Hyper CRM or mini ERP? Business is confused

    We, IT professionals, like no one, know how often stereotypes are found in thinking, especially among non-professionals, but IT lovers. From what immediately comes to mind: if it were a block, then it is PHP; Java only for large projects; Python is for science only; 1C for non-programmers. It is clear that these are erroneous judgments, but they also appeared not from scratch - it did not go without mass precedents. Just like in classical mythology.

    This mythology has touched and corporate software. Quite unambiguous stereotypes have developed in the business environment: “CRM is a program for sales”, “ERP is cosmically expensive”, “CRM is for everyone”, “ERP is for intergalactic corporations”. Meanwhile, the situation has significantly changed in such a way that they are essentially irrelevant, but nevertheless continue to live in the head. As a result, companies abandon the required level of automation, confuse concepts, get inefficient tools, etc.

    It's time to restore order. Let's start with ERP vs CRM.

    Where did the legs grow from the question?

    Let us recall our common recent past - we carried rather heavy cell phones and it seemed that the trend was going to minimize weight and size. We had (and are still alive) televisions, players, watches, alarm clocks, PDA planners and electronic notebooks, voice recorders, photo dressers and other wearable and not very electronics. Now, in fact, most of the functions of electronic assistants are performed by one smartphone - large, powerful and smart. This is the evolution of technology.

    On the other hand, earlier Nokia, Motorola, Siemens, Sony + Ericsson, Alcatel thundered. Well, even Philips struck armor piercing. A little later, he shyly made his way to the Samsung market with clamshells and colored modelkas. What now? Bend your fingers: Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Sony, Meizu, Huawei, Nokia, Philips, ASUS, Lenovo, One Plus and another two dozen Chinese brands like Doogee and LeEco. And this is the evolution of a business that responded to the needs of the market and high demand.

    Exactly the same story in the Russian (and world) business sphere.

    1. The business has changed. If before production was available to large and medium-sized companies, today, thanks to a developed Chinese economy and active supplies from the Middle Kingdom, machines, materials, furnaces, office equipment, etc. significantly cheaper. This means that a small company for 10 people may have a warehouse, production, budgeting, procurement management, logistics, and its own transport fleet. At the same time, investing in ERP for several million for such a business remains unacceptable, and good accounting is needed.
    2. CRM systems developed in parallel (for example, our company has been on the market for 17 years, our RegionSoft CRM has been 12 years old, and it has already undergone 6 major releases). They were introduced, they were being finalized, part of the modifications went to backlog, from it to production. There was a process of increasing the functionality and universalization of software. CRM-systems, which were not abandoned by developers, have actually grown to the level of ERP, excluding perhaps some modules (who has some, depends on the pool of clients and their requirements).
    3. The information saturation of the business has grown - even a small company in the course of its daily activities accumulates a large amount of data, stores extensive customer databases, increases knowledge bases, logs, records, etc.

      A primitive example: starting a client in CRM, now the manager can collect even among contacts — e-mail, work phone, cell phone, Skype, Telegram, social network accounts, etc.

      A serious example: every contact with a client is accompanied by a collection of contact, financial, operational information, relationships quickly acquire a mass of documents, surveys, correspondence, mailings, recorded calls, requests, etc. All this needs to be stored in an organized way, because unorganized information is not just useless, it can interfere with work and make decisions (due to distortions in analytics and data interpretation).

      All divisions within the company are closely related, because they face the task: to attract, satisfy, retain the customer and get revenue. Accordingly, the logistician should know how things are with the stock balance, the storekeeper - how much and what the production worker will ask, the sales person - how much will be produced, the marketer - how to put pressure on the market in order to sell what is not sold. Outside the unified informational environment, such relationships cannot be built - you’ll have a broken phone, a torn term and a disgruntled customer, urinating that there is a reputation for being in social networks (at best) and writing to the court (at worst).
    4. Companies have amassed zoos software that performs individual tasks and most often is not integrated with each other. Scattered software leads to problems within the business processes themselves: judge for yourself - when the stocks are separate, and customers - separately, this can lead to a malfunction and, as a result, to reputational losses. It is time consuming, unsafe, difficult in terms of monitoring and administration and, finally, expensive - you have to pay for all the products.

      For example, in one company for 40 people, except for working software like IDE and Photoshop, each (!) Employee is available: corporate portal (chat + social network), samopisny corporate portal (news, orders, dismissals, time management , calendar, time off), cloud service with a Gantt chart, which has been keeping track of work on projects for a hundred years, Skype for Business, internal messenger, CRM for clients with invoicing (West), CRM for Russian clients (samopisnaya), 1C, 2 mails on different domains with a bunch of clients to taste and a handful of dropbox offices- claims where sharyatsya documents. Cherry on the cake - folders corporate balls with a nested hierarchy. And from all this there are logins, passwords, all have their own interfaces, windows, forms ... Is it comfortable to work? And pay for it all how much! By the way a few months ago, the last sysadmin was dismissed as unable to cope with the position, and the work fell to the programmers. Reference IT infrastructure mess.

    As a result, there is a technical and economic need to create unified multifunctional applications that can not only provide the user with a single interface window, but also efficiently store and process information.

    For this, CRM systems and ERP systems that provide end-to-end automation are best suited.

    What is the difference between CRM and ERP?

    The difference between these systems can be based on functionality, complexity, cost, etc. But in fact, the key is this: the focus of the CRM system is on the client, the focus of the ERP system is inside the business, on the business processes. In detail we look at the differences in tabular form:

    CRM system
    ERP system
    Key object
    Customer, deals, customer relations
    Company business processes and resources used in their management
    Main purpose
    The pure CRM system is aimed at collecting, storing and processing standardized data about customers, transactions, operational work, performance indicators, etc. She does an excellent job with the tasks of maintaining customer relations, planning sales, building a marketing mix, retaining customers, organizing loyalty programs, etc.
    ERP, although it performs some of the functions of CRM, shifts its view of the business itself. Its task is to improve the efficiency of business processes and get the most reliable cut of the situation within the company. ERP helps to evaluate business processes and optimize them.
    Due to which the economic effect is formed
    CRM works by increasing sales - it creates all the conditions for the productive realization of goods and services.
    ERP reduces the costs spent on business processes by optimizing these processes.
    When needed in business
    Frankly, in 2018 already in every business should be at least CRM entry-level. That is, if you have more than 2 people and you have more than 5 clients, CRM is definitely needed (if the company is not preparing for closure).
    • If the manager / head of department / project manager does not know what is happening in their departments.
    • If the company has a warehouse + purchases + logistics.
    • If the company has its own production.

    Most important functions
    • Customer Relationship Management
    • Marketing and sales
    • Analytics
    • Personal and collective planning
    • Customer base storage
    • Sales funnel
    • Business Process Management
    • Assortment Management
    • Work with primary documentation
    • Work with applications and orders

    • Business Process Management
    • Product Planning and Purchasing
    • Production and Delivery Planning
    • Inventory Management
    • Shipping and payment
    • Supply chain management system
    • Accounting and financial accounting
    • Marketing and sales
    • Customer Relationship Management

    As you can see, there are functional intersections in the systems, which means that any CRM can approach the ERP system, and ERP can take on some of the functions of the CRM system. So, to produce two entities and integrate again, to establish data exchange, or simply to work in two systems?

    No, not necessarily. Based on the needs of your company, you can choose a solution that can work for you as a tool, and not flaunt and not hang in the budget of 7 million investments in automation. The hybrid, which we conditionally denote as “hyper CRM” is good because it works both to increase sales and to optimize expenses at the same time, but it is free from ERP attributes that are mandatory for giant companies (for example, from personnel management functions and full-fledged financial and accounting - if only because accounting in Russian companies has been automated for a long time: 1C got to everyone, and where they didn't get, there are solutions for individual entrepreneurs, etc.).

    Of course, even a small company with a good turnover can find money for the purchase of a “full-fledged” ERP, but then it will come out like a sport car to drive mushrooms: you will not enjoy the speed, you will kill the suspension, and you will scratch the paint on the body. You can shout from the window: “I'm at Ferrari, bears, have you seen?” (Read like “Dude, I've bought SAP here, a fire-system, standing, admiring”).

    All right, except jokes. Hyper CRM makes it possible to manage various aspects of the company in a single system and is simply convenient to do. For example, our RegionSoft CRM Enterprise Plusincludes not only the most complete set of CRM functions, but also business processes, warehouse management, logistics and production (and with different types of manufacturing products and warehouse accounting). Our clients love this approach, because in a few minutes you can ship the goods, place an order, check balances, write out all the documents, etc. Without CRM, it would take hours, or even days. Tremendous saving of resources and at the same time excellent operational control, without which, for example, in a warehouse you can suffer huge losses (regrading, theft, glut).

    How to understand that I need ERP or CRM? And so good!

    What is for CRM, that for ERP we can advise you a simple and somewhat extravagant method: ask each head of department (or a key, “involved” employee) any indicator (sales for today, volume of orders for today, residues of one type of product for stock, quantity of output, etc.) and note how long it will prepare the answer. Look at the search path: will he ask for time to prepare the data, or will he dig in Excel or will he read the documents? If the numbers are not named quickly and clearly, you need automation with CRM or ERP (according to the needs and business profile).

    Well, this is the primary indicator. There are deeper reasons to start looking for a vendor of a CRM / ERP dream.

    • You have in your company conscious (or even established and regulated) business processes and you need to ensure their continuity and reduce the influence of the human factor.
    • Business processes have become tedious: it is difficult to track orders and customer relationships, the structure of sales and inquiries is incomprehensible, stocks have to be recalculated manually.
    • Information is stored in separate systems and databases - in the workflow it is often necessary to export or import data, errors occur.
    • Your relationship with customers requires fast deliveries, shipments, flawless order fulfillment and keeping a history of relations to the smallest details, including discounts, special prices, return of goods, etc.
    • You feel that the productivity of employees has rested against the ceiling, and for some reason it is difficult to expand the staff.
    • Often they get lost and need duplication and restoration of documents (accounts, acts, contracts, commercial offers, technical and commercial proposals, etc.).
    • The company lives on a budget or a business plan, but their compilation and adjustment take a lot of time and require new data each time.
    • Employees of the company combine several positions and / or perform several tasks simultaneously (logistic storekeeper, storekeeper-salesman, etc.).
    • There is a lot of information, but it seems like a burden to you and you have to rewrite the data before each specific decision, there is no storage of ready-made reports, there are no dynamic reports (by periods).
    • The costs of internal processes are increasing, but their effectiveness (sales, orders, revenue) is not.
    • The company has its own production.
    • The company has several offices, branches, partners and it is necessary to aggregate information and manage all departments from the center.
    • Employees began to work less efficiently.
    • You began to outpace competitors.
    • Price competition is impossible on the market and it is necessary to steer due to loyalty and quality of service.

    The listed markers are relevant for business in any sphere: from retail and advertising agency to an IT company and a store with its own cooking.

    What and why choose a business for yourself?

    In each situation, you need to collect the requirements and compare them with the functionality of the software. General recommendations are as follows:

    • no physical production and no warehouse - CRM and do not even worry;
    • there is production and warehouse, but there are no special requirements for finance and HR - hyper CRM with the appropriate functionality (warehouse, production, KPI, project management, primary organization ...);
    • everything is necessary, including complex financial accounting and special personnel management - ERP.

    In any case, buying and implementing CRM / ERP, you invest in:

    • Analytics - and you know more about customers and the state of affairs in the company; you have the most complete and accurate information
    • information storage - all data will be unified and at any time available for analysis and adoption of micro- and strategic decisions
    • reduction of the number of transactions within the company - a set of routine and mandatory tasks will be taken over by an automatic system (translation of steps, reminders, mailing, document generation and filling of printed forms, preparation of reports, etc.)
    • control center of the company - you get a working tool that allows you to manage operational and analytical work, being in the interface of one program (like a remote control)
    • Medium-term and long-term planning is the most important aspect of a company’s activity, which plans to gain a foothold in the market without overworking and overpaying for resources.

    A little help for those who want exactly full-featured ERP

    Frankly speaking, there are exactly three well-known full-fledged ERP-systems of Russian production: 1С: ERP Enterprise Management, Galaxy and Sail (you can see the whole market here ). These are powerful, functional, tested by numerous implementations and very expensive, practically not lifting for small and medium businesses. The rest are the same hyper CRM, just like RegionSoft CRM Enterprise Plus (so if you hear about the next ERP in 10 minutes, look out!).
    Why are we so obsessed with Russian vendors, because for online implementations there are no more boundaries? Let's answer shortly:

    • they are built according to the rules of business adopted in Russia and most of the ExUSSR countries
    • they are cheaper, even expensive, both the licenses themselves and the implementation works
    • more accessible training and support
    • no need to buy complex connectors for working with primary documentation
    • they are more adequately integrated with accounting systems such as 1C: Enterprise.

    What to look for in the process of choosing a CRM / ERP-system?

    In principle, we wrote about the choice of CRM here and here , it is also suitable for ERP. But there are the most important points that should be considered first.

    1. Platform or not and what is the quality of the platform. Often ERP served under the sauce platform, but it is necessary to distinguish technical capabilities from marketing husks. The ability to write custom reports, APIs and scripts is a developer tool, no more. The platform is almost a full-fledged IDE, in which your programmer can finish CRM / ERP for business tasks. If you go to such a decision, remember that the platform is a road by itself + throw a programmer's salary with the necessary skills (a hint is so expensive).
    2. Cloud or not. If a small company with not very valuable data can be pampered with a cloud, then cloudy ERP and hyper CRM need to present tangible security requirements - in fact, you will transfer an electronic cast of your entire company to the cloud, up to a ruble of revenue and up to a step of the business process. A matter of taste, but personally we would not dare. Practice shows that the more serious a business becomes, the clearer the leadership forms the conviction that the corporate system should be exclusively under the control of its sysadmin and not go beyond the office, even distributed (when several offices are combined into a single virtual local area network VPN).
    3. Minimal security features: how and when backups are made, where they are stored, how the distribution system of access rights is arranged, what authentication mechanisms are provided.
    4. Updates. Pay attention to the information on the website about updates. If there is none, ask the vendor what updates are coming out, how they are rolling (should you interrupt the work in the system), which updates are paid, and which ones are not.
    5. Technical support - find out in what volume it is provided, what is the volume of the free package and what are the features of a paid one, what is the priority of providing technical support in both cases.
    6. The cost of ownership and the cost of the necessary infrastructure : there may be paid add-ons, services, DBMS, developer tools, etc. This is normal, but such facts are better known in advance.

    There is such a statistic: according to the Aberdeen Group analytics, medium-sized companies that implement modern ERP systems can support changes and increase operating profit by 21%, reduce administrative costs by 22% and operating expenses by 23%. These are impressive figures showing that investing in ERP (as in CRM) is justified.

    CRM is considered to be the first step to ERP. Of course, this is another myth about corporate software. These are not consecutive elements and not sides of the same coin, and not even an evolutionary chain. The best definition - CRM and ERP - is an independent program, each of which solves the challenges facing the business at a particular point in time.

    Even for the smallest business, a CRM system is better than a random, fragmented set of customer data stored in notebooks, tablets, or an employee’s head. Customer relationships are the lifeblood of any business, and CRM is the essential life support apparatus. It takes ERP or not - time shows, but a good CRM is also cool for a start.

    Only here you have the most simple advice: any tool works only when used. Don't let CRM or ERP be lazy.

    If you just need a very good CRM, then we have RegionSoft CRM Professional .
    If you need the very hyper CRM, then - RegionSoft CRM Enterprise and RegionSoft CRM Enterprise Plus .
    And if suddenly something cheaper and simpler - RegionSoft CRM Standard .

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