Customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software are growing closer together, and respondents to Delta research expect the two to merge into a single solution in the near future.
Both CRM and ERP are designed to increase business profitability: one by fostering customer relationships and the other by improving efficiency and guiding decision-making. Both systems contain customer information, and data often overlaps; multiple records may exist for the same company or individual, affecting business efficiency.
As firms become more comfortable with the idea of data as a valuable resource, the drive to consolidate all databases under a single product is increasing. This avoids effort duplication and enables firms to coordinate resources more efficiently.
In Delta research, only nine per cent of survey respondents thought that CRM and ERP would remain separate platforms in the future.
Do you see ERP and CRM as…
Modern CRM systems now integrate much of the functionality that would previously have been found in ERP, with the common thread being information management: of the customer or the product.
The Head of IT at an NGO said:
"I suppose in our business, and other organisations that have used CRM, they have felt a bit siloed to a degree; obviously the customer is the index, that's the common thread that runs across both systems, but certainly some of the newer ERP and CRM platforms I've seen, there is a bit of a convergence…
"I'd say moving away from the different platforms, the one platform is probably something that everybody aspires to. Whether or not that's something that's going to change markedly or eat into that different platform part of the pie, it will take time, but I think that would certainly be an ambition."
Smaller businesses are most likely to adopt a multi-functional CRM/ERP product today; however, CRM vendors are increasingly pushing into the ERP space for enterprise-scale companies. SAP is one example, with the Global Head of Infrastructure and Operations at a manufacturing firm saying, "We are probably the only multinational that runs a single instance of SAP running all [of our] needs."
Delta is a new market intelligence service from Computing to help CIOs and other IT decision makers make smarter purchasing decisions - decisions informed by the knowledge and experience of other CIOs and IT decision makers.
Delta is free from vendor sponsorship or influence of any kind, and is guided by a steering committee of well-known CIOs, such as Charles Ewen, Christina Scott, Steve Capper and Laura Meyer.
Ten crucial technology areas are already covered at launch, with more data appearing and more areas being covered every week. Sign-up here for your free trial of the Computing Delta website.
Computing speaks to two vendors with very different approaches
The hyperconvergence vendor moved from selling hardware to subscription software and took a hit to revenues in the process
Our bots are just flowcharts, they're not going to try to take over the world, says AA Ireland's Louise McCormack
Insurance companies have no choice but to automate so they'd better start learning how
Many businesses could be transformed by the strategic adoption of APIs, cloud services, artificial intelligence and big data
Security, ease of use and cloud first are technology priorities for the children's charity, says IT head Jon Winder