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How many clicks should entering an order take? – Web Based Order Entry for Microsoft Dynamics

We recently launched Order Entry for Microsoft Dynamics as a web based solution that seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Dynamics CRM & ERP solutions. An obvious question – why another Order Entry solution offering in the Microsoft Dynamics world where a variety of Order Entry options already exist? There are several reasons -

  1. There are no solutions that offer a Microsoft Excel-like web-based user interface for quick Order Entry that is powered with Microsoft Dynamics ERP backend for taxes, discounts and shipping charges.
  2. There are no solutions that work with all the browsers. It becomes an irritant for those odd cases when you happen to be in a meeting or conference working off a shared PC environment and wanted to accept orders. Right from all flavors of IE on Windows to Safari on various Mac flavors – Order Entry for Dynamics works exactly the same way.
  3. There are not many options for entering Orders for Dynamics on tablet devices like Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy.
  4. Seamless access to data within Dynamics ERP or CRM – Right from address book to customer specific prices, invoices, A/R Balance or historical order lines seamlessly offered to help a salesperson focus on preparing a competitive Quote or Order for the Customer.
  5. Electronic Payments – Credit Card, ACH, Paypal and more – all supported seamlessly with the Order Entry Process.
  6. Integration with Microsoft Dynamics – If you are currently using a Microsoft Dynamics CRM or ERP system, customer and order edits flow through systems to allow different teams to continue using their current system.

So much about the features, let’s talk about clicks. Most sales folks and customer service reps would like to see lesser clicks. How many clicks should an Order really take? We thought through this question and drew less than 10 clicks as the target for entering a simple Order.

Let’s see how this is all done in 10 clicks. Given below is the sequence of entering an Order right from the point you click on a New Order link to submitting the Order for processing. This could be a call center rep accepting orders in a retail call center, or this could be a sales rep on a field visit accepting an order, both stand to gain –

Click 1 – Clicking on the New Order link launches the New Order form and auto launches the Customer Lookup. The lookup offers various search tools for finding the right customer.

Clicking on the New Order link launches the New Order form and auto launches the Customer Lookup. The lookup offers various search tools for finding the right customer

Click 2 – Enter the search criteria and Search.

Click 3 – Select the Customer from the lookup.

Click 4 – Customer with default ship to address + default contact + other defaults get populated.

Customer with default ship to address + default contact + other defaults get populated

Click 5 – Click on OK to generate the Order.

Click 6 – Use the SKU Type Ahead or SKU Code Lookup to select the Item. Item Selection would default the Quantity to 1 and lookup prices that apply to the customer in the chosen currency. Workflows take care of applying relevant taxes.

Use the SKU Type Ahead or SKU Code Lookup to select the Item. Item Selection would default the Quantity to 1 and lookup prices that apply to the customer in the chosen currency. Workflows take care of applying relevant taxes

Click 7 – Apply Shipping Charges. Quotes are directly calculated using FedEx, UPS or USPS Services. Markup, Markdown can be done to create a custom shipping quote.

Apply Shipping Charges. Quotes are directly calculated using FedEx, UPS or USPS Services. Markup, Markdown can be done to create a custom shipping quote

Click 8 – Now the order is ready to be submitted for processing. Submission has a configurable workflow that acts as a checkpoint before Orders are processed.

Now the order is ready to be submitted for processing. Submission has a configurable workflow that acts as a checkpoint before Orders are processed

Click 9 – Enter the payment details (credit card, ACH or others), edit Order Confirmation Email that would go to the customer. And you are done!

Enter the payment details (credit card, ACH or others), edit Order Confirmation Email that would go to the customer

There were two guiding principles while designing Order Entry:

  1. Allow Order Entry with minimal clicks on a web-based platform.
  2. Provide Excel like experience when Editing (Order Lines, for example) or Searching (SKUs, for example) on the browser for order entry.

For example, if I have several Order Lines where I need to override the price, I would select the price cell (as shown below), double click or Press F2. Edit the price and press Enter. The price change would trigger the underlying business workflows to alert me if needed.

Order Lines

Given below is how the SKU Lookup works. Facilities similar to Excel filters with a multi-parameter search to find needed SKU quickly.

SKU Lookup

Are 10 clicks the minimum required for Order Entry? – No, there are other options that can help place an Order or a Quote in less than 10 clicks. These options are:

  1. Copy an Existing Order or Quote
  2. Import Quotes or Order.
  3. Use Quote or Order Templates

So you can certainly go less than 10 clicks if required!

Pankaj Kumar is the Chief Technology Officer at Ignify. Ignify eCommerce is the only PCI certified eCommerce solution in the market that integrates with mid-market ERP systems including the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Sage ERP. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine, and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.

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