While ERP and CRM software have some overlapping features and characteristics, their core functions are vastly different. It’s important to understand these key differences to know what might be best for your company.
What is ERP?
ERP is an acronym for enterprise resource planning. ERP software is all about the back office. The goal of ERP software is to make business processes more efficient and decrease money spent on managing those processes. ERP software is designed to manage key components of your business, from accounting, to human resources to inventory and supply chain. ERP software is highly data-driven. It enables an integrated approach to company systems and provides updated information on issues and trends. This allows you to anticipate potential problems and focus on strategic planning.
What is CRM?
CRM software is all about the front office. CRM stands for customer relationship management. While ERP software focuses on the business, CRM software focuses on the customer. CRM systems track customer information across departments and house information on potential new customers. It can be a valuable tool in tracking leads or creating marketing campaigns. CRM also allows for the synchronization of sales, marketing and customer service data. The best CRM software tracks multiple customer interactions between departments. This can foster better customer relationships via easy access to pertinent client information.
Which should I choose for my business?
The answer for most companies is both. CRM and ERP are often both needed to increase operational efficiency and automate manual processes.
Many ERP systems have a CRM component. This option allows you to have one system that handles everything. Keep in mind that the CRM component may not be as advanced as a standalone CRM system, so it is important to assess what is needed for your business. The most popular standalone CRM systems typically come at a high price. You may not need the Cadillac of systems when the Chevy will perform just fine.
If you choose to pursue a standalone CRM system alongside your ERP system, integration is key. Without proper integration, your company may find communication between departments lost in translation. The good news is that integration between the two has become easier because standalone CRM systems are often designed for integration.
Both CRM and ERP Have Value
ERP and CRM software are both valuable assets that allow you to make informed decisions in today’s competitive market. While there is certainly overlap between ERP and CRM systems, understanding the differences is key to developing a smart IT strategy.
Independent ERP consultants are well-versed in both types of software. Contact us to learn about our IT strategy services.