By Henning Lund - March 09, 2022

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Many business executives decide to invest in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and/or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application. They do that to streamline processes, increase productivity and improve customer relationships. 

However, far from all ERP and CRM software implementations can be called successes. It is tragic to be the witness of good investments not being fruitful. 

It is no secret in the IT world that ERP implementations, especially, can be tricky and risky projects. The intentions behind the investment in new ERP and CRM are always pure. They always make sense from a business point of view. 

This article will list the reason behind some of the ERP and CRM implementation failures. It will then investigate how connecting ERP and CRM systems can help getting the most out of these systems. 

The benefits of ERP and CRM implementations

Investing in a new ERP and CRM system is a big step for any organization. It means heavy investments. Just as importantly, it means fundamental changes in business processes and new routines. 

Some companies get both new systems simultaneously, others take a step by step approach. The benefits of each system separately are undeniable. 

CRM solutions help companies: 

  • Streamline customer-facing processes,
  • Organize customer data for a better customer understanding,
  • Cross-sell and up-sell,
  • Boost sales productivity,
  • Offer better customer service,
  • Strongly enhance customer relationship management throughout the sales cycle and even beyond. 

On the other hand, ERP systems are known to let businesses: 

  • Increase operational efficiency, from supply chain management to billing and accounting
  • Gain visibility into all operational aspects of their activity
  • Reduce operating costs
  • Collect critical information and make better-informed business decisions
  • Safely and easily scale

Each solution, separately, can potentially make a significant difference in a company’s operations. They collect invaluable information to feed business intelligence systems. 


Why businesses refrain from integrating CRM and ERP softwares

Side by side, they stand strong. Integrated they stand even stronger. When companies connect CRM and ERP solutions, they remove potential silos of information. 

Disconnected systems are never as effective as integrated solutions. However, many organizations refrain from performing the integration. Some business executives are worried about running into troublesome integration processes. In fact, for many projects, integrating the two systems is part of the initial vision.

They can be worried about data security when connecting with external systems and integrating with external objects. 

Most often, however, the cost of the integration is key. Sometimes, the initial investment in the two systems separately has been bigger than planned. They have utilized a great deal of their allocated resources, time, and budget – sometimes more. It is then hard to preach for more.

As a result, the integration of the two systems is typically set aside for a shorter or longer period. Combined together however, these two systems can help companies take an exponential leap.

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The benefits of CRM and ERP integration 

From a conceptual point-of-view, ERP-CRM integration makes a lot of sense. ERP systems provide much-needed internal information that can be shared with new stakeholders. CRM systems provide the entry point for stakeholders to engage with an organization. You can't really have one without the other and be successful in the marketplace.

Top 4 reasons for erp-crm integration-infographic

From an operational point of view, you can achieve much greater benefits by integrating the two systems. I’ll give you my top 4 reasons:

  • Get a 360 degree view of your customers. It is important to have a red thread in your commercial processes. From prospect, to sales orders and support, to finance and accounting, together these systems provide complete visibility into your customers. They gather in one place their needs, buying habits, order history, preferences, account standing, etc. 

Integrating a CRM like Salesforce org with an ERP like MIcrosoft Dynamics will give you better insight into your customer base. You can then use it to build lasting relationships with customers. You can determine where there is potential for future growth.

  • Gain tremendously in efficiency. When you have instant access to important information you can act faster and better. Always having access to business-critical information in real-time lets you quickly and accurately respond to your customers’ and other stakeholders’ questions and requests.

For example, when you connect Salesforce with an ERP, you always have access to inventory levels, shipments, customer financials, order history, returns, payments, pricing, etc. Thanks to the integration, data flows seamlessly from one system to the other.

This information is at your fingertips, whether you work in your ERP or your CRM.  You never have to search answers in multiple systems. You avoid wasting your time finding information and you improve customer experience.

  • Reduce or remove manual routines. Manual routines are time-consuming and prone to human error. When you eliminate redundant data entry, you increase data quality. You have access to customer data you can trust.

You then have a chance to streamline processes and automate commercial and operational workflows. This enables you to increase response time and give you more time to spend on the most revenue-generating activities.

  • Fully benefit from your systems investment. Return on investment (ROI) is an essential part of any IT implementation project. The implementation of a data integration platform is no exception. Because you secure a higher user adoption via data integration, you automatically help your systems ROI

Before CRM and ERP, your staff had their own way to deal with their daily tasks. If your CRM and ERP systems were harder and more cumbersome to use, they will reject them and go back to their old solutions. 

When your systems are well integrated, your staff will not have to find or go back to alternative ways to find data to perform their daily tasks.

In summary, if you want to get the most out of your ERP and CRM system, you need to integrate them. There are today many good data integration solutions in the market

You can opt for cost-effective cloud-based solutions that allow fast, automated and secure data integration. Integration solutions such as RapidiOnline run as a service. Implementation time is in the large majority of the cases limited to 3-10 man days. 

This makes it both possible and affordable to move forward with safe and secure data integration projects. In reality, there can be a much bigger risk in not integrating the two systems as you will fail to reap the full benefits of your investment.

About the author

Henning Lund

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With over 25 years’ experience in strategically propelling businesses forward, Henning is considered a business development entrepreneur with a passion for transforming businesses, sales and marketing operations through out-of-the-box thinking, concepts building and process automation to improve overall performance and scalability.
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