“Customer data remains one of the most valuable resources a company can have,” says Forbes Advisor. “By better understanding current and prospective customers, a company can provide more personalized attention and better strategize marketing. Recording, aggregating and managing all this data, however, is a hefty task. That’s why companies so often turn to integrated customer relationship management (CRM) systems to centralize other systems, databases and information streams.”
Business modernization and digital transformation are buzzy terms for huge catchall concepts, encompassing an enormous variety of processes and technologies, and the almost infinite ways they can be deployed.
But it all boils down to a couple of simple ideas and objectives:
How do you gain maximum efficiency in your most essential business processes and greater visibility, access, and actionable insight into your data
you can serve your customer better and optimize your organization’s growth and profitability in today’s digitally driven economy?
One of the primary ways of doing this is through Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). ERP is software designed to help companies integrate, consolidate, and synchronize a vast range of daily business operations, both logistic and strategic; from financials to compliance to project management, and more. ERP centralizes your data, automating and synchronizing updates to provide detailed real-time information and guarantee a unified user experience, organization-wide.
ERP is, chiefly, a back office system. But it has a front office counterpart: CRM.
Customer Relationship Management—or CRM—refers to a software system that brings together everything you know about your customer or potential customer. It consolidates every detail of every interaction over their entire journey; automates the tracking, collection, storage, organization, and analysis of those complex and dynamic data sets; and makes up-to-date information instantly accessible to your entire team so they can deliver superior customer service—making current customers happier and turning fresh leads into loyal clients.
Though some ERP systems contain CRM, they’re not the same thing. Rather, they are complementary technologies that can be integrated to connect all processes and data generated on the sales, marketing, and customer service side with all your non-client-facing departments and functions, facilitating seamless communication and coordination between them.
CRM offers a comprehensive front-end solution for managing customer contact information, marketing, purchases, post-purchase follow-ups, subscriptions, and more. It tracks interactions at every touchpoint—email, text, phone calls, physical stores, website, contact forms, social media, etc.—and it helps your team gain valuable insights into customer behavior so you can optimize outreach, sales, and customer care.
Connecting your CRM to the ERP that handles all your back-end operations (from admin to finances to order fulfillment) creates a single truth source throughout your organization’s ecosystem—complete, current, accurate and reliable data—plus a smooth end-to-end flow of processes, and an optimized, uniform user experience. Integration synchronizes people, processes, and technologies, company-wide.
CRM integration can help your business automate workflows, increase productivity, eliminate duplicate data, clean up outdated customer information, promote interdepartmental collaboration, make more informed decisions, empower your sales force, segment your marketing, create an effective and efficient sales funnel, close more deals, and enhance service and support throughout the customer lifecycle.
The right solution provider can help you identify and customize (COTS) or design and build the ideal CRM for your organization’s unique purposes, as well as an integration platform to merge software programs and applications. They can also manage certain challenges of successful integration, such as data standardization and transformation (format).
But it’s important to know that CRM is more about strategy than technology. As CIO magazine puts it, “[T]hink of CRM as a philosophy and set of practices for recording data about customer interactions, not just a software package you buy.”
So the first critical step is to determine what your company really wants and needs out of CRM and its integration with your firm’s ERP
At Lukasa, we’re not only specialists in business and technology modernization, we’re insiders. We’ve spent decades in the trenches with companies, experiencing firsthand the challenges of disjointed data, a disconnect between front and back offices, and inefficient processes, and figuring out how to best serve customers and drive revenue in the rapidly-evolving digital economy. We take a partnership approach to every project, working side-by-side with your existing team to gain a comprehensive understanding of your goals, pain points, and needs. We’re here to help your organization’s leadership reimagine what’s possible, implement the most effective CRM for your unique business, and provide successful integration with your ERP—one of the most important steps in supercharging your company’s growth and profitability.
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Lukasa is a business and technology modernization firm focused on process analysis and improvement, system and data unification, cloud migration, tailor-made software and implementation—maximizing efficiency and growth.