The ABC’s of ERP and CRM: How they’re alike (and how they’re not)

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Business owners who are keen on adopting an automation strategy to power their organization, often consider Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Both ERP and CRM have their own exclusive offering, with a rich variety of functionality, although some of their features may occasionally overlap. As a result, when shopping around, potential customers often wonder if it’s best to choose one of the two, or both, or, if there’s a way they can get ERP and CRM to work well, together.

Before we deep dive into the fundamental differences between ERP and CRM, and which one is better for your organization, let’s take a look at what both business software systems actually do.

What an ERP does

A business management system, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), helps organizations to automate their business processes, and share standardized information across departments. It helps reduce manual entry of data, and synchronizes and unifies all available business and operational information, so that data is not repeated or duplicated. ERP helps organizations to free up storage space, and streamline their operations, such as e-commerce, manufacturing, inventory management, employee access management, and finances. Simply put, ERP helps businesses focus on what they do, instead of how it should be done.

What a CRM does

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software helps businesses manage and control their interactions with past, current, and prospective customers. It establishes a unified channel through which company employees can easily access customer data, interact with customers, and synchronize various processes, such as customer service, marketing, and sales. CRM helps companies to automate several manual tasks, including social engagement, lead management, and customer support. Most important, a CRM system provides a holistic view of each customer, so that marketing, sales, and customer service can be enhanced, and in turn, enhance the overall customer experience.

The Difference between ERP and CRM

Both ERP and CRM help businesses to automate and optimize their daily operations. In the table below, we’ve taken a closer look at how these solutions differ from one another.

ERP or CRM: Making a choice depends on your unique business needs

As you can see, the features of ERP and CRM are quite diverse. While ERP is a holistic approach to streamline all of your business operations, with a focus on backend management, a CRM helps businesses to manage and automate their frontend operations, such as customer interactions, sales and marketing, and customer support. Each system offers its own dedicated functionality, therefore, a detailed evaluation of your business is necessary to understand which one might better suit your organization’s needs.

Moreover, both ERP and CRM can be integrated to further synchronize and streamline your operations and your business data. With ERP and CRM integration, you can essentially turn proposal generation (created in the CRM) into actual orders (executed and tracked at the ERP level) using a single system. For your business, this results in reduced time and resources for data management, and increased company efficiency and productivity.

To find out if choosing an ERP or a CRM is better for your organization, or adopting the approach of ERP and CRM integration, contact us to schedule a no-obligation call with one of our ERP experts.

The Author
Efrat Nakibly
Director of Consulting, Priority Software U.S.

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