Understanding the Need for CRM & ERP Systems Integration
When companies undergo a digital transformation, they are typically trying to gain efficiencies in critical business processes and also a high level of visibility into those processes. Of all those processes, there are many that are the fundamental backbone of how an enterprise runs. Therefore, it’s critical in 2019 to have more visibility and more control of those workflows than in years past.
Investing in technology like enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and customer relationship management (CRM) software helps enable that control and visibility, and they work best when they function as a cohesive unit. It’s why ERP integration and CRM integration are top of mind for many IT professionals, line-of-business managers, and executive-level stakeholders.
ERP software aims to simplify and centralize business processes within an enterprise, which include order history, planning and scheduling, and other data-driven workflows. When enterprises leverage comprehensive ERP software, it provides an easier way to manage the critical parts of a business.
CRM systems help manage customer data, purchases, and contact information, which is invaluable for sales and marketing teams. Enterprises utilize CRM to gain better insights to their customers to make more informed decisions when it comes to selling to and interacting with them. Additionally, companies can more effectively manage their ecosystem relationships to upsell and cross-sell their software and other solutions.
With a CRM handling the customer interactions on the front end and an ERP managing the business processes on the back end, it’s important to integrate the two systems so you have an accurate view of customer information once an order has been made, which includes purchase history, shipping and billing data, and other financial information and supply chain management tools.
Here’s how an ecosystem-driven approach enables modern integration between ERP and CRM solutions.
Five Key ERP, CRM Integration Benefits
ERP and CRM both offer enterprises a great deal of benefits on their own. It’s those enterprises that manage to successfully integrate both via a cloud application integration platform that truly capitalize on all that each has to offer. Here are a few of the ERP-CRM integration benefits available for any business:
1. Gain Complete Customer Views
The opening of this blog mentioned the value of true, end-to-end visibility of your business processes. When you integrate ERP systems and CRM systems together, that’s exactly what you are getting. Whether it’s sales, support, marketing, or just general customer data, your enterprise will have all the aggregate information it needs to make more qualified decisions on how to maintain and improve your business relationship with customers.
2. Improve Efficiency
Companies too often are stuck spending time on manual, arduous integration tasks that chew up valuable employee resources. Leveraging an integration platform with prebuilt ERP system and CRM system connectors helps manage these processes because they automate the workflows for you and enhance productivity.
3. Eliminate Data Duplication
When your ERP and CRM platforms are siloed and not working together, you are likely to run across duplicate customer data. Some of it might not be totally duplicate, so then it’s tough to determine which should be the master record. An integrated platform removes the chance that you will encounter duplicate or inaccurate data and helps improve data-driven processes across your business ecosystem.
4. Promote Employee Collaboration
Working cross-departmentally with a connected, integrate staff allows for more functionality because everyone is finally on the same page. Previously, accessing the same data at the same time was impossible. Now, real-time data is constantly being shared and used, and employees, regardless of their department, can access up-to-the-minute information whenever they need to interact with or gain information about a customer.
5. Achieve Quicker Sales Approvals
When sales and operations teams have real-time data access, they are able to move customer contracts through the approval process much more quickly. Same-day signing is now a realistic goal because the required information is centralized and up to date, and the processes can be expedited. The results include maximized business opportunities and faster time to revenue.
Typical Challenges with ERP, CRM Integration
While those benefits to a successful CRM and ERP integration strategy do sound rewarding, a few potential roadblocks could be in your way. The most likely hiccup revolves around standardizing all your data across your business processes. You must ensure that each system that’s connected can accept the data being exchanged, and that requires data transformation that supports various formats.
Additionally, cleaning up old and outdated customer data is necessary for a strong CRM-ERP integration. A central integration platform is designed to give you a modern, clean approach to integrating the systems handling your customer data, but it’s difficult to realize the full value if you haven’t scrubbed those customers who haven’t been actual customers in years.
How to Create a Successful ERP, CRM Integration Strategy
Each enterprise is going to have different needs than the next company, but the common denominator for each is finding an integration platform that can reliably support its integration needs now and in the future. A central, unified platform supports all integration patterns required in your business ecosystem, whether it’s enterprise B2B integration, application integration, SaaS integration, or big data integration, and also supports the various EDI and non-EDI data formats those patterns rely on. It's the cornerstone of any success ERP integration strategy.
Cleo Integration Cloud features ERP and CRM connectors to help you integrate the critical applications to power your enterprise. With integration connectors for ERPs like NetSuite and Acumatica to e-commerce applications like Amazon and Magento and everything in-between, Cleo enables you to seamlessly connect and integrate with the applications that your business needs to grow, evolve, and serve your customers at the level they deserve.
Looking for guidance on ERP system integration or best practices in choosing CRM integration software? Learn how Cleo Integration Cloud enables ERP integration for the world’s leading enterprises.