Integrating ERP AND CRM Systems

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Fawad on 05-06-2010

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Introduction

With advance in computers and computing, and inherent competitions in every field, the processes involved in organisations are enhanced by combing two or more functions together, and making them efficient.  One such integration is that of the ERP/CRM systems.  This is discussed in detail in this article

Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP

Enterprise resource planning, which commonly is called as ERP, is a way to combine the data and process involved in an organisation into one system. This involves a number of hardware and software to accomplish completely and make a single database. ERP is involved in information systems that cover all the areas functioning in the enterprise. It performs the main corporate activities of the company and is directly related to the customer services. Nowadays ERP has found it advantageous to integrate its functions with other branches of an organisation like the Human Resource, Supply chain management, Customer Relations Management etc. Among these integrations, the one that involves ERP and CRM is found to be a good combination.

Customer Relations Management or CRM

CRM is basically deals with the relations with the customers, those may be future customers too are included in this.  It combines customers with the business processes and technology so that customers have a good idea of the technology behind something they are interested in and also the operations involved. CRM builds a good relationship of the customer with the organisation.

Points to consider before integration

Some points have to be considered before planning to integrate ERP and CRM of your organisation they are

  • Make a map of your business – before going in for any integration and a thorough study of your business and make a map of it. Now, consider the places where integration in possible and can bring about a benefit for your organisation
  • Understand the use – try to learn the use of the integration and figure out if a single database would feed both the systems of your organisation.

Differences between ERP and CRM

The main difference that separates ERP and CRM is the point of operation, where ERP operates to engulf all systems of operation of the company including customer relations, CRM is directly involved in the relations of the organisation with the customers. They differ in the storing and processing of the data, which sometimes may make them incompatible with one another in certain industries. Proper study is always necessary to find if this integration would be of benefit to the functioning of the type of business you are in.

Advantages of integrating ERP and CRM

There are a number of advantages in integrating ERP with CRM. Some of them are enumerated below

  1. The business process is optimised fully rather than one part at one time. this would bring  definite success  in the business of the organisation.
  2. The ERP system gives information that is involved with the company to the share holders of the company, CRM makes it possible for these share holders to actually buy the shares and become shareholders, so their integration surely will bring about a successful marketing.
  3. This integration would make it possible to streamline the order process of the organisation and offload some of the process in the order department.
  4. It gives a clear idea of, and a better result in identifying future customers, organising their orders so that it could be delivered when and where required and also to retain these customers for a long time with good relationship strategies.
  5. It gives a chance to management team to understand the value of each customer interaction to the maximum and this naturally increases the corporate value of the organisation.
  6. The integration makes it possible to use a single database for both the departments, thus giving a clear picture about the customer. This would not be possible if separate databases involve the two departments because they would be independent of one another, and hence may not be able to learn about the customer completely.
  7. Without integration, when a customer places an order in paper,  the order passes from one computer to another and takes a long time to get processed, sometimes, even leading to a loss of the order form. This lag can be minimised when a single computer is used for the process.
  8. This makes it possible to integrate the automated process involving the quote, order submission, processing and fulfilment of the order with the customer account status, history of the order and the availability of the product all in one chain making a complete sales process possible in a single computer. Without this integration an order could get processed without knowing the inventory in the company stores or the balance present in the customer’s account, which may lead to multiple problems later.
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