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Connecting Business Systems

Once an organisation has been registered within the SQUIZZ.com platform there is the ability for it connect its business systems and software into the platform. When done this can automate importing the organisation's data within the platform, allowing the organisation to sell to customers, purchase off suppliers, manage accounts, in an automated way. Additionally  it allows the organisation's business systems to automatically receive data created from the platform such as sales orders and purchase orders. This automation can save an organisation time, money, reduce errors, help sell and buy in the platform quickly and effectively. The systems and data that are connected to the platform are controlled through secure connections and the platform's permissions features, ensuring that the organisation's data is only accessible to the allowed people connected to the organisation.

Business systems can be connected using the SQUIZZ.com Connector software, or they can be directly connection to the platform through its API (Application Programming Interface) if the software supports it.

Topics

  1. Prerequisites
  2. Overview
  3. What is the best way to connect a business system to the platform
  4. Connecting Business Systems With The SQUIZZ.com Connector Software
  5. Connecting Business Systems Directly Through the SQUIZZ.com API
  6. Connecting Websites To Allow Purchase Order Importing
  7. Allow Business Systems To Raise Organisation Notifications Through API
  8. Setup Organisation API Credentials In The Platform
  9. Setup Connector Or External Business System Credentials In The Platform
  10. Create A Free Transport Layer Security (TLS/SSL) Certificate
  11. Download A Verified Transport Layer Security (TLS/SSL) Certificate
  12. Revocate An Organisation's Transport Layer Security (TLS/SSL) Certificate
  13. Delete An Organisation's Transport Layer Security (TLS/SSL) Certificate

Overview

Typically organisations would connect their accounting, enterprise resource planning (ERP), or warehouse management systems into the platform, which allows the organisation to set up data to buy and sell within the platform. Additionally it can allow selected employees, customers, and/or suppliers to query data directly out of the connected systems, allowing these people to get access to records such as invoices, sales orders, payments, and credits, all without having to use manual methods such as email, phone or printed mail.

Additionally when customers or sales representatives create sales orders through the platform the sales orders can be automatically imported back into the connected business systems. This can automate a number of work flows in accounting, and goods dispatching processes.

Integrating With Customers and Suppliers Business Systems (EDI)

Once an organisation has connected their business system into the platform, and their supplier and customer organisations have connected their business systems into the platform, then data can flow directly from each organisation's systems. This data transfer method between systems has been called Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) by people within the Ecommerce industry. EDI can automate a number of work flows and dramatically cut down time, costs, and effort by organisations at both ends. The SQUIZZ.com platform dramatically cuts the development costs and time of setting up EDI by only requiring each organisation to integrate once into the platform. Additionally each organisation can leverage all the development done within the SQUIZZ.com Connector without out having to pay to use the Connector software.

What is the best way to connect a business system to the platform

There are three ways that an organisation can connect its business system software to the platform:,

  • By using the SQUIZZ.com Connector software
  • By using or developing software that integrates directly with the platform's Application Programming Interface (API)
  • By using a hybrid approach with both of the above

The best approach depends on the computers, networking, and software that an organisation uses to host its business systems.

When To Use The SQUIZZ.com Connector

If you answer Yes to all of the following then you can use the SQUIZZ.com Connector application to connect an organisation's business system to the platform.

  • Does the business system run on Microsoft Windows computer, or is there a computer in the organisation's computer network running Microsoft Windows?
  • For the Microsoft Windows computer is it running a version Windows that supports the .NET platform version 4.6.1 or higher? This includes Windows 7, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2016
  • Is the organisation's business system directly supported by the Connector application, or does the organisation's business system store its data in a database or file that can be accessed by the SQUIZZ.com Connector application? The Connector supports ODBC compatible databases, MS SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel (through ODBC), spreadsheet CSV files, XML files, JSON files, XML web services, JSON web services
  • Does the organisation's business system run on a computer network that is connected to the internet?
  • Does the organisation's business system run on a computer network that is connected to the internet with a static IP address, or a public domain that is mapped to the public IP address of the organisation's internet connection? This is only required if the organisation's suppliers, customers or people need to have the ability to retreive and load data such as purchase orders and invoices within the SQUIZZ.com platform, or if data needs to be sent to the business system from the SQUIZZ.com platform, such as sales orders and invoice payments.

When To Develop Or Use Software That Directly Integrates With The Platform's API

  • If the organisation's business system has a direct integration to the SQUIZZ.com platform's API.
  • If the organisation has the ability to hire software developers to modify or extend its business system software to connect with the SQUIZZ.com API.
  • If the organisation's business system runs in a Linux or other non Windows operating system, and that system cannot be connected to with the SQUIZZ.com Connector running on a separate Microsoft Windows computer in the same network.

If it is not feasible for the SQUIZZ.com Connector to be used to the connect the organisation's business systems, and the organisation does not have the ability to use/develop software that supports the SQUIZZ.com platform. Then the last options are to either ask business system software providers to make an integration to the platform available, change business systems, hire developers to extend and create addon solutions, talk with IT business systems consultants, or post a request for an integration with your business system software within the feeds on the SQUIZZ.com organisation's profile.

Connecting Business Systems With The SQUIZZ.com Connector Software

The SQUIZZ.com Connector software can be used to connect business systems into the platform that do not support directly connecting to the platform through its API. The Connector directly supports a number of popular business system software, including:

  • Attache
  • Datapel Warehouse Management System
  • MYOB AccountRight
  • MYOB AccountRight Premier
  • MYOB Retail Manager
  • MYOB Exo
  • Micronet Distribution
  • SAP Business One

The Connector can also be configured to read and write from the data sources that business systems use. So even if the connector does not directly support a business system, it can be configured by a IT data person to allow a system to be supported. The data sources that the Connector can read and write from include:

  • Spreadsheet files saved in CSV (comma separated values) format.
  • Excel spreadsheet files saved in the XLS file format (accessible through ODBC).
  • ODBC compatible databases, including:
    • MySQL
    • MariaDB
    • PostgreSQL
    • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft SQL Server databases. This allows for support for systems including:
    • Microsoft Dynamics
    • Jiwa
  • XML files
  • XML from web services, including:
    • Xero Accounting System
  • JSON files
  • JSON web services
  • Ecommerce Standards Documents (ESD) compatible web services.

If the business system that your organisation uses does not support one of these data sources then we would recommend contacting the software provider of the business system.  You may want to request them to modify their system to either provide a way that the Connector can connect to the organisation's system, or provide a direct integration into the SQUIZZ.com APIs.

Connecting Business Systems Directly Through the SQUIZZ.com API

The business system software that an organisation use for day-to-day operations may be able to integrate directly into the SQUIZZ.com platform if it supports it. When this occurs the business system can push the organisation's data using the platform's API, using the same method as the SQUIZZ.com Connector application. Additionally the software may support receiving organisation data from the platform, if it provides a web service that can accept data sent from the platform. The advantage of an organisation's business system integrating directly to the platform is that it can reduce the amount of software that is needed to be supported by the organisation's support staff, as well as reducing complexity in diagnosing problems if they arise. This disadvantages are that the business system software may not support all the data structures that the platform offers.

We would recommend talking to your organisation's business system software provider to see if they support integrating their software into the platform. If they do then you want to refer to their documentation on how to use their software to import data into the platform, as well as receive data. If the business system software does not support integrating into the platform then you may wish to provide them a link to the Integrate Software Into SQUIZZ.com document, or otherwise their system may be able to be integrated into the platform through the SQUIZZ.com Connector software by connecting the Connector to its underlying database or API.

Connecting Websites To Allow Purchase Order Importing

If an organisation has a website that is used to sell products to its customers, after the customer has created a sales order within the website, it is possible to redirect the customer to the SQUIZZ.com platform to all them to create and import the corresponding purchase order back into their own organisation's business system. This process can reduce the amount of data work that the purchasing person has to do since the SQUIZZ.com can handle importing the purchase order back into the organisation's connected system. This process saves time, money, and effort to help the customer manage their purchases more effectively.

To enable this process to happen the website needs to be able redirect the person to a specified URL within the SQUIZZ.com platform, and place the sales order data into a format that allows the data to be imported when the person is redirected. To see if an organisation's website can support redirecting the customer's purchase to the SQUIZZ.com platform it is recommended to talk to the software providers of the website to see if they can modify it to work with the SQUIZZ.com platform. If the website cannot then we would recommend that the software providers view the Integrate Software Into Squizz.com document.

Allow Business Systems To Raise Organisation Notifications Through API

The business system software that an organisation use for day-to-day operations may have the ability to send notifications to the SQUIZZ.com platform. When this occurs it can allow selected people connected to the organisation to receive notifications in the platform when events and activity occur within the business system software. This makes it easy for these selected people to receive notifications in central location, as well as be alerted to these notifications in platform's mobile apps. Multiple business systems associated to the organisation could be set to send notifications through to the platform. To see if the organisation's business systems capable of sending notifications to the SQUIZZ.com talk to software providers of the systems. If the systems cannot send notifications then you may wish to to advise them to view the Integrate Software Into SQUIZZ.com document on how they can develop the functionality into their software.

Setup Organisation API Credentials In The Platform

To allow either the installed SQUIZZ.com Connector software or other business system software to directly push an organisation's data into the SQUIZZ.com platform, credentials need to set up within the organisation's settings to give access to these external systems to do so. This ensures that external systems cannot upload and access data without express permission, ensuring that the organisation's data is protected. Both the Connector software and any other business system software can only push data into the platform via its Application Programming Interface (API). To set up credentials for an organisation in the API you must first be connected to the organisation and be designated as an administrator of the organisation. Once you have been given these credentials then follow the steps below to set up API organisation credentials:

  1. Login to the SQUIZZ.com platform from the Home page or mobile app.
  2. Click on the Organisations menu button in the top header bar.
  3. Scroll through your connected organisations and find the organisation you wish to modify settings for.
  4. Click on the Profile button.
  5. Within the organisation profile click on the Admin button.
  6. Click on the API Settings button.
  7. Record/copy the value set within the Squizz Organisation ID textbox.
  8. Record/copy the value set within the Squizz API Key textbox.
  9. In the Squizz API Password textbox type in a password that external software will need to use the platform's API. Try to make this password long, difficult and contain a random series of letters and numbers.
  10. In the Confirm Password textbox re-type the same password.
  11. Click on the Save button.

The API credentials of the organisation will be updated. You may need to then to set the Squizz Organisation ID, Squizz API Key and Squizz API Password values within the Connector software, or set it within other business system software that integrates with the SQUIZZ.com platform.

Warning: Avoid copying the API credentials into emails or storing on computers in an unencrypted form. Try to protect the API credentials by limiting the amount of people who know the credentials. Additionally limit the number of administrator people of the organisation to only those required. If you think that the organisation's API credentials have been compromised then change the Squizz API Password as soon as possible. It is important that these credentials are kept safe.

 

Setup Connector Or External Business System Credentials In The Platform

To allow the SQUIZZ.com platform to send data to an organisation's business software, the platform needs to know where it can send the data to through the public internet and into the organisation's computer network, or cloud provider of its business systems. The platform can be configured to send data to the SQUIZZ.com Connector installed on an organisation's publicly accessible computer, from where the Connector can send it onto the connected business system. Alternatively the platform can send the data directly to a business system if it supports directly receiving data from the SQUIZZ.com platform.

In both cases the SQUIZZ.com platform will only send data if it can successfully establish a secure connection using the HTTPS protocol and 256bit encryption. This ensures that the data is encrypted and protected as it traverses through the public internet, similar to using a banking website or application on a secure webpage.

If an organisation is hosting its business software on its own computer network then the organisation can create and install a free TLS/SSL security certificate issued by SQUIZZ.com onto the machine that the SQUIZZ.com Connector software is installed on. Otherwise the certificate can be installed on the machine that the business system software that is directly receiving incoming connections on. If a cloud provider is used to host an organisation's business system then that cloud provider will need to provide a HTTPS connection to its software that is compatible with the SQUIZZ.com platform API, using a widely trusted TLS/SSL security certificate.

Once the SQUIZZ.com Connector has been installed and configured on the organisation's computer system, or the business system has been installed and configured, then to allow the platform to send data to either system you must first be connected to the organisation and be designated as an administrator of the organisation. Once you have been given these credentials then follow the steps below to set up the Connector or external business system credentials:

  1. Login to the SQUIZZ.com platform from the Home page or mobile app.
  2. Click on the Organisations menu button in the top/side header bar.
  3. Scroll through your connected organisations and find the organisation you wish to modify settings for.
  4. Click on the Profile button.
  5. Within the organisation profile click on the Admin button.
  6. Click on the Connector Settings button.
  7. In the Host/IP Address:textbox type the public IP address or domain that the Connector or business system is accessible from.
  8. In the Port textbox type in the port number that incoming connections from the SQUIZZ.com platform will be listened for in the computers/routers accepting the incoming request.
  9. In the Adaptor Key textbox type in the key of the adaptor that has been set up within the SQUIZZ.com Connector software, or other business system.
  10. In the Adaptor Password textbox type in the password of the adaptor that has been set up within the SQUIZZ.com Connector software, or other business system.
  11. In the Allow Live Data Requests drop down set its value to Yes if you wish to allow selected people connected to the organisation in SQUIZZ.com to retrieve data queried in realtime from the connected business system. This includes records associated to customer accounts such as invoices, sales orders, credits, payments, and transactions. It also includes records associated to supplier accounts, such as purchase orders.
  12. In the Allow Data Exports drop down set its value to Yes if you wish to allow SQUIZZ.com to send/export data to the connected business system. The data exported includes sales orders, purchase orders, customer account payments.
  13. Click on the Save button.

The connector credentials of the organisation will be updated. You can test if the platform is able to connect to the SQUIZZ.com Connector software or other business system software by clicking the Test Connection button within the Connector Settings dialog.

Create A Free Transport Layer Security (TLS/SSL) Certificate

The SQUIZZ.com platform allows any registered organisations to create Transport Layer Security (TLS)  certificates for free. These certificates are also known as (Security Socket Layer) SSL certificates and are used to secure data transferred across the public internet, and other computer networks. They can be used to allow the SQUIZZ.com platform to send data such as sales orders and purchase orders across to an organisation's business systems. Any security certificates created in the platform are signed by SQUIZZ.com's intermediate and root certificates, which must also be installed on the computer that will receive HTTPS requests from the platform. To learn more information about TLS certificates in the platform read the Organisational Data document.

To create a new TLS certificate for an organisation you must first be connected to the organisation and be designated as an administrator of the organisation. Once you have been given these credentials then follow these steps below:

  1. Login to the SQUIZZ.com platform from the Home page or mobile app.
  2. Click on the Organisations menu button in the top header bar.
  3. Scroll through your connected organisations and find the organisation you wish to modify settings for.
  4. Click on the Profile button.
  5. Within the organisation profile click on the Admin button.
  6. Click on the Security Certificates button.
  7. Click on the Create Certificate button.
  8. In the Public Domain/Public IP Address textbox type either the public IP address associated to the internet connection that the computer will accept incoming requests on, or otherwise type in the public DNS domain that points to the public IP address of the computer accepting incoming requests.
  9. Click on the Save button.

A new TLS certificate will be created. Before the certificate can be downloaded and installed it must first be verified. To get the certificate verified a verification request must be sent to the platform's API from a computer that uses an internet connection that matches the public IP address or linked domain set for the certificate. This verification check ensures that the organisation has ownership of the internet location that the certificate will use to accept secure connections from. If SQUIZZ.com Connector application is installed on the computer where the certificate is to be installed on, then it can be used to verify the certificate. Read the Connector Security document on learn more about using the Connector to secure incoming connections and verify TLS certificates created within the platform.

Download A Verified Transport Layer Security (TLS/SSL) Certificate

To download a verified and active TLS Certificate that has been created for an organisation within the platform  you must first be connected to the organisation and be designated as an administrator of the organisation. Once you have been given these credentials then follow these steps below to download the TLS certificate:

  1. Login to the SQUIZZ.com platform from the Home page or mobile app.
  2. Click on the Organisations menu button in the top header bar.
  3. Scroll through your connected organisations and find the organisation you wish to modify settings for.
  4. Click on the Profile button.
  5. Within the organisation profile click on the Admin button.
  6. Click on the Security Certificates button.
  7. Click on the Download Certificate link for the certificate that you wish to download.
  8. Click on the Download Private Key link to download the private key associated to the certificate. Ensure that this file is not stored or sent through any insecure mediums.
  9. Click on the Download Squizz Intermediate CA certificate link.
  10. Click on the Download Squizz Root CA Certificate link.

The Certificate file downloaded in step 7 contains the public TLS certificate file used to secure incoming connections. This file can be freely passed to any computer or person. The private key downloaded in step 8 should only be placed on the server where the certificate is to be installed. This private key should not be given to any person. The private key ensures that other 3rd parties cannot decrypt traffic between the platform and the computer where the certificate is installed. The Intermediate CA certificate and root CA certificates downloaded in steps 9 and 10 must be installed on the computer where the created certificate is installed. The intermediate and root CA certificates indicate that SQUIZZ.com issued the organisation's TLS certificate. Only other computers that have the SQUIZZ intermediate and root CA certificates installed can make secure connections to the computer the organisation's certificate is installed.

If the organisation's certificate is to be installed in certain software such as the SQUIZZ.com connector or particular web server software, then the public certificate and private key need to be combined to make a pks file. Read the Connector Security document on how to do this and learn more about how to secure the Connector if using it to accept incoming connections from the SQUIZZ.com platform.

Revocate An Organisation's Transport Layer Security (TLS/SSL) Certificate

To revocate a TLS Certificate that has been created for an organisation within the platform you must first be connected to the organisation and be designated as an administrator of the organisation. Revocating a security certificate means that you no longer want the certificate to be used to secure connections. Once you have been given credentials to be an administrator then follow these steps below to revocate the TLS certificate:

  1. Login to the SQUIZZ.com platform from the Home page or mobile app.
  2. Click on the Organisations menu button in the top/side header bar.
  3. Scroll through your connected organisations and find the organisation you wish to modify settings for.
  4. Click on the Profile button.
  5. Within the organisation profile click on the Admin button.
  6. Click on the Security Certificates button.
  7. Click on the Download Certificate link for the certificate that you wish to download.
  8. Click on the Revocate Certificate button.

The certificate's status will be changed to revocated and no longer be able to downloaded by other administrators.

Delete An Organisation's Transport Layer Security (TLS/SSL) Certificate

To delete a TLS Certificate that has been created for an organisation within the platform you must first be connected to the organisation and be designated as an administrator of the organisation. Once you have been given these credentials then follow these steps below to revocate the TLS certificate:

  1. Login to the SQUIZZ.com platform from the Home page or mobile app.
  2. Click on the Organisations menu button in the top header bar.
  3. Scroll through your connected organisations and find the organisation you wish to modify settings for.
  4. Click on the Profile button.
  5. Within the organisation profile click on the Admin button.
  6. Click on the Security Certificates button.
  7. Click on the Delete Certificate button next to the certificate that is to be deleted.

The certificate will be permanently deleted and no longer be downloadable by other administrator's within the platform.