NetSuite CRM Integration

We were brought in by Cambridge Cognition's lead web developer to integrate NetSuite with their ExpressionEngine website.



Cambridge Cognition is a software provider in the neurosciences field.



We built an integration between a LAMP stack CMS and NetSuite.



Automating and streamlining the flow of incoming sales leads pays for itself.



This integration has been running continuously for more than 5 years.


How Many?

Thousands of sales leads have passed through this system since it was launched.



Everything runs through a single configurable module running inside the CMS.


Cambridge Cognition, a software company serving the efforts of academic and enterprise neuroscience research, needed to integrate their website's CRM with NetSuite. Their sales teams managed the flow of incoming clients through the NetSuite CRM and needed to streamline the process of recording contact submissions, white paper downloads, and other sales touchpoints. The sales teams needed a reasonable history of their prospects' movement through the website as well so that they could be better prepared to anticipate and answer specific questions.

We wrote a custom module for Cambridge Cognition's CMS to integrate with NetSuite and pass in a rich set of customer sales data.


The Objects

NetSuite follows a standard CRM data model with objects such as companies, contacts, leads, tickets, &c. Cambridge Cognition needed us to populate these objects depending on various conditions encountered during various customer actions. Our code included built-in lookups that checked whether a given record already existed in NetSuite. In these cases, we updated existing records. In other cases, we created new records. And an extensive set of fields were mapped between CMS and CRM.

Tension in Logic

The system that we built for this client needed to be extensible. It needed to adapt over time to Cambridge Cognition's changing marketing and sales initiatives. This meant that we needed it to quickly acknowledge and work with new marketing campaigns and new forms of business logic. In situations like this, where we are dealing with a complex system that must gracefully adapt over time, there is a tension between fully user-configurable systems and fully hardcoded developer-only systems. We can build a system where a novice user can configure all aspects of it, or we can build a system where there are no configuration options at all and a developer must make all changes directly to code. For Cambridge Cognition, we developed a hybrid of these two approaches.


The Virtue of Hybrids

What we built for Cambridge Cognition is capable of being adapted by system admins, but in ways that limit the damage of potential configuration mistakes. Another layer of configuration is available to novice developers through a configuration file. And finally, the code itself is modular and adaptable and capable of being quickly evolved by a reasonably experienced LAMP stack developer. This is a hybrid approach to where system logic and complexity are located. It's worked well since the system has been running continuously with little intervention for more than 5 years.


The most important thing to a website is reliability. The reliable flow of revenue through a web system is key to the success of the business that depends on it. A well-executed integration between the CMS that drives a website and the CRM that supports the flow of prospective customers through it can be a game-changer. The unimpeded flow of customers through the online sales process leads to revenue that flows and grows reliably over time.

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