Drawing the Line Between ERP and CRM

Man pointing to the CRM informationEnterprise solutions are rife with acronyms especially in the advent of the Information Age. Two of the most buzz-worthy terms a business owner will hear is ERP and CRM. These two services often get confused with one another, and this post aims to dispel some of that confusion.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) don’t sound too distinguishable from each other, so let’s break them down to their functions and features.

ERP for an All-in-One Approach

In essence, ERP software manages businesses as a whole to improve the efficiency of the company’s processes. Unit4 Asia Pacific details how such technology is capable of time and attendance, logistics, project and financial management – all wrapped into one software package. Public and private organizations in sectors such as government, education, healthcare, and finance employ ERP services for business process management.

As an enterprise-wide management tool, ERP can streamline business processes to the point where people can focus on the data instead of everyday operations. ERP systems achieve this by continuously updating and seamlessly sharing data through various departments; each department uses the same interface to access, interpret, and share that data.

CRM for Focus on Sales

CRM systems, meanwhile, focus on a single aspect of business operations – namely, the marketing and customer service division. While ERP handles back-office transactions, CRM deals with front-office activities consisting mostly of sales – though both systems share capabilities like executing sales force and marketing automation. Thus, it is normal for certain ERP services to feature CRM integration since CRM functionality is essentially a component of an entire enterprise’s operations.

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Because of the CRM system’s particular function, some organizations use it as a stand-alone application. Research has pointed towards CRM as a fundamental component of business technology regarding obtaining, serving, and retaining customers. CRM software manages to do this by collecting all of a customer’s relevant details for analysis by the company.

It may still be confounding as to which management process to adopt; sometimes it all boils down to the business’ specific needs (ex. are you looking for just a sales process boost or a streamlined system for the entire network?). It is worth noting, however, that several industries have opted to go for an integrated approach. There are ERP systems that feature CRM integration, as opposed to just a stand-alone CRM solution that’s only functional with sales aspects. This integrated approach should be more than enough to cover all bases for a robust and efficient management of business operations.