Integration Cited as Key to ERP-CRM Harmony

posted on 1/20/2012 1:01:13 PM

A New Jersey manufacturer implements Scribe technology to tie an SAP ERP system to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, giving salespeople timely order information and helping execs plan production.

As most companies have discovered, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is not the end-all-be-all of business technology. Often pitched as a single, holistic system of record, ERP software is rarely that in practice. Businesses that manage to create a well-oiled IT infrastructure based on ERP must first master the high art of integration, lashing together an array of software systems—from ERP to CRM to business intelligence.

That’s why it came as little surprise this week to learn that Sabert Corp., a Sayreville, NJ-based manufacturer of food packaging containers, has enlisted dedicated integration technology to bridge its SAP ERP software to its Microsoft Dynamics CRM system. Sitting between the two applications, shuttling data back and forth, is the Scribe Data Integration Platform. Scribe, which specializes in tying CRM systems to enterprise software, said in a statement this week that Sabert deployed the Scribe integration technology to push customer data, including order status reports, to the CRM system from SAP ERP. Sabert’s sales team accesses the CRM software via a Microsoft Outlook front end. Executives at the manufacturing company can better plan production, Scribe said, because sales data feeds into the ERP system reliably, illuminating the sales pipeline.

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To create the integration, Sabert employed the CRM consultants at CustomerEffective, who created 35 interfaces from SAP ERP to the Dynamics CRM system and several running the opposite course. After the initial rollout, the Sabert IT team took over upkeep of the Scribe-based integration and managed to do so without adding staff, according to Scribe.

Sabert’s experience underscores the fact that some companies don’t find exactly what they need in today’s behemoth ERP packages, which typically bundle modules for financial accounting, CRM, order management, asset management, supply chain management, and product lifecycle management, often with some degree of business intelligence baked in. Sabert, for instance, chose the robust SAP ERP system but opted for Microsoft to serve its CRM needs, even though SAP ERP features CRM functionality.

According to Mike Freeman, Sabert’s director of information technology, the CRM selection owed to familiarity. "When we were evaluating CRM solution providers for sales-force automation,” he said in the statement, “Microsoft CRM had what we needed: a native Outlook interface, which our field sales already used on their laptops, and the ability to work offline."

[For more insight on ERP, CRM, and other enterprise applications, visit TechMATCH Pro’s software home page.]