As companies grow, they add on more software. Moving on from QuickBooks to more advanced accounting software, software to manage operations and distribution, a new CRM system, business intelligence software. You get the drift.
So now your business is running well… or is it?
If your systems aren’t integrated, they can’t talk to each other well… and neither can your teams. Sales can’t see the history of customer purchases. Operations doesn’t know a customer has a new address. Management is pulling its hair out because it can’t see what is going on!
Your dream is to get a real-time, accurate picture of every aspect of your business. If you had it, you would be able to make faster decisions and your people would be able to communicate.
The key to your dream is to integrate your systems. One of the best ways to do that is to integrate your enterprise resource management (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) software.
Why system integration matters
When it comes to integrating ERP, CRM, BI software, there are a number of factors to consider, beginning with the reasons why such integration is important.
A recent Gartner analysis indicated several trends that are prevalent in various industries when it comes to ERP systems:
- The number of potential solutions is sizable, but there is tremendous variability to the financial management applications. The appropriateness of a particular solution depends greatly on factors such as industry, organizational size, and geographic reach.
- Larger organizations (those with more than $1 billion in annual revenue) and midsize companies are increasingly likely to adopt software as a service (SaaS) solutions, which are maturing in sophistication and functionality.
- Vendors are increasingly encouraging customers to move to new-generation solutions, buy more modules in an ERP suite, and adopt cloud platforms. For companies, this means choosing between well-established solutions and newer options early in their life cycles.
Where the market’s headed
Core financial management applications have been the foundation of ERP solutions for decades. Today, however, disruptive new providers are offering more specialized SaaS solutions in particular operational areas; some of these new products offer deeper functionality and easy-to-use interfaces.
This has led to a decoupling of many traditional ERP solutions as companies look instead to a combination of cloud and on-site applications, as companies choose for multi-vendor components to maximize functionality.
This shift has led traditional ERP providers to fight back, adding more sophistication and gaining back customers that were potentially lost in the specialization model.
With more, broader options in the ERP space, companies need to be highly strategic before selecting and deploying integrated ERP-BI-CRM solutions. The Gartner report recommends the following for ERPs, but the logic should be applied to integration solutions, too:
- Agree on a strategy before starting to evaluate vendors. The focus need not be on new technology if such a shift will adversely impact business strategy and processes.
- Develop an understanding of where integration will benefit the capabilities of affected and related business functions, such as marketing, sales, customer service, finance, supply chain, and research and development.
- Gain context on where potential products are in their life cycle.
Using NexTec Group
NexTec understands system integration. We have relationships with and a deep understanding of the multitude of solutions available in CRM, ERP, and BI. Our consultants work closely with our clients to understand the business needs, objectives, and budgets and will recommend solutions that meet those requirements. From accounting software to marketing automation to BI dashboards, we understand the demands and complexities of each core operational area and recommend solutions accordingly. Use the form on the right to contact us and learn how NexTec Group can help with integrating your systems.