What to Consider Before Switching to ERP Management Software?

ERP Management Software

What does the acronym ERP stand for?

An enterprise resource planning (ERP ) system is a software that integrates all the transactional operations that take place in a company and guarantees the consistency of the information (no duplication of information or outdated data between different departments).

ERPs provide functionalities for financial management , supply chain and warehouse , manufacturing and logistics , purchases and sales , collections and payments… grouping them into different modules. Depending on the manufacturer (Microsoft, SAGE, SAP, Oracle…) and the product (some examples for SMEs are Dynamics 365 Support for Business Central, SAGE 200C, SAP Business One, Oracle ERP Financials…) its functionalities will be grouped into different packages or editions and The program can be hosted on the company’s internal servers (we would talk about deployments in local or on-premises environments), in the cloud (private or public) or in hybrid environments. Depending on how it is licensed, we will talk about purchasing software or subscriptions (rental).

What does the acronym CRM stand for?

CRM is an English acronym that comes from Customer Relationship Management and stands for Customer Relationship Management . Its orientation is relational and seeks to optimize the management of each interaction (contact) with current and potential customers, through multiple channels, and establishing long-term relationships of trust through the care of business processes, marketing / demand generation and customer services.

What are the differences between an ERP and a CRM?

Both ERP and CRM software try to improve the business and both are key tools to manage its growth projection. Although the natural barrier between both technologies is becoming more and more diffuse in the most modern business management applications , we can say that, in essence, the ERP focuses on the interconnection of interdepartmental processes, the automation of repetitive tasks, and above all in keeping an exhaustive control of costs. For its part, CRM is focused on the commercial and post-sale relationship (service) with the customer. Its ultimate goal is to increase sales, loyalty and forge long-term relationships of trust.

Next, we cite 3 differences between an ERP and a CRM:

1. The ERP is designed to plan and organize the internal activity of the company (supply chain, purchases and sales, manufacturing, logistics, administration and finance…). An ERP provides transactional information and management of customers (administrative information) and a CRM specifies customer information related to needs, tastes, preferences, knowledge, expectations… and all their relational history (calls, meetings, visits, proposals…).

2. Generally, CRM software implementation projects have been simpler and faster than ERP ones . Also, their costs tended to be lower. However, now, thanks to the advances provided by the cloud and the possibility for small and medium-sized companies to access technologies that until recently were limited to large companies, CRM projects have become more complex, covering issues such as automation of sales teams, project service management, marketing automation … Therefore, this point is complex to discuss.

3. If we pay attention to the difficulty of implementation, normally, the complexity of implementing a CRM is less than the implementation of an ERP since the CRM system affects fewer areas of the company (sales and marketing; customer service). The ERP change has much more impact on the daily and uninterrupted operation of critical areas of a company (finance, supply chain, production…).

What is a vertical software or add-on?

Modern CRM and ERP solutions, which are developed and maintained by a trusted manufacturer, allow them to be customized to meet the specific needs of each company or sector of activity.

– A first level of modification is the “ customization of the system ”, which fundamentally refers to the creation of new fields, reports, lists – views, and the personalization of the documents of each company (offers, orders, invoices) following your corporate visual identity or branding.

– A second level of modification is the “ functional extension ”, that is, the creation of new functionalities not covered by the standard software to cover specific processes of each company, according to its way of operating. These development changes impact the business logic and behavior of the software (how it works).

– The third level “ add-on ” involves incorporating good practices in the industry and the proven experience of multiple clients in a given industry or sector into the functional development. An add-on is sectoral or departmental software ; a product itself that enriches the functionality provided by the initial manufacturer and ensures correlation with your product plan (updates). An example of an add-on is Dynamics Square ( www.dynamicssquare.co.uk ), a vertical solution for wineries and wine cooperatives developed in Dynamics 365 Business Central .

What would you ask of your new ERP or CRM management system?

The reasons that motivate the change can be very diverse , but, surely, in any case, your answer will be: “that it works” and that the change is not traumatic. And it’s really not nonsense. What do we really mean by “functioning”? It is nothing other than the new ERP or CRM solution:

  • It has functional power , that is, it helps streamline the company’s financial management, contributes greater dynamism to the supply chain, strengthens relationships with customers , and contributes to rigorous business decision -making.
  • Be stable ; that is, that it does not break down, can grow, is tested by other users, has the capacity to adapt to the particularities of “my” company and “my” sector… – even knowing that no two companies are the same-.
  • Be intuitive and easy to use . Be agile and simplify the work (or at least not increase it).

How can a software simplify my work and give me agility? (and consequently save time). Here are some thoughts that we believe will help you in the search and selection process for your new management software . Ask for capabilities of:

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