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ERP: Your single source of truth

Shopify API

What is a single source of truth?

Single source of truth (SSOT) is the concept of organising IT infrastructures so that one system acts as a master for all your company’s data. This tried-and-tested practice was borne out of information systems design and theory, becoming increasingly necessary over the last decade as businesses adopted more cloud technology.

The SSOT model positions one system in your company’s infrastructure as the data controller – the hub that powers all your other systems. The rest of your software then refers back to your ‘primary source of truth’ for accurate information, meaning that everyone in the business is viewing the same data.

Why do you need SSOT?

Ecommerce brands and marketplaces require a myriad of different systems to succeed in an online space. From warehouse and point-of-sale systems to ecommerce and customer management platforms, businesses naturally accrue masses of data.

Often, this data will exist only in one platform or department, isolated from the rest of your organisation. These repositories of information are known as ‘data silos’. It’s the digital equivalent of having your company’s data organised in dozens of separate folders strewn across your office, rather than having one core filing cabinet.

Not only does siloed data impact your company’s ability to make holistic business decisions, but it also massively affects your accuracy. If you don’t establish a point of truth – or you choose the wrong system as your source – you're likely to run into critical issues with your data, such as incorrect customer information, overselling and inaccurate accountancy figures.

Enter your single source of truth. Rather than accessing and storing data across multiple systems, your point of data-based truth becomes a place where your different departments can access accurate information. And the more endpoints in play, the more important identifying this source becomes.

Why should an ERP be your point of truth?

For ecommerce brands, the single source of truth would normally be an enterprise resource planning system (ERP) – although it entirely depends on a company’s individual needs.

Because your ERP sits in the middle of your IT infrastructure, it sees everything. Usually, your essential data gets passed through your ERP, making it a great option as your data controller.

But not all systems make a good master for your data. For example, your ecommerce platform wouldn’t be an accurate point of truth because it’s not fed information about things like purchase orders, meaning it will never have a truly holistic view of your stock levels. So, if you use the data in your ecommerce platform as gospel and update your other systems based on that, you’ll end up with a host of inaccurate data.

Patchworks & your source of truth

While your ERP acts as the core for your essential data, the Patchworks platform keeps this data synced with the rest of your systems. When it comes to setting your business up with an integration platform, Patchworks designs your infrastructure around your chosen source of truth. This decision informs the entire design phase of how data will be moved between your systems, allowing our engineers to identify a central hub for your data.

Not set up with an ERP? We’ll help you get started. We offer integrations with all the most popular enterprise resource planning solutions, including NetSuite, Dynamics Business Central, Khaos Control and Visual Next. Get in touch today to find out more.

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