CRM-ERP-Systems Integration challenges and approaches

When you are looking for the ultimate level of success with your CRM solution, invariably the vision is always about having access to unified customer and prospect information in a single system. Sales & Marketing, Customer service, engineering and finance are all areas of the business that can gain tremendous value when they have access to each other’s data as it pertains to customers and prospects.

While most organizations are interested in this deep level of systems integration, yet report after report shows that the actual level of integration achieved thus far fails to meet the goals of these key business needs. This is definitely an area needing a lot more attention than has been accorded thus far. It is also true that the level of accuracy and sophistication needed to deliver this level of integration has been a roadblock for many organizations wanting to get there.

At SPAR we like to focus on the following key areas when implementing deep system integration solutions to create the highest level of business value from this endeavor.

  1. Focus on and document the priority and value of data elements in each system. Helping users articulate the most important elements of a integrated information solution to align to their LOB’s goals is extremely important. It is also important to realize that goals will different across LOBs and to tailor these solutions accordingly.
  2. Data ownership and master data management are equally important steps in the process. It is critical that finance is able to control financial data and sales is able to do the same for sales data while allowing for the right kind of information to be integrated and made available to both sales and finance users. The ability to keep data from changing at any place other than the source is a key issue with systems integration, since it can very quickly get out of hand when it’s not managed well.
  3. When moving data between systems, whether it be from an ERP to a CRM transactional system, or into a data warehouse or datamart for analytics and reporting, we take great care to ensure that the processes used to extract, transform, load and massage the data are carefully designed and synchronized to ensure the quality and integrity of the data as it moves across systems.

Creating an integrated platform the support deep systems integration can truly make a big difference in supporting the growth targets that are the domain of Sales and Marketing teams, while also allowing improved efficiencies for operations and finance in being able to manage inventory and improve engineering processes to increase customer satisfaction, reduce regulatory risks and nip financial headaches in the bud.

Systems integration projects should be approached with a very methodical mindset, and take into cognizance the multitude of factors that need to be managed proactively. Working with a partner like SPAR with deep experience managing systems integration projects can be a win-win for stretched IT teams and business leaders looking for agile delivery of systems integration solutions. SPAR Solutions also partners with major integration middleware vendors to deliver the best possible integration solutions at the lowest possible TCO to our customers.

If you have any questions or would like to speak with us about your integration project needs, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to answer your questions.