Companies have purchased and deployed ERP and CRM systems separately from each other, but integrating the two systems can reap considerable benefits around time to market, improved cash flow and agility. Optimizing the business process as a whole, rather than individual parts, is the surest path to a successful incorporation project, experts say. The benefits of ERP-CRM integration are huge. ERP systems provide much-needed internal information that can be shared with new stakeholders. CRM systems provide the entry point for stakeholders to involve with an organization. You can’t really have one without the other and be successful in the marketplace.
Traditional ERP and CRM have been installed as a patchwork of different applications. The CRM space is focused on the contact center, campaign management, help desk, and self-service. But it is not in itself supporting one end-to-end business process. One of the big shifts we are seeing is to make the end-to-end orientation front and center and then integrate from that perspective.
Here are some tips from experts to help ensure a successful ERP-CRM integration benefits project:
1. Take a business procedure view of ERP-CRM integration
One of the first steps in ERP-CRM integration is to begin with an enterprise process view. Organizations need to think about how integration will improve the business as a whole rather than just a particular business process. While this might sound instinctive, organizations normally start looking at this from an IT-centric perspective or from a departmental perspective.
2. Regulate how ERP-CRM integration can benefit end users
What is good for the company is not essentially good for the individual employee. In order for these integrations to work, everyone has to see a quantifiable benefit. For the sales reps, it cannot go from five minutes to take an order to a day. If the order goes in more fittingly and there are fewer issues with the order being shipped, it means the sales reps can get paid their commission more quickly. That means, as part of the integration process, the sales reps must be able to see how it benefits them personally.
3. Reduce fears around loss of control
While improved integration can mean enhanced access to financial data for sales reps — thereby eliminating repeated phone calls and emails to accounting when processing an order — organizations must take care over the data they make available. The finance team might be reluctant to allow greater access to accounting systems if the new process opens a door to unapproved transactions. For example, increased access to ERP could enable salespeople to twist the rules to rush a sale through. In the worst cases, access could open a gate for a larger body of employees to engage in financial impropriety.