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ERP and CRM – A Tale of Two Systems

In the business world, a well thought out idea is only as good as its results. Case in point – the idea of ERP centered around customers. It is not completely new, but recent technological advances have taken this idea to a whole new level: ERP meets CRM.

It’s no secret that companies who listen to their customers first – rather than focusing too much on a product or service – are the ones most likely to succeed. These companies better understand what their customers want and need and are able to deliver. Software like Salesforce CRM helps you manage your customer relations. But what does it mean having ERP in that same Salesforce environment? It means everything.

A CRM platform is best suited to manage your customers, and ERP is best suited to manage your core business processes and internal resources. Both achieve value alone, however if your ERP product is built around your CRM, the results will elevate that customer connection and make that well thought out idea a major success.

Why and how?

Essentially, when ERP and CRM talk, your front-office activities are completely synchronized with the back-office.  So all your sales processes and other front office activities are also directly linked to your financials, supply chain, services and many other functions. You basically have the ability to track everything from quote to cash.  As it is today, opportunities and cases are stored in CRM, invoices are calculated and kept in billing, shipments in supply chain, professional service projects in project management and payment status in accounts receivable. So when the customer calls and says “Where’s my order?” Is it held up in distribution? Did a supplier not drop ship on time? Was the order held because the customer owes you money? Are we waiting for the customer to complete a task on a project before delivery? The customer service rep doesn’t stand a chance in resolving this simple question quickly or accurately.

These problems don’t happen when you connect ERP with CRM, like with the ERP solution provided by Financialforce.com built on the Salesforce platform. With FinancialForce ERP, we connect all your back-office functions, namely billing, receivables, product/service delivery and more to the front-office so everyone involved with that customer has a comprehensive view of what’s going on and can answer a key question on the spot. It’s true that your customers are the most valuable assets and TRUST is becoming a new currency in the market. Faster and accurate access to information means precise commitment to the client.

Also, these CRM and ERP apps are built on the cloud and dynamically integrated with mobile. Mobile capabilities are not longer an option for organizations – they are a must-have. Mobile functionality lets your customers, employees or vendors work from wherever they are and effectively access the required information.

one cloud platform

If both ERP and CRM are built in one environment, you suddenly have a single app with a 360 view. All FinancialForce apps are native to the Salesforce platform, which means every aspect of CRM and ERP is easily accessible through a single Salesforce1 mobile app and a single login.  Systems integration like this is key for providing faster access to business-critical information, achieving process optimization and better decision-making by employees.

Major IT research firm, Gartner, predicts $36 Billion CRM market by 2017 and major opportunity lies in tools for integrating this environment to various systems. The enterprise segment has spent a lot of money on integration but through cloud services, these capabilities are no longer restricted to large organizations.

From first touch to final payment, an efficient, frictionless ERP system running at customer speed presents your customer with one unified, informed voice across their entire journey. And the momentum from that positive experience will carry them well into their next engagement.

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