DigitalShipper Data Portal

DigitalShipper Data Portal

The DigitalShipper Data Portal is a centralized database for staging orders ready to be shipped through DigitalShipper Enterprise.  The DigitalShipper Data Portal includes a standard “out of the box” interface to DigitalShipper Enterprise that fully automates common shipping processes from hazardous material shipments to international shipments to shipments with carrier accessorials such as Insurance or Billing Options.

We have taken the most widespread and complex business rules related to shipping and packaged them into a “ready to use” solution.  No programming needed – just data.

The DigitalShipper Data Portal is built on the Microsoft SQL Server platform and is completely accessible by your IT department, DBAs (Database Administrators) and programmers to control the flow of data without proprietary tools.  Data can be integrated from across your enterprise through the DigitalShipper Data Portal using SQL Server tools such as DTS (Data Transformation Services), direct table importing, or a connected data source (ODBC/OLE DB).

Central Data Whether your data comes from a single host system or additional sources such as an e-commerce web store, legacy database, spreadsheet, or text file, the DigitalShipper Data Portal becomes a single, central database to place all your order information so DigitalShipper Enterprise only needs to worry about communicating with the Portal.  The results of shipping such as tracking number, freight charges, accessorial fees, billable weights are then available within the DigitalShipper Data Portal so you can extract the data to wherever it is needed – back to your host system for invoicing, EDI database for ASN (Advanced Ship Notice) creation, or text file for proof of shipping.  You control where the data comes from and where the data goes.

Adaptive Quickly adapt to new and/or changing business practices by simply modifying the data.  The flexible shipping rules (i.e. summary, detail, per shipment, per package, accessorial) enable customized workflow and data processing.  The standard attributes and semantics used in the Portal allow you to place the relevant data in a common field regardless of the carrier that will be used at shipping.  You can control how and when the data is loaded (i.e. multi-pass, multi-source, near-time, batch load) and how and when the data needs to be extracted (i.e. after shipping, after end of day, multi-destination).

Rapid Implementation In three easy steps you will be shipping: 1.) Install DigitalShipper Enterprise, the DigitalShipper Portal database and the standard Plug-in 2.) Setup users, workstations, and carrier accounts in DigitalShipper Enterprise 3.) Populate data in the DigitalShipper Portal database.

Cost Effective You will benefit immediately from the advanced shipping automation features that are part of the standard “out of the box” Plug-in interface to DigitalShipper Enterprise.  Populating the DigitalShipper Data Portal automatically invokes the pre-defined shipping, billing, package, and accessorial rules when you go to ship the order through DigitalShipper Enterprise.  Using the DigitalShipper Data Portal minimizes or eliminates the need for our Professional Services and a Custom Plug-in.

The DigitalShipper Data Portal vs. a Custom Plug-in

Both the DigitalShipper Data Portal and a Custom Plug-in offer many benefits to you and turn DigitalShipper Enterprise into a robust shipping solution that is tailored around your needs.  Here are some of the factors that will help you decide which one is best for you:

Flexibility A Custom Plug-in will provide the most flexibility when it comes to integrating business rules and exchanging data between your host system and DigitalShipper Enterprise.  The Custom Plug-in is unique to your company and is tailored to your specific needs.  The DigitalShipper Data Portal has all the shipping rules pre-defined in its interface to DigitalShipper Enterprise and based on the data you provide, depends on which standard rules are invoked at the time of shipping.  The DigitalShipper Data Portal’s flexibility is mostly recognized when you need to load data from different resources because the interface between the DigitalShipper Data Portal and DigitalShipper Enterprise doesn’t change.

Resources Typically customers purchase our Professional Services to handle the project from start to finish when implementing a Custom Plug-in; however, because of the open architecture your programmers can do the majority of the work if desired.  The resources needed from your end usually involve a project manager, someone familiar with your current shipping processes, someone familiar with where the data resides on the host system, and someone within the IT department to handle the hardware for the server and workstations.

The DigitalShipper Data Portal requires that someone within your company is completely responsible for the data input and output.  In some cases, Professional Services are still needed to assist with the install, setup and understanding about the built-in shipping rules and general carrier compliance.  With a Custom Plug-In your resources are used only during the implementation, whereas with the DigitalShipper Data Portal someone within your organization must own the data exchange and support is ongoing.

Cost to Implement A Custom Plug-in will be more costly than the DigitalShipper Data Portal to implement.  The Custom Plug-in is more costly because it is designed specifically for your company.  Projects involving our Professional Services to build a Custom Plug-in range from 50 hours to 250 hours depending on the amount of business rules and complexities.  The DigitalShipper Data Portal already has all the shipping rules pre-defined; costs would only be associated with training and assisting with the data exchange between the DigitalShipper Data Portal and your host system(s) if needed.

Time to Implement The DigitalShipper Data Portal already has an interface to DigitalShipper Enterprise so all that is needed is data to start shipping using the built-in automation.  You can literally have your shipping system up and running in one day.  A Custom Plug-in not only requires the data to be programmatically mapped between your host system and DigitalShipper Enterprise, it will require that code be written to handle your business rules.  Within a couple days you can be exchanging the necessary data; however, most time is consumed defining and implementing your business rules.

In summary, there is no wrong choice.  Whether you use the DigitalShipper Data Portal or a Custom Plug-in you can take charge of all your outbound shipping with a powerful, comprehensive solution that allows you to focus on developing your business.