ERP, CRM, POS Integration
There are very few tools and software services designed for large small businesses, or “medium” businesses. We regularly deal with companies with 20-30 office workers, workers who use computers all day every day, who are trying to transition to enterprise management tools, and finding they do not have an enterprise IT department to tackle these enormous tasks.
Transitioning from managing sales interactions on paper or Excel to a true “Customer Relationship Management” (CRM) system can sink a business.
Transitioning from Peach Tree or Quickbooks to a true “Enterprise Resource Planning” (ERP) system can sink a business.
Converting a warehouse, stock, and fulfillment systems can sink a business.
Converting to digital Point of Sale systems, or taking on a huge volume of web sales without adequate infrastructure can sink a business.
Most small businesses do not have IT manpower or know-how to tackle these tasks. And even after they are tackled, if they do not integrate or work together, they can represent an enormous amount of time and capital wasted.
We can help, and not just with implementing and testing the technical details of these systems, but with planning and integrating. Planning how to integrate and test a CRM is more important than integrating a CRM. A CRM that goes poorly can cripple a sales staff with lack of training and confusion. A CRM that is poorly planned will not integrate with other tools after completion, leaving Sales staff with a new tool that is worthless because it does not work with the rest of the company.
The same goes for ERP systems, perhaps even more so, and POS systems. An ideal ERP system doesn’t just track company BOMs and costs, but allows every factory or cleanroom worker to participate from easy-to-use terminals when it comes to operations, procedures, and training.
Please watch this video where our founder, Chip Currey, talks about the early days of business tool implementation:
We work on an out-sourced basis, and the only way we grow, is if you grow. Correct and effective implementation of effective business management tools are the quickest way to growth on a large scale.
Implementing these tools requires upfront planning, project management, and effective training and integration to equal real results.
How are business tools like ERP, CRM, and POS systems integrated?
This is a very tricky area of IT to navigate. The above systems should be selected almost entirely on their ability TO INTEGRATE with other systems, not based on their feature set. This is a crucial failure of many implementations.
Companies will evaluate a CRM system based on its ability to track conversations and provide user friendly tools, but at the end of the day that CRM is not able to send Quotes or Orders over to their ERP – making it largely useless.
A CRM that integrates, on the other hand, can be a business’ most powerful tool – a tool that sends Quotes and Orders from the field back to Quickbooks or your ERP, a tool that receives Order tracking from web sales, a tool that tracks customer live chat and FAQ interaction on your website – a tool that runs your business.
CRM, ERP, and POS systems are often-integrated with the use of “connectors.” A Connector is a program that runs on an automated basis that syncs information between two different programs.
These connectors typically leverage each program’s API, or Application Programming Interface, to give commands to one program, pull data, then turn around and deposit data in another program.
A Connector can talk between separate programs if the correct programming terms, made available through the API, are known.
The availability or feasibility of building out connectors between your various programs must be established before selecting a CRM, ERP, POS, etc. NOT AFTER. This is the most important part of evaluating these programs, more than user friendliness or functionality.
|Typical Implementation Schedule:|
|Evaluate business requirements – do you NEED an ERP, CRM, POS change?|
|Consult on availability or feasibility of creating or implementing connectors between systems|
|Consult on requirements to implement|
|Implement new ERP, CRM, or POS system|
|Test functionality with small user group|
|Roll-out new services to users.|
|Train and follow-up with users.|
We already purchased a new ERP, will it work with our CRM?
We encourage you to call a Sundial IT tech at our Carlsbad, CA location to discuss integration.
This question is a big unknown! There are so many ERPs, most built with different technologies, and so many CRMs, also built with different technologies, that it is tough to say if one system will integrate cleanly.
That’s why feasibility of integration, and how nicely the applications will “play together,” should be researched before a purchase decision is made, not after.
We would love to help with this decision process, and hope we can help you make an educated decision that will help to grow your business to a new level of sales.
Are there packages that offer ERP, CRM, and more in one unit?
Some of the world’s largest and best known software packages, SAP, Dynamics, IBM, NetSuite, are famous for providing exactly this functionality!
These systems provide total approaches: Point of Sales, Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Resource Management, File Collaboration, and more in one package.
This sounds great until the price tag arrives – often millions of dollars even for a starting implementation. These are enormous systems that require teams of consultants.
Most businesses are better off pursuing one avenue of Enterprise software at a time, and integrating with current business tools and practices to avoid being buried by fees and training.