Today's post is written by Matt Baker, Practice Director at Sonoma Partners.
Businesses often choose to employ multiple systems to ensure that processes run as efficiently as possible. More times than not, these systems include a Customer Relationship Management solution (CRM) and an Enterprise Resource Planning solution (ERP). Your ERP system provides your key stakeholders with much needed internal information, while your CRM system creates the entry point for customer engagement.
Without a clear CRM and ERP integration strategy, your organization may not be realizing it's full potential in the marketplace.
In our experience, we've seen 85% of our net new implementations begin with some type of integration between CRM and ERP, and close to 100% of our implementations have some sort of long-term integration plan.
There are three key reasons for integrating CRM and ERP:
- Efficiency: Resulting in reduced process steps
- Usability: True 360-degree view of the customer in one solution
- Data Quality: Clean accurate data and reduced errors when inputting data
In order to successfully integrate your CRM solution with your ERP solution, you need to be able to identify a clear ERP integration strategy. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself as you start to build this strategy:
Is integration needed?
Most companies do not start with a clean slate when implementing CRM as there is usually a significant legacy factor. The majority of organizations have pieced their business applications together over time and through acquisitions. This usually yields a business application portfolio that does not support the business goals, requirements, or processes. An integration strategy is crucial, as the ERP solution is the backbone of a business's operations and the primary system-of-record.
How will this benefit the end user?
In order for these types of integrations to work, everyone involved has to recognize a measurable benefit. If it currently takes a sales rep 5 emails and 4 phone calls to get an order status; you can reduce that activity time to under a minute by implementing a CRM system. That improved efficiency is an example of a big win.
How does this affect control of data?
Most financial teams cringe at the idea of their ERP financial data being displayed in CRM. They worry about how the data might be manipulated or changed. Remember that ERP is the system-of-record for this type of information, and fears can be eliminated by doing a one-way sync into CRM.
How do you assign process ownership?
You don't want to put everything in both systems; you want to use each system for what it is best suited for. For example, Product Information should be mastered within ERP. Contact information should be mastered within CRM.
The above questions are just a few of those you will need to examine as you define your ERP to CRM Integration Strategy. These questions will continue to evolve as your business changes. Contact Sonoma Partners today to find out more information on how we can help you successfully integrate your ERP and CRM solutions.