A short introduction to CRM and ERP systems
What is a CRM or Customer Relationship Manager? A CRM is a tool the businesses use to improve, streamline and track all customer interactions with said businesses. Examples of such interactions include reminders for unpaid invoices, saving contact information, tracking which items are viewed most on your webshop, etc.
Such an application sounds fantastic, but not all CRM systems are equal! They range from a single static desktop application to a complete system in your very own browser. This last one is called an e-CRM. It provides the business with numerous advantages. Accessibility from any device, anywhere; ranging from an office desk to a tablet in the warehouse, to the cash register in your store. It also allows for easy integration with analytics tools to track the effectiveness of customer behavior and application efficiency.
All this contributes to a more dynamic and optimized organization. It’s no stretch to say that these days an e-CRM is a must have for any business-to-consumer type organization.
What is ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning? ERP can be bluntly described as business-management software. It aids in almost every aspect of running a company. These aspects are mainly financial and stock administration, but a CRM can be part of this as well. A good integration of your CRM into your ERP-system can increase workflow efficiency tremendously. For example, reserving products for customers that paid their invoice can give you a quick overview of the free stock (or lack thereof) you have left for other customers.
The biggest hurdle for ERP systems is usually to fit it exactly to the needs of the company. Requesting custom features can be expensive, but are sometimes required. That’s why, when creating or purchasing an ERP system, one should keep in mind the modularity of the tool. This means an ERP system where extra features can be easily added/turned off/turned on to fit the needs of the company. In the long-term, this will reduce the cost of creation and/or modification, and make it easier to sell the tool to a wider audience.