Your CRM system centralises your customer data so finding what you need to personalise customer engagements can be fast and easy. Your ERP system centralises your back-office data so again, finding what you need can be fast and easy. Integrate these two systems and you can centralise the data from both of these systems.
What can that lead to? Reduced manual efforts, less chance of task/data redundancy, improved productivity and more! Here’s how to ensure system integration success.
- Align people and mindsets
- Prioritise customer and business value
- Know your existing business processes and systems...
- ...so you can ensure seamless back and front-office integration
- Regularly review the systems to ensure optimum effectiveness
- Work with an implementation partner
1. Align people and mindsets
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Whether you’re integrating your systems and processes or upgrading or even implementing something new, you must prioritise your ‘people’. People aren’t fans of change so it’s your responsibility to show them that this change is worth it and won’t cause too much disruption to their day-to-day activities. If anything, it will make it better!
There are two parts to this…
Gain upper management buy-in and prioritise great leadership
Gaining upper management buy-in is crucial to the success of any technology initiative. Why? Because they’re the people who can back your initiative, ensure adequate funding and more.
In addition to this, you’ll need great leaders to help drive your project. These leaders don’t necessarily have to be part of your upper management team but they should be able to set clear expectations, drive team engagement and ensure deliverables are met.
Gain team buy-in and input early on
You need your everyday users to buy into your vision if your system integration project is to be a success. Keep in mind that a successful project isn’t just defined by you making it to the finish line (AKA the go-live) or the systems being integrated flawlessly. The systems also need to be used properly by your team if you’re to maximise ROI.
Additionally, because your users know the systems and processes (possibly better than you because they use them daily), their input can be very valuable during the initial strategy stages. They’ll know what works best, what doesn’t, what could be better and more.
2. Prioritise customer and business value
Always ensure your business transformation and/or change projects are value-driven. Value isn’t just about financial benefits either. Think along the lines of improvements as perceived by internal and external stakeholders.
In other words, how can you make your customers’ and employees’ lives easier? What’s in it for them? Keep this at the forefront of any initiative to make gaining their approval and help much easier.
3. Know your existing business processes and systems…
Before you do any kind of transformation or change, thoroughly examine your existing processes and systems. How are things currently operating? What’s working well? What could be working better? Knowing this can help you prioritise actions.
This is why you need your team’s buy-in and input. Who would know better about the existing processes/systems and highlight areas for improvement better than your everyday users?
4. …so you can ensure seamless back and front-office integration
Once you know what needs to change and when, you can focus on the actual integration. Integrated ERP and CRM systems ensure complete visibility across the board, from a 360-degree view of customers to your supply chain.
5. Regularly review the systems to ensure optimum effectiveness
Even after go-live, make sure you review your systems to ensure it’s working as well as it should be. Update your key stakeholders on efficiencies, inefficiencies and implement any changes if required.
6. Work with an implementation partner
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Implementing and integrating systems is a complex, time-consuming task. If you haven’t got the time or resources in-house, it could be a good idea to work with an external partner.
They can handle the individual tasks associated with the integration and ensure project deliverables are met. This frees up time for your in-house team that they can now spend on other tasks.
There’s more to ensuring a successful CRM-ERP integration
Integrate your business systems and maximise your ROI. With systems integrations being such a time and resource-consuming project - and one that’s also prone to pitfalls - it’s important to not only work with a solutions partner. You must find the right partner.
Wondering how you can do that? Here are six essential questions you should ask when searching for an implementation partner.
In our guide to CRMs and ERPs, we cover this, the differences between the two systems and more. Download your copy of the guide to find out more.