What does it mean to create something that’s part of a bigger picture?
Here’s what we learned first hand.
Cloras: The Origin Story
Let’s head back to good old 2017. Back then DCKAP had finally cemented itself as a Community of experts helping distributors and manufacturers with eCommerce development, specifically for Magento, BigCommerce and integrated platforms. We knew this was the space where we wanted to support business in, and simply providing services didn’t cut it anymore.
Not when we could identify the potential for improvements in how our clients faced their business challenges. So we innovated.
Fast forward to 2018, and DCKAP was proud to reveal Cloras: its answer to operational opacity and to help eCommerce businesses make the most of their ERP.
Goes without saying, Cloras in our minds was the hero in this tale. And every good one needs a nemesis worth fighting against. For Cloras it was the lost time caused by human error, hidden data and operational opaqueness. This “villain” was bolstered by solutions that either complicated matters more, took months to truly get the hang of or worse, burnt a mean hole in the pocket of those seeking to solve this situation.
That’s why Cloras didn’t just have to do ERP Integration well, it needed to do so in a smart, easy to use way.
Also see: Why eCommerce Automation Is The Next Big Thing For B2B Distributors
The what and why behind ERP Integration
Integration refers to connection between two otherwise independent programs or applications. When you’re able to extract data sets from your spreadsheet app onto the word processor sharing a similar name, you’re experiencing what integration can do.
ERP integration works on a similar but larger scale. Without such an integration in place, and with individual applications being run and managed independently, the risk of operational silos increases. These silos contribute to a lack of communication between teams, preventable delays, poor shopping experiences and overall, can lead to lost business opportunities.
Take the example of Company A. They do have operational silos, one consequence of which is that their eCommerce is not synced to reflect the real-time status of their inventory. A potential buyer, on their site, sees that the product they’re interested in is well in-stock and places that order, unaware that the business does not actually have the said product in stock.
Now, a lucky business can procure the required products in time but chances are, there would be delays which would need to be communicated to the customer. Worse still, if they are unable to fulfill the commitment entirely. That business lost a potentially great business relationship simply because their ERP and eCommerce systems weren’t talking.
An ERP Integration would circumvent many of the operational hurdles that come with handling multiple aspects of business, providing a single source of truth for how it is running. No more hidden patterns or data, teams across the board working with the right and updated information, which in turn, allows you to deliver the best customer experience you can.
Recommended: Is integration hesitation holding back your eCommerce growth?
CLORAS: The ERP Integration Platform for Distributors
Cloras (CLOud Rapid Automation System) was crafted as an integration Platform as a Service, i.e, a platform that connected a business’ ERP with key business apps including the CRM, PIM, EDI, eCommerce storefront, databases and more. It’s described as:
“An enterprise-level data integration middleware providing a centralized solution to integrate, automate and manage all applications from one tool, enabling scalable, cross-platform connectivity.”
This iPaaS acts as a single source of truth for all of the business related information and data that pertain to business operations. With the data made available readily and without any hassle, Cloras enabled businesses to make better decisions backed by data, ensure smoother workflows and create better shopping experiences for their customers.
Cloras was designed to be especially easy to use, customizable to the user and equipped to ease omnichannel eCommerce operations for distributor.
It was particularly successful in the Epicor P21 Community of users, being a regular star feature at DCKAP’s presence during user group events such as the P21WWUG Connect. As the product gained popularity and acceptance within this niche, it became apparent that the people who found the tool most useful for syncing their business data were distributors and manufacturers.
With this information in hand, and insights and feedback from an expanding user base, Cloras saw regular upgrades that improved performance and improved features, all of which ensured that the tool stayed ahead of the challenges its users would face.
Clients coming to DCKAP to upgrade their eCommerce setup often opted to also use Cloras as well, with the positive outcomes experienced by other clients facing similar challenges while handling multiple necessary business apps.
The result? By 2021, Cloras had over 100 now thriving users, and has been declared a High Performer in the API Management and eCommerce Data Integration categories at G2 dot com (Spring 2022 Report).
Beyond Cloras: DCKAP Integrator
Throughout its journey, Cloras was presented as a standalone product: an ERP Integration platform that delivers on its promises, created by a bright and innovative team.
Yet, while Cloras did A LOT, it too was part of a larger scheme of activities both at the users’ end, as well as its creators’.
In practice, the tool itself was part of a larger story as well, one shaping up within its parent company. At any point in the product’s journey it would have been a challenge to isolate the team behind it and the entirety of the DCKAP Community, given its collaborative, synergized nature. As DCKAP came closer to more accurately stating its purpose, so did the understanding that Cloras could not continue to act as if in isolation to what it is surrounded by.
Thus it made sense for Cloras to reflect this shared purpose and reflect how it fit in this integrated narrative. Thus, in the first quarter of 2022, the product shed its old name and isolated nature and embraced a brand new identity, with a wider purpose.
DCKAP simplifies commerce for distributors.
DCKAP Integrator helps this, via simplified ERP Integration.
The new identity reflects the product’s origins, while also ensuring that its purpose is made known intuitively as you read the name. DCKAP Integrator is one of a few options that DCKAP offers distributors seeking to ease their eCommerce hurdles. From establishing their business to getting them future ready, DCKAP aims to boost their profitability at each stage.
With all this change, some things do stay constant: features that our users have long-enjoyed will not be messed around with, nor will our continued efforts to deliver stellar experiences via ERP Integration. The new outlook is only reinforcement for an already robust will to see our customers succeed in their ventures.
What else could a happy business partner ask for?
Distribution has evolved and avoiding going online is no longer an option for businesses aiming to beat the competition. Industry leaders are choosing strategies and solutions that go beyond revenue and deliver profitable growth. DCKAP helps them get there without needing to keep up with multiple vendor relationships. See what DCKAP Integrator can do for you.