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To concentrate on the major reasons for integrating enterprise CRM and ERP systems there are a few drivers which need to be discussed. For the present blog, we will be discussing top five of them. For now, we’ll be comparing the available sets of tools and methods to integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Dynamics GP. In addition to this, we will be discussing the list of standard integration templates which are provided with the popular integration toolsets.
To begin with, let's start solving the most common questions-
Why don’t we just combine all the functions into a single program so that there is no question of integration?
For the reader's information, Microsoft at the first place provides a full CRM and ERP combination in the form of Dynamics AX, which is till now the highest end product in the family of Dynamics ERP. So, for those looking for a single integrated system of CRM and ERP, consider Microsoft Dynamics AX. The other answer to this query is that the sales and marketing organizations tend to differ drastically. They are dynamic and constantly changing with the experiments of different business practices whereas, accounting and operations are more inclined towards standardization. They are more in control and even compliance oriented.
CRM systems are configured multiple times whereas ERM systems are easy to configure, suiting the business needs. Moreover, accounting and operations are mostly intertwined amongst themselves, but the marketing and sales generally operate outside, procedurally and graphically either way. Thus, there is a serious need to integrate because of the variety both inhabit. Marketing and sales are although more autonomous than accounting and operations.
To understand this in a better way, let's have a look at the top five reasons.
1) Reduced manpower for transcribing data
Spreadsheets and spreadsheets are all we see into the PCs. This happens because the workflow cannot be managed without copying the data. The same data is copied and pasted numerous times while transcribing it. That is why the PCs are full of spreadsheets containing data that has been either emailed or transferred from one system to another. This adds up the cost without any significant addition of value. These processes are generally time-consuming, even if we consider the semi-automated process wherein the data are delimited to texts or Excel files. They are more error-prone even.
All the transcription error involving data must be eliminated- Any data whichever way is transferred has to contain at least some amount of error. The copy paste data is often passed into wrong fields, it might even have character set issues which not only make it look strange but are also instrumental in the crash process. They generally place a cryptic character in data while transferring. The import/export procedures that we normally follow, even these procedures experience such transcription errors when the data type is improper. Such data consist of delimiters that skew columns and rows or manually edit the data between the processes.
2) The world now requires a real-time flow of data
The integration system can easily be configured to post almost instantly upon any creation or update of the source record. This can be illustrated as- while making a call to businesses, we often look them up online, just so that we have a better idea of what we are about to talk. A similar case happened to me while I was on hold with a business, I looked for their competitors and almost instantly filled out their questionnaire and submitted it. This was followed up by a very instant call which I answered. It was the representative from the company whose web questionnaire I just filled. They even gave me few follow up calls. This compelled me to tell the representative how they were able to snag a sale from one of their competitors. To which he answered that they had a very efficient web portal which had a live integration system with CRM which puts up the queries instantly into the inbound inquiry queue. His job was to monitor the queue and while he dialed my number he quickly read my response. How smart is that? Right. This is what we now require.
3) The CRM can be triggered to effectively monitor the changes from data to ERP system
The greatest feature of Dynamics CRM involves its ability to create the workflow based on the record that is being created or create the workflow based on the updated value of the record that has already been created. The workflow can be channelized in a branching way based on the events that occurred or the updates that were done. These tasks are then assigned to a variety of users, be it in a group or a queue. Although the Microsoft Dynamics ERP doesn’t have this kind of configurations, but still by integrating the CRM with Microsoft Dynamics GP, any minor change in a record can trigger a workflow.
For instance- For a shipment of an order to a customer. A CRM configured mail can be sent as a shipment notice to the customer followed up by a telephone call to verify the delivery of package as well as understand the quality of products. Any sudden change in the number of items can be configured by CRM to create tasks for Master Scheduler to regularly review the quantity and verify with the production unit. Or else any change in the standard cost of an item can trigger CRM to assign tasks to the pricing manager to review the pricing details of various items.
4) Reports must combine ERP and CRM data accurately
The Dynamics CRM and GP, both are built on the Microsoft platform end to end, using its SQL server as the engine in which all the data resides. The business intelligence development studio of Microsoft can be used to create reports that integrate both the data of CRM and ERP systems in an MS Dynamics Great Plains. For instance- The invoice payment receipts general reside in GP whereas the metrics for determining commission rates reside in CRM. ROM reports generally have their Campaigning date in CRM and the cost and revenue pricing in GP. Thus there is an urgent need to combine both.
So, these are a few reasons that one should consider to integrate Dynamics CRM with Dynamics GP to improve the overall business process in an effective manner.