What is integration between CRM and ERP? And what are the Benefits??

Information Islands

Integration seems to be a buzz word at the moment. We are hearing from customers who require their disparate business systems 'talk' to each other!

Many organizations are feeling pain because they have 'information islands'. What I mean by 'information islands' is that they have various software solutions run by different departments. The pain that this causes them is that if the departments are not communicating there can be a delay or a breakdown that can hurt the smooth running of there Business.

Let's look at one imaginary scenario where integration between disparate business systems can deliver huge benefits. A small children's clothing manufacturer who supplies boutique stores throughout North America has a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that is used by its Sales and Marketing Department to manage new opportunities and existing customers.

Orders are recorded into the system but have to be manually sent through to the Finance Department. Additionally when goods are shipped there is another manual process that is recorded into the CRM. The Sales Team has no visibility of stock levels. Nor do they have any visibility of accounts that are on-hold or waiting payment. Often they will take a client order and then be asked by Finance to call the customer back to say they are out of stock or that they need to pay before another shipment can be made.

Adding to the Sales Department's frustration is that Finance does not necessarily inform them immediately of an issue. Sometimes there is a 24 to 48 hour delay in getting back to a customer! All the Sales Team wants to be able to do is offer a better service to their Customers!

The Finance Department is responsible for the Enterprise Resource Planning system. Their system handles all new customer credit requests, invoicing, credit and stock control. They are always chasing their tails as the Company is very busy. They try and keep track of stock but sometimes the levels drop to low and they get an irate Sales Team member calling them.

They would like to send out a daily list of accounts that are on hold but never seem to get to it! They realize that it would be good if the Sales Team could let their delinquent customers know that they can't order until a payment is received! But they just don't have the time, especially as the Sales team are always calling them about stock or credit control! 

This scenario is a classic example of 'information island' where one company has two systems managed and maintained by different departments and no visibility for their colleagues. So what is the solution?

Integration between the CRM and ERP.

By connecting the two systems and adding intelligent business process into the mix the information islands would disappear. We know that Finance does not want Sales dabbling in their system and Sales likewise don't need finance watching their system. However by having the systems connected these silos go away and the benefits of the integration, the knowledge that can be shared, the time saved and the improved productivity is realized company wide very quickly.

Does this scenario sound familiar? Is your business facing similar 'information island' issues?

If you said yes, let us show you how integration and business process management can help your organization.

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See Also: 4 Signs It's Time to Inegrate Your eCommerce Website with ERP