The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. New technology is constantly flooding the market creating an era where business transformation is commonly associated with the willingness to experiment with new software, Strategic integration plays a very vital role in business processes. But before buying new middleware or jumping on a new app’s bandwagon, we must ask ourselves, does technology actually enhance business processes, or are there other factors at play?
The global pandemic forever changed business, and yes, technology now plays a crucial role in customer engagement, managing delayed production schedules created by global shortages, and increasing data visibility. But is software enough? Can a new App solve the problem? The answer is NO! All of the new tech options on the market are simply tools, and not all tools are created equally. They all require different time, personnel, and financial investments. What it all comes down to is that strategic integration, or the transformation of business processes to increase data visibility across systems, requires careful consideration of the tools that are available AND a devoted organizational commitment or service to maximize the use of those tools.
So, what does that mean? The answer is that an organizational need for new technology needs to be identified, but more importantly, the organization needs to be committed to finding and using the best tools available for them to solve that need. Technology, as the tool, is only effective in the hands of people committed to using it, and people looking for a technological solution can only truly succeed with the right tool. As the saying goes, “You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.”
Now, let’s break this down and focus exclusively on the strategic integration of two crucial company systems, the ERP and CRM. First off, why do people integrate? What’s the point?
- Increase data visibility – Data transparency allows for proactive business decisions based on up-to-date and comprehensive information from multiple teams and departments.
- Eliminate labor costs – Entering data into two systems is expensive. Not only are there financial costs of literally paying someone to do the same work twice, but there is also a factor of human error that has immeasurable long-term costs.
- Save time –Hours, maybe even days can be lost while different departments gain access to various systems for information. This may only take minutes or hours per inquiry, and for one account, that may not seem like a big deal, but what if you have hundreds of accounts? Thousands?
- Protect the integrity of the accounting system! –Integration protects the integrity of the ERP by allowing users access to the information from the CRM.
- Allow teams to work on the road – In general, CRMs offer more flexibility for teams to work remotely or from the field. Integrating ERP data into a CRM allows teams to securely access data without a VPN.
Now, using this list of the five main advantages of ERP to CRM integration, let’s compare the most popular integration tools on the market?
|Customized integration||Pre-built integration through Commercient||ETL Toolsets|
|Increase data visibility?||X||X||X|
Customized integration is ideal for organizations with unlimited funds and lots of time. While the final results of a successful custom integration may be the answer to all of the organization’s problems, they will come at an extreme cost and take months, if not years to accomplish. You heard me right, YEARS! Also, you must ask yourself with customized integration, does the person I hired to build this very expensive and customized integration actually know what they are doing? Have they done it before? While this tool has the potential to give amazing results, are the financial and time costs worthwhile? Can you wait for 2 years to see your data all in one place?
ETL Toolsets may be the most cost-effective option upfront, but in the long run, will take a lot of time to manage, and time is money. ETL toolsets are self-managed, meaning when something breaks or doesn’t work, you are the one responsible for fixing it. You are the one who will spend hours on hold with a customer support team that will not answer the phone or will not be able to help you if they do. You will be the one reading the “manual” trying to decipher how this works and where this goes because in reality ETL toolsets are complicated, and that complication falls on you! This tool is for the DIY’er, but not all projects call for DIY solutions. A leaky faucet, for example, is a great DIY project. Watch a YouTube video, go to the local hardware store to buy the parts, and repair this small issue. But long-term and successful data integration is not a DIY project!
Pre-built and managed integration with Commercient checks all the boxes because it can be rapidly deployed at a fair price to immediately increase data visibility. Companies can have a 360 view of business processes within weeks, not months or years, and at a cost that is significantly lower than customized integration. Integration can be tailored to meet the needs of each organization without the cost and time of a custom-built integration. Imagine a giant table full of puzzle pieces with pre-built integration points. You can pick the puzzle pieces you need and then experts can put them together for you to offer a solution for your specific pain points. Plus, pre-built integration means that it is tried and tested! It comes with the peace of mind that, not only is this integration possible, but it has been done before and actually works!
Here is an example of how SYNC works.
Strategic integration is the idea of solving a business need with a long-term, easy, and cost-effective solution. Successful integration should NOT take up valuable company time. Successful integration should NOT be a huge financial drain. Strategic integration should enhance business processes and offer immediate ROI. Strategic integration is managed and monitored by experts. Strategic integration is Commercient.