Custom Datasets

Selling products online generally requires much more product information than what is available in accounting / ERP systems to gain consumer trust.

For example, the extra data required for products is:

  • Summary
  • Detailed description
  • Specifications
  • Warranty information
  • Product attributes (ie, finish, material, size, brand, type, dimensions etc)
  • Product combinations (ie, colour/size, length/width/height, length/diameter etc)
  • Related products
  • Alternative products
  • Product flags
  • Product images
  • Product attachments
  • SEO meta data, keywords
  • Social media hooks

Plus there are the different category trees such as product type or brand.

Integration Complexities

Making things slightly more complicated is that the availability of this data varies from system to system. For instance, MYOB Account Right Classic only offers a 256 character product description field which can be very limiting and only 3 custom data fields that are often used for logistics or internal purposes.

Other systems such as Jiwa are far more comprehensive and allow you to create lots of custom data fields. That said, many systems cannot support the advanced data structures such as parent/child combinations used for colour / size selection or product attributes used for smarter searching.

Ways To Manage Extra Data

All this data needs a home and it needs to be managed over time. Consider a new range of products you want on your website. You have added them into your accounting / ERP system and the core data has synced the products to the website. The trouble is, users cannot easily find these new products because most of the extra data above is not yet set.

Traditionally, our clients used the TOTECS Admin Centre to either set this data for each product individually or import bulk data managed in spreadsheets. This is not a bad approach but it becomes difficult to manage for inventories larger than 1000 products.

The Data Management Nightmare

Product data management becomes very difficult when companies have teams of people managing product data for large inventories. Often spreadsheets become out of sync or people do not enter data correctly or they import data and clobber the work someone else has done.

The New Way To Manage Data

The TOTECS Connector installed on your server that syncs data from your accounting / ERP system has a little secret that I am about to share with you. It contains a tab called Datasets. This is like the ultimate Excel and database tool rolled into one.

A dataset is a product driven database that offers table views like Excel but contains smart data filters and bulk editing tools that saves bucket loads of time. It's powerful because:

  • All users are viewing and editing the same data so they cannot clobber each other's work
  • You can configure multiple dataset databases for different business divisions, product ranges or businesses
  • Each dataset database is stored in a file that can be easily backed up
  • Auto-discover tools can interrogate the data to strip out product attributes and combination values from product names/descriptions

Better still, if you add new products to your accounting/ERP system, you can filter these products instantly and add the essential data for your TOTECS website.

Datasets - Categories

DataSets Categories

Datasets - Product Categories

DataSets Product Categories

Datasets - Products

DataSets Products

How To Setup a Dataset

Step 1: The process to start managing data is as follows:

  1. Login to your Connector
  2. Create a new dataset and set the location for the database file
  3. Import your product data into your dataset
  4. Start filling in the gaps

Step 2: The process to sync datasets to TOTECS is as follows:

  1. Login to your Connector
  2. Create a Generic Adapter and configure the Exports that will retrieve data from the dataset
  3. Edit the accounting / ERP Adapter and activate Data Routing to pull data from the accounting / ERP system and the extra data from the corresponding datasets Adapter Export

Need Help To Establish A Dataset?

Our TOTECS Integration Partners can assist you to create and configure your data sets. They can assist you to develop a data management plan that specifies what data is managed between your accounting/ERP system and the datasets. They can then create and configure the datasets to sync with TOTECS as given in steps 1 and 2 in the previous section. They can offer over the phone training, support and guidance as required.

See Partners