By Aaron Prather
ERP integration is focused wholly on the transaction-oriented business processes, with CRM being considerably more valuable to users when selected back end data is available and viewed by every employee utilizing the CRM. Getting into the ERP integration business may be part of a strategic plan, or arise from a particular business opportunity. In addition to making the integration easier and more reliable, EEP vendors change their business practices to better address the mid-market.
The ERP software may already provide all the required business logic, but it may be available only to someone manipulating a full-screen display via multi-key commands. Some clients may want you to implement business processes that are completely lacking in their ERP systems, while others need to translate the overall business direction of the ERP package into a series of “what to do next” directions. ERP has assisted companies in integrating various functions, enhancing business performance. It’s critical that companies’ ERP applications don’t operate in a vacuum but communicate with all applications that feed data into a particular business process.
Integration of ERP systems with legacy systems is much more complex than simply combining ERP modules and e-business applications. The Integration of project management tools with ERP and financial systems creates a powerful end-to-end business process for enterprise program management. Combining legacy data and with ERP systems of larger enterprises are the keys to successful implementation. Integration needs to extended beyond the back office and include data exchange with ERP, third-party service providers, and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
CRM integration with ERP packages enables the extended enterprise to effectively identify, contact, and acquire new customers. Internal staff adoption rates are higher since employees can use the CRM system from a familiar Outlook interface. Several CRM systems (including Microsoft Dynamics CRM) let you configure fields to import specific data sets through simple SQL statements and ODBC requests. For example, if you want your CRM system to display a customer’s unpaid account balance, you can easily add a field that automatically downloads that data from your ERP application. It is not essential to display data directly through your CRM system’s interface, a dashboard application is a satisfactory compromise over integration.
At the heart of the ERP is the transaction processing system and MRP, both of which are internally focused and which help in the planning and control processes internal to the organization. Enterprise Resource Planning software integration is the process of integrating separate, stove pipe ERP systems with each other or with other enterprise information resources, to meet your various B2B demands. The trends in the packages include constraint based planning, and the applicability of the Internet to enable integration between the different links of the supply chain. This includes planning, manufacturing, and sales, while more current software products now encompass marketing, inventory control, order tracking, customer service, finance and human resources.
The success of ERP implementation is due to the success of integration. Initial PLM and ERP integrations occur in larger corporations because they had the resources needed to support such endeavors. Redefining ERP through integration allows clients to maximize the effectiveness of functional groups while enabling data to be confidently shared across the entire enterprise.
About the Author
AARON H PRATHER owned/operated www.erpintegration101.com, covering ERP and CRM systems, software, and training.