In the past, many large enterprises have felt the need to choose between ERP and CRM. They didn’t feel they could justify the expense of implementing both, let alone integrating them together. Often, the choice of which system to implement came down to whether the organisation saw its profit drivers as being internally or externally-driven.

A sales-focused organisation might have decided it would gain a greater advantage from an external-looking system like CRM. The differentiator for these kinds of organisations, after all, is external relationships – and that’s where a CRM system comes into its own. An electronics manufacturer, on the other hand, might have felt that the efficiency of its internally-focused systems, in terms of selling a less expensive product with fewer flaws, or in testing the latest circuit boards, was more important to its profitability, and opted for ERP.

Historically, even those businesses that chose to buy both ERP and CRM typically did not integrate them. Many decided to opt for ERP but then added mini-CRM systems into the mix. This gave them some basic CRM functionality without having to expend time and effort in integrating them. But in deciding not to bring the two solutions together, they were also limiting the functionality they got from both.

Today, all this is changing. To an extent, it is being driven by increased competition across the business environment. Even previously inward-looking companies, like many electronics manufacturers have been, are becoming more service-led. In line with that, they are beginning to appreciate the benefits of reacting quickly to market changes and of being in tune with their customers. As a result, they are starting to see the benefits of CRM, ERP integration.

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