CRM and ERP systems have been used by organizations worldwide for decades. While the origins of ERP (Enterprise Resource Management) can be traced all the way back to the 1960s, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) first showed up in the 1980s. Since then, the number of CRM solution providers has grown exponentially. For example, Salesforce joined the game in the late 1990s with a cloud-based solution that would revolutionize the CRM market. Year over year, Salesforce has experienced tremendous growth and undeniable success, making Salesforce CRM the number 1 CRM solution on the market worldwide. Today, many people talk about the benefits of CRM ERP integration, but how easy is it to integrate a CRM solution like Salesforce with an ERP solution?
CRM vs ERP: what is the difference?
CRM and ERP systems have many similarities. For example, both are there to help you share standardized information and data throughout your organization. But they are also very different tools that serve different purposes. CRM solutions are customer-centric systems that focus on improving sales and marketing processes. ERP systems on the other hand focus on streamlining all other business processes in an organization, from accounting to the warehouse, and all the way to inventory and fulfillment. ERP and CRM systems are therefore a complementary combination. When you have both a CRM system and an ERP system, you have the tools you need to optimize the most vital processes in your organization.
Why integrating CRM and ERP is important
If your company has both a CRM and an ERP, it is a good start. Especially if you have chosen one of the best CRM systems and an ERP system that suits your company’s size, industry, needs, and ambitions. If you are in doubt about which solution to use, you can take a look at Salesforce. It is a very popular cloud-based CRM tool. In fact, it is an award-winning top-rated solution – and has been for years. If you are using Salesforce as your CRM solution, chances are that your sales staff is well informed and that their sales processes are already very smooth and efficient. Many of the companies that are using Salesforce are also using an ERP solution. For example, it is very common to see companies that use one of the Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions in combination with their Salesforce CRM tool. Armed with these two remarkable systems, companies can control most of their internal processes.
However, this is rarely enough to provide companies with a full 365 view of their customers. Having both a CRM and an ERP system is not enough to ensure fully-optimized processes from lead generation to delivery, invoice, and payment. When CRM and ERP stand separately, you end up having a missing link in your processes. Left separated or as “stand-alone” solutions, CRM, and ERP solutions risk becoming silos of data because your CRM data will not be used by your staff in Finance and Accounting. Likewise, payment information cannot be accessed by your salespeople. The lack of integration between your systems creates information gaps and leaves your staff frustrated and less efficient as they might have to look for information in other systems. CRM ERP system integration is the answer.
How to integrate Salesforce with your ERP system?
Many vendors claim to provide seamless ERP integration with Salesforce. In order to identify the best solution for your business, you need a systematic approach. Generally, you can investigate using these 4 commonly used questions:
- Is the data integration solution proven? Does it have many customers?
- Is it easy to deploy?
- Are you confident that it will provide fast and secure data transfers?
- Is the vendor a true specialist of the solutions that need to be integrated? Not just Salesforce but also the ERP system?
Even with good guidelines, it can be difficult to find out which Salesforce integration tools are good and which aren’t. Comparing Salesforce integration tools is not necessarily easy if you have not tried it before. Salesforce offers MuleSoft AnyPoint, a data integration platform as part of their offering. Does it mean that you should use Mulesoft for any data integration project you may have? Maybe, but not necessarily! MuleSoft is great if you have a broad data integration scope where you need to integrate many different systems with Salesforce. It is strong and robust enough to help you with highly complex data integration projects. Downside? It is pricey, so if you “only” need a simple Salesforce ERP integration tool, you might want to consider other solutions.
If you wish to integrate Salesforce with one of the Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions (Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP, NAV, 365 Business Central, or 365 for Finance & Operations), a solution like RapidiOnline could be just what you need. RapidiOnline is a cloud-based data integration solution that easily integrates Salesforce with any Microsoft Dynamics solution based on pre-configured templates. As a result, Salesforce Microsoft Dynamics integration projects can be implemented in as little time as 3-8 days. Error handling is easy and intuitive and they offer top-rated support. In addition, the RapidiOnline solution is robust, flexible, and affordable, making it an attractive solution for companies that simply wish to integrate Salesforce with Microsoft Dynamics ERP.
In any case, Salesforce ERP integration is a “must do”. Provided that you choose the right solution for your business, the integration can be implemented very easily and painlessly, and you can be sure that it will bring you countless benefits.