With the new look & feel of our public website, we also made it a showcase of what's possible with the integration with the Essence Portal. In this blogpost we will give some insights of what we have done, and what you can do with your website too.
Integrating Essence Data into your Website
First, let's talk about why integrating data from your Essence Portal into your Public Website can be very useful. Let's have a look at some use-cases here.
- You could publish data from your ERP back-office. Like publishing a list of products and prices. The available products and the current prices on your website will always be up-to-date.
- You could submit form entries from your Public Website, straight into your back-office systems. For example, let your visitors enter a service call on your website, and use this to create a Request in Exact Synergy. Or have a Customer Contact Form that automatically creates a Sales Opportunity in Exact Online.
Once your Public Website can get to your back-office data, of course in a secure and safe way, the possibilities are only limited by your creativity. So let's look at some examples of how we made use of this in our website.
Publishing data in real-time
On our website you can find an overview of all the webinars and training sessions that we've planned for the upcoming weeks. These sessions are planned in our back-office, where we can register participants as well as send invoices if applicable. Now we don't want to do things twice, so once the data is correct in our back-office, we set the status to Published. We made the data from our back-office available through the Silver Essence Webservice. All the sessions that have the Published status are automatically shown on our website.
Not only does this save us a lot of time, it also ensures that the data you see on our website is exactly the same as in our back-office. If a session date is changed, we change it in our back-office and it is instantly changed on the website as well. No more discrepancies here. Similar we have a list of all our current Partners where new Partners will automatically be added and contact information is always up-to-date.
Although this data is public, access to this data in the Essence Webservice is restricted and secured using Consumer Keys. Using these keys we can finely tune who has access to what data. You can read more about the use of Consumer Keys in this blogpost.
Entry Forms go directly into our back-office
On our website you will find several entry forms. For example, the form you can use to contact us. The data that is submitted there, goes directly into our back-office using the Silver Webservice. After all, every Business Controller is also a Webservice topic.
Similar, if you register for a training session, it will automatically be registered in our back-office for the correct training session. This eliminates the use of email forms, where data has to be copied from the email into the back-office. We do make use of emails, but only as a notification for our Partner Manager. Oh, and when you register for a training session, we will confirm this by email, including an invite for your personal calendar.
Track visitors on all our websites without cookies
In one of our databases, we created a log-table to keep track of visitor activity. Using Essence, we created Business Controller, so we have the user interface and the webservice. Now instead of using cookies, we can track the activity on all our websites (including our Training Center and this Productblog) and store it in our database.
And once we have all the data in our database, it's a small step to create useful dashboards using (in our case) Sumatra reports.
Do you want to know more?
As we said in the beginning, we use our website as a showcase of what is possible. So if you want to see more of it, contact your Partner Manager. We can provide you with code samples and instructions as well. Most of what we have (and what we do) is in ASP.NET and C#, but we have some PHP samples (think Wordpress!) available as well.