E-Commerce
Magento is an unstoppable force.

There are NAV e-commerce add-ons out there, however, the websites that are created, at least from what we’ve seen, looks very outdated and “old”. In addition, it’s hard to add features and customize the website to your liking. The end result is probably not the best foot you want to put forward if your e-commerce webstore is the first thing your potential customers sees about your company.

Even if the integration works flawlessly, if you have a terrible looking website that’s hard to navigate in, you’ve just wasted your money. This is true for C2B (Consumer to business) or B2B (Business to Business) websites.

Integration
The infrastrucutre is basically the same, to have real time, you must host the the web server in house. Not a lot of companies like to do that because of reliability and the cost (IT people, hardware, software, etc) of hosting the most vital order taking system for a company inhouse.

When it’s hosted, then we’re just uploading and downloading data and syncing anyways, so there’s really not that much benefit for you to purchase an expensive e-commerce add-on for Navision.

This is where Magento comes into play. Magento is an open source webstore software that’s gaining in popularity. How do I know this? Well, I hear a lot of new softwares and services that our clients are excited about. Usually when I hear a product once or twice, I’ll make a mental note.But more than that, it will require some investigation because I know the next thing the client will ask for is integration.

There are usually 2 components when designing the integration piece:
1. Getting the data to the Magento site
2. Getting the data back from Magento to Navision. i.e. Authorize.net approval amounts

There are a couple of ways to go about it:
1. Webservice directly to your database
2. Flat file transfer to Magento web database
3. Pump data to SQL Express and have Magento do query on it

I’m not a fan of having web services connected directly to your production database as, depending on the traffic of your site, it may cause performance problems. You probably don’t want people around the world to be quering into your production database when the customer service people are on the phone with your customers.

Personally, I prefer options 2 and 3 because if the website is down, you still have your ERP to take phone orders. If your ERP is down, you still have your website to take orders.

For real time, or as close to real time, you can use NAS to pump data in/out as much as you like, which is what option 2 and option 3 is for.

Your Magento developer(s) shouldn’t have any problems with the import/export of the data you give them.

Conclusion
There are probably a lot of other methods of integrating your Dynamics NAV (Navision) solution to Magento. The important thing is to not get caught up with what you need and what you’re being sold. Usually simple is good and simple is more than enough.

Having said that, I’d love to hear some other methods you use to integrate Dynamics NAV and Magento. If Magento is the next best thing for web stores since slice bread, us Dynamics NAV (Navision) community should be ready for it.