customer’s business processes and everything around that IT ecosystem. Helping with ERP is one thing, but it is also about everything related to it: from production and marketing to EDI, CRM and nowadays also e-commerce.”
“The ERP systems we work with are mainly Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Business Central (BC) and JD Edwards. Our customers use different e-commerce platforms. The most popular is with 85% Magento. You can also think of Shopify and WooCommerce.”
What distinguishes the ERA Group, also when it comes to Business Central and Magento?
“That is without a doubt our offer: as one of the few companies, we supply both ERP and e-commerce solutions. Therefore, we advise on the entire IT ecosystem and always tailor it to the customer’s needs. In doing so, we prioritize the Magento open-source offering. We don’t push Adobe Commerce as most companies do.”
“Customers who run a Magento webshop have no costs except maintenance and updates. Nor do they have to reinvent the wheel with, for example, the price logic, the rules which are already in Business Central.”
“Furthermore, we offer customers an express approach, delivering a turnkey, well-timed solution built for Business Central and Magento. This solution contains both the basic functionalities and all custom-made modules of ERA, as far as the customer needs it.”
“With a Magento open source webshop and a partner like Tinx-IT, supplier of the software that synchronizes everything in terms of B2B price logic, 75% of our customers’ goal has been achieved on those types of projects. Add our expertise to that, and you can’t miss your targets. For example, our customers’ goals are increasing visibility, how easily their customers can make online transactions and how they can receive their orders. Others have more ERP-oriented wishes.”
What are important objectives for ERA Group?
“That’s growth. In fact, we do not promote our e-commerce solutions, not even on our website. Nevertheless, our number of employees working on e-commerce doubled over the past year because of the high demand. We respond to that.”
“We also do this with other wishes of our customers. For example, we build internal Magento extensions, such as ‘hide prices’ if you are not a B2B customer. In addition, we develop our own custom theme for the webshops because it is quite complex to deal with updates if all customers have different themes. WordPress themes update relatively quickly, but when Magento releases a major update, it can take months for the theme to be up to date. You can prevent this delay by working with your own themes. Fun fact: the first customer to start using it is Menuiserox: a joint customer of ERA and Tinx.”
“In line with this, we plan to launch a so-called express solution, aimed at smaller customers with a more limited budget. We have automated as much as possible, such as the Magento installation and server deployment. With the previously mentioned Magento extensions, the ERA theme and the express solution, we think we can offer a budget-friendly solution that can be set up quickly. Some of these offerings will integrate with Business Central using the Tinx-IT connector.”
How did ERA Group come into contact with Tinx-IT?
“In 2014, so before my time, ERA was looking for the best solution to link Magento to Dynamics NAV. After searching the internet for various solutions, it became clear that Tinx was the market leader. From the subsequent conversations with them, Tinx turned out to be professional and to the point and had a perfect solution. Since we are in a specific market where a lot of our customers only speak French, it was important that we could learn, implement and adapt the solution ourselves. That opportunity was offered to us by Tinx from the very beginning.”
Which is more popular among your customers: Dynamics NAV or Business Central (in combination with Magento)?
“Some customers using NAV 2013 are migrating to Business Central this year. Some work with Business Central on-premise, and others with Business Central SaaS. Customers using Dynamics NAV need to make regular adjustments. A downer if you know how much customers have had to invest in this, and yet it’s worth rewriting everything as an extension and moving to Business Central Cloud. Fortunately, at ERA Group, we have become experts in migrations, and upgrades usually go smoothly. Tinx-IT also gave a helping hand to several of our customers. Tinx-IT stopped supporting versions older than 2016 a few years ago. That was a positive incentive to upgrade to a more recent version of NAV or Business Central.”
“For example, do you want to change things in a sales order? No problem.”
As a partner of Tinx, what kind of solutions does ERA Group offer to customers?
“Of course, implementations of the Tinx Magento connector and B2B extensions, adjusting the messages in the synchronization dashboard and doing custom developments in the background. For example, does a customer want to change things in a sales order? No problem. We add a custom tax calculation when the order is created, create a codeunit or report and add it to the message card. We also provide other support to our customers, including creating a website and installing Magento.”
“We want our customers to choose a sustainable solution.”
What are the main reasons for choosing Tinx-IT’s solution?
“We want our customers to opt for a sustainable solution that they have control over and where customization is possible. The cost savings for the customer are enormous. Some clients showed me quotes from agencies offering a B2B plugin, even though they already had the same functionality in NAV. Why not connect it to the existing ERP logic with the Tinx software? Customers like to work with one partner instead of two or more partners. Because we know their business model and we often work together for a long time, we know what they sell and what challenges we face during an integration. Large Magento agencies may have more experience in marketing and graphic design, but we are still ahead regarding business processes and pricing types. You don’t always find what customers want in Magento as standard. We respond to that.”
Which integration flows of the Tinx-IT connector do the customers use?
“In terms of products, they are mostly simple and configurable products. Sometimes they are bundles and virtual products. We use everything related to PIM (Product Information Management), such as images, categories, attributes, videos, update stock, etc. Some customers use a separate PIM platform, such as Akeneo. They create the product via Akeneo, and we download the product IDs in the table of webshop articles.”
“In terms of pricing, probably all our customers use B2B prices. We, therefore, usually include the Tinx-IT B2B pricing module. Even if it’s just currency exchange, they’re best off with the Tinx plugin.”
“Some customers want to synchronize customers, others only contacts, and some both with multiple accounts per company (sub-login). From complex to simple: numerous solutions are conceivable in the field of sales orders, shipments, invoices and changing the status of customers. In terms of inventory, we started with Multi Source Inventory (MSI). We also work in several languages.”
“I think the Tinx-IT connector is the most complete solution on the market.”
What are the benefits of the Tinx-IT connector?
“The fact that it’s fully customizable and, at least with Magento’s legacy API: SOAP, we’ve made many messages work direclty. So this has reduced the time to build this kind of synchronization for the customers. Of course, we can always adjust some things, but mostly it works with SOAP out of the box. In addition, the connector allows us to customize everything, such as in messages. Our customers come to us with different ideas and different business models. By using the Tinx-IT connector, we retain control.”
How do you experience the contact between Tinx-IT and ERA Group?
“I’d say we have a pretty good relationship. I enjoy working with you guys. Most of my contact is with Erica (development) and René (support). Sometimes with Bob when it concerns presales.”
What do you find most impressive about Tinx-IT’s product?
“The fact that it allows us to meet 90% of our customers’ requests. We fill in the remaining 10% on a custom basis or use a web service. I also love that Tinx-IT still supports customers using Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2016 up to Business Central SaaS. In this way, we are compatible with a wide range of customers.”
“Go for Tinx-IT if you don’t want to be stuck with middleware.”
What would you tell someone from another company about Tinx-IT?
“I think that the Tinx-IT connector is the most complete solution on the market. We have done multiple upgrade success stories with Tinx-IT and our customers. If you don’t want to be stuck with middleware: go for Tinx-IT.” “And then I would probably go on to tell them about the nice things that The Netherlands (home base of Tinx-IT) has to offer, like bikes and pedestrian paths, and I would end up with bitterballen 😊.”
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