Data volumes that every modern business has to deal with make the use of innovative technologies irreplaceable. Different departments of organizations process different kinds of information, working towards a common goal. Eventually, the purpose of all this info is to help a business organization to satisfy the needs of the clientele. Therefore, for improved efficiency and better transparency, it’s essential to avoid any disorganization in the general data flow.
If you don’t have a comprehensive software solution that covers all the needs of your business and don’t plan to build one, there are other options to improve your efficiency. For example, ERP and CRM integration can help to discover new growth points for your company. Today, we’ll consider the major benefits such integration can bring and the challenges that it is fraught with.
Why Bother if Everything Works
First of all, let’s answer the most obvious questions: what’s ERP and CRM integration and why do I need it? Two separate apps may do the trick for you and turning them into a single system may not seem so important. Indeed, in some cases, a bunch of separate apps is enough to run the business with the required efficiency. Especially if you have a small company. Additionally, some custom ERP development companies can deliver solutions with included CRM features expanding the system capabilities to a certain extent.
However, standalone CRM apps built with a focus on business-client collaboration can better cover the needs your sales and marketing specialists have. Such apps are initially designed to follow the best practices to which your specialists are most probably committed because of their previous experience. ERP systems, on the other hand, are intended to work with data related to operation-oriented activities, which makes them not the best-suited tools for customer management.
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CRM and ERP applications work with data from different universes. CRM handles the part of your business that “looks” toward the clients. Unlike CRM solutions, ERP apps cover business processes that are usually hidden from outside observers. Therefore, these systems can’t do each other’s work, but you can make them share the overlapping data. ERP and CRM integration enable automated synchronization of consistent information generated by both these systems. It helps to get a clear view of how current business processes affect customer experience. It can be achieved through different means. For example, some CRM and ERP systems enable built-in third-party integrations functionality. Third-party API tools or custom coding are more labor-intensive options that enable better customization and flexibility.
ERP and CRM Integration Benefits
It depends on the specifics of your current systems which way of integration will guarantee a better outcome. In any case, you can count on multiple benefits for your business. For example, you can effortlessly eliminate data duplication and redundancy. When your systems work with no synchronization between them, there are pretty high chances that they will contain duplicated customer data, such as contact information, for example. Besides increased labor costs caused by the necessity of inserting the same data twice, it can complicate further analysis and increase the probability of mistakes. When you work with a comprehensive system, employees from different departments can get a real-time view of currently available enterprise-wide data. In this scenario, the risk of miscommunication and data redundancy will be kept to a minimum.
Secondly, ERP and CRM system integration enables end-to-end visibility of all your current business processes. Every piece of data from production capacity and marketing campaigns to a specific client phone number will be just a few clicks away from you. For example, you’ll be able to compare the number of raw materials in stock with the forecasted demand to develop a more accurate production strategy.
Read Also How to Implement an ERP Solution that Will Turn Your Business into a Blooming Garden
Speaking of market demand, CRM and ERP integration with a pinch of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms can turn your data into a source of valuable marketing insights. Your system can automatically analyze all the information you have and recognize patterns invisible to the naked eye. Say if your marketing team decides to start an email discount campaign dedicated to the New Year holidays. In this scenario, the CRM app can find the correlation between the timing of performed actions and the actual purchases, project this data into future years to make sure you’ll have enough items in stock, and report you the potential bottlenecks based on customer feedback, so you can optimize your logistics.
If your company has multiple departments, clarification of certain data is a process that may take a considerable amount of time. With an integrated system, you can expect a better collaboration between employees. Access to a software solution that provides real-time data frees you from the need to send emails to find out how many products are currently available and if the company can produce a certain number of them on time. The automated notification system is an additional measure to ensure that everybody’s on the same page.
Integration Challenges You Better Be Prepared For
Unfortunately, everything has its price as well as ERP and CRM integration. The first challenge to consider is related to the data itself. For example, you can adopt an off-the-shelf ERP system. Over time, you can decide that its functionality is not enough and apply for custom CRM development services. At some point, you can no longer deny yourself the pleasure of integrating these two systems.
The question is what data formats these solutions use. Most probably, different developers don’t share the same view on how to store the data and use different database management systems. Therefore, a thorough analysis of both systems is required if you want to ensure data compatibility and eliminate the risks of losing important information. Additionally, it may be helpful to determine which information has zero value to not overload the new system with obsolete records.
Some ERP and CRM systems may provide integration features, making it easier to share the data between them without involving any third parties. However, it’s important to evaluate your IT department’s expertise to ensure that the process of fusing two systems together won’t cause any issues. If you have any doubts, it can be a good decision to hire a dedicated development team to take care of everything. In this case, you can be sure of the safety of all your data.
Dealing with sensitive business data can be tricky sometimes. It’s important to document each step to make sure that you have a solid basis for making data-driven decisions. On the other hand, without due experience, you risk overloading yourself with unnecessary data and losing valuable insights in the abundance of duplicate and obsolete information. A systematic approach to data collection and storage must become one of your major priorities. Only in this case, you’ll be sure that your data works for you and you do not spend efforts to support a system that has minimal business importance. ERP and CRM integration can become your first step toward a well-designed data ecosystem that will turn the business information you accumulated from a burden into a helper.
If you’re looking for a reliable team of developers with substantial expertise in ERP and CRM systems development, contact us.