ERP and CRM: What is the difference?

Traditionally, companies have managed their business through the use of several applications included in the same package such as Microsoft Office or, more recently, Google Drive. Some even continue to use paper, especially in accounting and billing. Others, for example, keep their customers saved and "at hand" in their smartphones, but do not have a document or record with their most relevant data. However, the context of digital transformation in which we currently find ourselves is helping to generate new needs for companies, among which is the constant search for the integration of information.

As a solution to this problem, many are the organisations that, in recent years, have ended up resorting to the installation of an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or Business Resource Planning System. Thanks to this, its users are able to integrate information, departments, processes and many more elements related to the day-to-day of the company; all in a single tool. This entails avoiding duplication, minimising errors and increasing efficiency, among other benefits.

At the same time and with the trend of seeking to generate value for the customer, an interest in Customer Relationship Management platforms, (known as CRM), has also grown. This application allows endless interactions between the company and its clients, as it not only increases agility and minimises failures when registering them and consulting their data and history, but we can also generate personalised quotes and opportunities. In this way, the ultimate goal of a CRM will be to maximise the company's income while increasing the satisfaction of our customers.

Last April, the press echoed the 2022 Digital Transformation surveywhich involved more than 1,000 leading technology companies in the United States and Europe, 110 of which were Irish. The data released shows how, driven by the effect of the pandemic, 88% of Irish companies are in favor of approving new digital strategies, which is in line with the 80% that actually accelerated their digital transformation plans in this last year. In addition, more than half of the Irish companies surveyed indicated “seeking to improve the customer experience” as a main objective in the transformation, and as many as two-thirds plan to increase their technology budget by at least 10% in the next five years. 

In order to improve their technological performance, many of these companies have recently installed an ERP, which has often been complemented with a CRM, precisely to fulfill their main objective in the digital transformation process. 

Although ERP and CRM are not the same, they have a series of similarities that often lead to confusion and it is likely that many companies do not dare to take the step of carrying out a digital transformation due to insecurity or difficulties understanding the differences between these two software tools. Therefore, it is convenient to know how to distinguish them. Next, we expose some of the most illustrative contrasts:

Manage processesManage clients
Optimise costsMaximise income
Integrate information, departments (sales, HR...)Generation of sales opportunities or initiatives.
Slow and progressive adaptationAgile, dynamic adaptation

In addition to the above, it should be noted that, although we can find companies that operate with the same system to manage ERP and CRM tasks indistinctly, some do so with different programs. The latter is likely to generate difficulties, since management can become arduous if we have to be duplicating information or having to "synchronise" it manually.  

That is why the ideal option (and the most comfortable) is the one we can obtain with Odoo: the total integration of all the tools that may be useful to us to manage our company and the centralisation of all the information in the same database.  

And what is Odoo? It is an integrated business management software that contains a wide variety of modules to install, one of them being CRM. In other words, in Odoo, the CRM is included within the ERP, so the need for multiple programs disappears. 

In addition, this system is known for having two options when implementing it: Odoo Community and Odoo Enterprise. With respect to the Community version, its main advantage is the price: as it is an open source software we do not have to pay for licenses. Additionally, in this version it is the developers and users themselves who encourage changes to the software, as well as the preparation of manuals for its proper use. On the other hand, Odoo Enterprise does have a license cost.

If we ask for opinions on any version of Odoo, we will see that it is usually advisable to hire a specialised consulting service that is temporarily in charge of installing and configuring it according to your specific needs in order to subsequently show how to use it to future users. This is because, being a highly customisable system, it requires additional configurations to become our ideal ERP.  

If you want to have your entire company in the same tool, do not hesitate! At Bakata Solutions we are specialists in implementation and customisation of Odoo Community, contact us and tell us about your needs: we will be happy to help you.  

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