Organizations increasingly integrating CRM, ERP products

Companies are moving toward a more hybrid environment of enterprise software from various vendors into a joint experience to create greater value for customers, enabled by more cost effective options.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor
Even though not many organizations have succeeded in blending the use of solutions for different vendors, a large number are embarking on this journey.

Organizations are looking at a more hybrid environment as they strive to integrate enterprise software solutions from different vendors for greater value to their customers, which is increasingly becoming a priority.
According to Stephen Fowler, director for Microsoft CRM Asia-Pacific, when it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems within organizations today, there is a greater degree of integration and a hybrid environment.

Organizations today use solutions not only from a particular vendor but several vendors and are look to blend them all to create a joined experience in departments such as the contact center or supply chain side, he observed, in a interview on Tuesday.

Cost efficiency through prioritizing customers

Even though not many organizations have succeeded in blending the use of solutions for different vendors, a large number are embarking on this journey, as it creates better value for their customer base, he explained.

This is because organizations today are starting to prioritize their customers, Fowler pointed out, noting the "old ways of shoving products up the door and waiting for transactions to take place" no longer exist. In the past, it was expensive for organizations to invest in being customer-focused but today, the technology landscape has made it more cost effective for organizations, Fowler explained. 

For example, in Ovum's latest report on selecting a CRM solution 2013-2014 released Tuesday, it was found while the CRM market was mature and organizations continued making investments in CRM, they were now looking further to being a customer-adaptive enterprise (CAE).

This meant being able to respond rapidly to changes in customer demand and adapt to the right frequency to remain relevant to its customers, explained Jeremy Cox, principal analyst of enterprise solutions software at Ovum, who was at the interview.

"Continuous, timely, and relevant innovation is the hallmark of such an organization," Cox said. "Any transformational CRM vision whether focused on the customer experience or CAE requires a portfolio of applications that work seamlessly together to enable anyone in contact with the customer to deliver context-aware relevant information."
In this report, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, had moved ahead of Oracle Siebel CRM, and SAP CRM within the market leaders category from the previous study 18 months ago, due to its flexibility in including new applications, and simplifying workflow capability which connects people within an organization together, Cox explained.

"You can live and grow within the solution rather than being told you need to use the solution a particular way," Fowler noted.

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