Strengthen your business with ERP / CRM integration!
Many companies today use both an ERP system and a CRM system to manage its core business processes and customer relationships. While some comprehensive ERP solutions also offer integrated CRM functionality, this is not always the case. Providing a solid, standardized foundation for data sharing between these systems is key to managing your business and your sales processes efficiently.
For many companies, the ERP and CRM systems are the most crucial components in their application infrastructure. To obtain “best-of-breed”, these systems are often purchased separately and from different vendors. Sooner or later, people in the organization are starting to see the limitations and inflexibility issues that arise when the ERP and CRM system cannot communicate and share data.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A CRM system is a system that manages a company’s relationships and interactions with current and potential customers. The system stores and processes data from different communication channels (for example the company's website, telephone, email, live chat, marketing materials and social media).
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
An ERP system is a type of comprehensive business management software that a company or organization uses to collect, store, and manage business data, for example: accounting information, inventory, production capacity, orders and invoices, shipping data, financial data, supply chain management details, finance, HR, distribution, and more.
The benefits of ERP / CRM integration
Given the vast amounts of data stored and generated in your ERP and CRM systems, integration can have many benefits. Here are a few examples:
- Since your ERP and CRM systems store their data in different databases, you will consistently have to worry about keeping them synchronised. With an integration solution, you can minimize “data redundancy”, avoid data silos and manual duplication of information.
- Sales and marketing personnel can get a more complete picture of an existing customer, and uncover opportunities for upselling based on the customer’s need for product upgrades, service, etc.
- A CRM and ERP integration solution provides employees with access to important information in real-time and they can work more efficiently. With a little extra work, you can create dashboards and interfaces that are tailor-made for specific user groups, thereby reducing the need for people to become proficient in both systems.
ERP / CRM integration done right
To get the most out of your ERP / CRM integration solution, keep the following in mind:
- Before you start, gather the project stakeholders and put together a detailed list of business requirements. Revisit the list regularly during the project to make sure you are “on track” and meeting your goals.
- Avoid “point-to-point” integration which is expensive and difficult to maintain in the long run.
With an abundance of APIs, it is easier than ever before to create a "digital spaghetti", resulting in poor data quality, mismatches and strong personal dependencies. This approach to integration will make you less agile and you will not be able to respond to your organization's need for change in an efficient way. You will not realize the true potential of process automation and streamlining.
- Use a standardized integration platform and make sure that new connections can be set up quickly and easily. Choose a vendor with that can provide connectors/accelerators to the systems you are working with, and has experience working with integration projects in your industry.
- Consider hosting your integration solution in the cloud – cloud services are more affordable, more flexible and offer pay-as-you-go pricing that may lower the total cost of ownership.