ERP and CRM integration benefits and issues
It’s not as simple as one may think for companies to execute an ERP and CRM integration. In many cases, there is no strategy as internal departments do their own thing. For example, accounting may adopt QuickBooks and production may use a non-integrated system or supplement QuickBooks with a plethora of spreadsheets. This scenario is one we commonly see.
The solution to the inevitable issues caused by non-integrated systems is often a one-off integration or loosely coupled interface with the CRM ERP integration architecture that is available. A one-off integration can help short term, but issues will often occur at a later time.
There are three primary issues with one-off CRM and ERP integrations
- Compatibility issues: Over our 20+ years of ERP integration experience, we have seen many companies stranded on older software versions due to creating custom interfaces. The ERP company rolls out a new version and the interface doesn’t work without a complete rewrite and another investment of thousands of dollars and hours of time. The reasons for the loss of compatibility with a new version release could be a change in the table structure, change in development language, or even a change in deployment. Conversely, loss of compatibililty can happen when your CRM’s development team makes similar changes. Ultimatey you should understand CRM issues manufacturing companies can avoid.
- Dependendability and errors: Oftentimes, you have to depend on a third-party integrator to create an interface with a weak CRM and ERP integration architecture. What they do “under the hood” is not the most elegant method of ensuring the information transfer happens as it should. There is a continuous effort required to maintain the third party’s information bridge.
- Lack of usability and functionality: One-off or point CRM integrations with CRM and ERP seldom meet the expectations of the sales and marketing team. Due to limited natural ERP and CRM integration points, the desired information visibility from the ERP system is usually lacking for the CRM users. Ulitimately, the end result is still using spreadsheets, doing redundant entry, and adopting the two systems, resulting in costly licensing investments for sales to access both CRM and ERP.
Do software company relationships matter?
Yes, they do! There have been many highly touted software company partnerships and alliances over the years. More often than not, these relationships start out with a grand vision and heavy marketing emphasis. However, when the delivered product from the relationship doesn’t meet expectations and subsequent revenue from the relationship is below expectations, the alliance begins to fray.
When an alliance between software companies is severed, it leaves those customers who adopted the non-supported pairing of CRM and ERP with products that won’t be further enhanced. It has happened many times and is a risk that needs to be factored into the evaluation and decision-making process when considering ERP and CRM integration benefits.
What is the solution?
The most cost-effective integration method we have seen is to use a single-source, fully integrated and supported CRM and ERP offering; for example, Infor CRM and Infor ERP. The products are integrated using Infor applications and the development teams work together to ensure increased benefits and continued integration.
There is also the benefit of having only one company to call for help desk support, as well as for obtaining new version releases and upgrades.
The single-source option is highly functional, cost effective, and reduces your exposure to the commonly incurred issues discussed.
Our team has guided companies through integration issues and is more than happy to discuss an ERP integration strategy and options for your current situation or desired position. Please reach out to us for a free assessment.