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PARI Respiratory, Inc. Breathes Easily with eCommerce in the Cloud

by Sam Bayer | insiderPROFILES

January 1, 2013

In early 2012, PARI Respiratory, Inc., a respiratory products manufacturer, received 60% of its orders via fax, email, and telephone. But in an age where customers can order products online around-the-clock, this approach was losing its appeal. By teaming up with b2b2dot0 – a company that specializes in real-time integration between eCommerce platform Magneto and SAP systems – PARI created a new eCommerce site for its customers.
 

“This was a really fun project,” says Ashley Weigand, Director of marketing for the US and Canada for respiratory products manufacturer PARI Respiratory, Inc.

“Fun” might not be the most often used adjective to describe an SAP integration project — especially one that involves a US-based division, German-based headquarters and SAP IT resources, and a cloud-based hybrid SAP application. But “fun” is the word that Weigand uses. Why? Because this is a story about giving people what they want.

Everyone Wanted Something

PARI’s dealers and distributors wanted a web-based business-to-business (B2B) ordering system. PARI’s US marketing department wanted a user-friendly, attractive nterface for its product catalog. They also wanted a flexible, easy-to-use content management tool so they could “control” the language and images on the catalog site.

The IT department, along with marketing, wanted to build the website using Magento, a popular Commerce platform. (Magento’s low entry cost and large community of developers and partners made it the platform of choice.)

And everyone wanted real-time SAP integration.

PARI’s SAP team — located at the company’s international headquarters in Germany — wanted to make sure that SAP integration with a B2B eCommerce site didn’t do anything to compromise SAP data integrity or business processes.

Why They Wanted It

In early 2012, more than 60% of orders placed with PARI-US were received via fax, email, and telephone. In an age where customers have come to expect online access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, processing orders over the telephone was losing its appeal.

“We had two major goals for this project,” says Dale Anderson, PARI’s CFO. “First and foremost, we wanted to listen to our customers and make the ordering process more convenient. Second, we wanted to free our Customer Service Group from anual data entry so they could focus on more proactive support activities.”

How They Got It

“Our IT group and our marketing department had already identified Magento as the best solution to build the front end of our eCommerce site. Our designers were comfortable with the platform, and our marketing department liked the built-in communication features,” says Anderson. “The big question was, how will we integrate the Magento and SAP systems?”

“A few years ago, we developed an order management website for one of our large retail pharmacy customers. That site was designed to give patients with nebulizer prescriptions a convenient way to order refills online,” Anderson says. “But it was not linked to the SAP system. Instead, orders were stored  in a queue and had to be manually entered into the system.”

“That site was our first attempt at online order management,” Anderson says. “It gave us a glimpse of what was possible. But we knew that before an order management site could really be successful, it had to be more comprehensive and connect with the SAP system. With this new site, we initially considered building our own SAP integration interface. Then our IT Director, Steven Ferrell, did some research online and found a company called b2b2dot0.”

“b2b2dot0 specializes in real-time integration between Magento eCommerce and SAP. In the early planning phase, b2b2dot0 showed us how its cloud-based platform and agile project management process could get us online quickly,” says Anderson. “The company also addressed our concerns about data security and business rule enforcement in areas like customized pricing, multi-plant inventory checking, minimum/maximum order quantities, credit checking, and shipping choices. Based on my conversations with b2b2dot0, I created an internal project blueprint and worked with our German headquarters to get approval to move forward.”


Rapid Development

“Once we got started, the whole thing went rather quickly. Over the course of the project, b2b2dot0 led six focus groups to test and refine the interface — three were internal, and three were with our customers,” says Anderson.

Weigand adds, “b2b2dot0’s agile and iterative process allowed us to build a great system — based on real user feedback — in a very short time. In fact, just a few weeks into the project, we held our first focus group with the production-ready site. The customers who participated were surprised at how far we had come in such a short time.”

Leave Busy People Alone

“Our German SAP group is small and busy. They have to support PARI Global, not just the US. So for this project to be successful, we had to use their time sparingly,” says Anderson. “Over the course of this project, I think b2b2dot0 had fewer than five phone calls with our SAP team. Aside from those calls, we were able to leave them alone so they could focus on other priorities.”

Win-Win-Win

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this project,” Anderson says. “This could have been a story about competing interests and agendas, but it wasn’t. Our customers got the online ordering system they requested. Our marketing department got the Magento-based site they wanted. Our customer service reps are now shifting their focus away from manual order entry. And the entire project was completed with minimal disruption to our German SAP team.”

       

 

 

After receiving his Ph.D. in chemistry, Sam Bayer spent 20 successful years in corporate America, with companies large (IBM, AGFA, and Amdahl) and small (Axiom Systems, Sapiens, and HAHT Commerce). He then became a published author, corporate advisor, and interim CEO where he earned a worldwide reputation as a premier agile management consultant. In 2008, Dr. Bayer co-founded and became the CEO of b2b2dot0, a company designed to exploit the convergence of the market’s increasing demand for agility, the technologies enabling cloud-delivered services, and the consumerization of B2B eCommerce. Learn more about b2b2dot0 at www.b2b2dot0.com or call 919-676-7429.

         

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