What do companies automate between their ERP and CRM with SmartConnect?

By Katie Soderberg, CRM Channel Manager for SmartConnect Monday, November 9, 2015

We recently attended the Dynamics UG Summit and presented a session on our 10 Commandments of Data Integration, where we highlighted the world of sources and destinations that SmartConnect allows you to integrate with.  We also demoed a scenario that we strongly believe EVERY customer should automate. The question, “What else can SmartConnect help me automate?” came up during our session and also at our booth quite a bit, so we’re jumping at the opportunity to highlight some of the most popular use cases for SmartConnect—the first being business process automation/integration between CRM and ERP.

Specifically in the CRM world—both for Microsoft CRM and Salesforce.com, SmartConnect allows for integrating with all standard areas as well as with custom entities, which is pretty powerful. Both developers and non-developers love the control and flexibility they have with SmartConnect to handle complex business requirements, so when it comes to working with ERP integrations, SmartConnect can do the things that need to be done in the way they need to be done.

With that, let’s dive into a few scenarios and, for purpose of this topic, when using the term ERP (Enterprise Resource planning), we’re referring to the accounting solution.

Scenario #1: Updating Master Data
Scenario #2: Sales Order Processing
Scenario #3: Professional Services and Time Billing
Scenario #4: Field Service
Scenario #5: CRM + ERP + XYZ Cloud App

Scenario #1: Updating Master Data

Have you ever called into a company you’re doing business with and had to answer the same question by 4 different reps that you speak to?  How not-so-awesome is that? Ok, we understand that sometimes it’s necessary for security reasons in some cases.  However, in a lot of cases, it’s because the information you’re providing is not being transferred efficiently to the right places. Automating master data is the scenario we believe every customer should automate, and there is strong evidence for how critical this truly is for an organization’s bottom line. In their July 2015 study, Gartner notes that “through 2017, CRM leaders who avoid MDM (Master Data Management) will derive erroneous results that annoy customers, resulting in a 25 percent reduction in potential revenue gains.” 

Master Data Management, or maintaining important customer data across your systems – your ERP, your CRM, and other systems—is a critical success factor and directly affects your relationships with your customers. “For example, a typical ERP system as a minimum will have a Customer Master, an item Master, and an Account Master.” (Microsoft)  SmartConnect allows you to generate the appropriate customer data where you’d like when you’d like—real-time, if you’d like.

Scenario #2:  Sales Order Processing 

This is the scenario that a lot of people typically think of when they think about the handshake between CRM and ERP. 

With this scenario, sales and customer reps are working in CRM where they are managing sales opportunities and creating quotes, and then with SmartConnect, our customers are automating the generation of orders and invoices in their ERP.  Every customer’s sales process is a little different, so although we offer a number of starting points (integration templates), SmartConnect provides a lot of flexibility for customers to automate based on their sales process. For example, internally at eOne, our partners and customers place orders on our website. When the “Submit Order” button is clicked, the order is passed through SmartConnect’s web service to create the order in our accounting system, the customer data in our CRM, and to generate the software registration keys in real-time for the customer.  Our partners and customers love how efficient this is and it provides much less opportunity for manual error.

Scenario #3: Professional Services and Time Billing 

If you have a professional services team, likely, you have some sort of process or are using technology to track the hours allocated towards your projects and then of course, bill your customers for your services. We see a lot of our customers using either a separate application and/or CRM to track the projects and services, and then they’ll use SmartConnect to generate the order/invoice in their ERP at the right time.

Scenario #4:  Field Service 

Field Service Management solutions, probably too simply put, entail scheduling and order management, dispatching, time tracking, knowledge and asset management, parts and inventory management, mobile capabilities, customer communication and business intelligence to understand trends and ROI. It’s a hot area right now for service management in CRM and is much needed for many organizations. 

Think of the scenario where you need your washer fixed and you call Sears to have someone come to your home to take a look at your washer.  While making the home visit, the service worker from Sears is likely going to document his/her findings about your washer in the service solution (many people use CRM for this), and then if a part needs to be replaced, then the service worker will create the order for the part that needs replacement. That is usually the step where SmartConnect generates order for the new part in the ERP (and certainly in other areas too, like to update a status in the service solution for the part ordered). Take look at our case study on Industrial Air Centers, Inc. to read about their success using SmartConnect to power data integration for their field service.

Scenario #5:  CRM + ERP + XYZ Cloud App 

As one of my tech guy often says, “Man, it’s getting cloudy in here.” For our customers, it’s important that they have a strategy to manage business processes for their hybrid environments, and SmartConnect is perfect for that.

Case-in-point…we recently launched our Zendesk-Microsoft CRM integration, which we’re actually selling through Zendesk’s marketplace. This means the purchasing of our app takes place on Zendesk’s website and then the order is processed in their preferred online processing solution. At the time the order is placed, we use SmartConnect to generate the right data in our CRM and our accounting system, so our accounting system knows who paid for what, and we can onboard, nurture and service our new customer using our CRM.

For a different example, we have customers who need to generate invoices and customer data in their systems from various EDI providers, which can be made available in very different data formats: txt files, csv, xml, SQL, etc. Since SmartConnect can leverage these data formats as a data source and destination, they’re able to integrate with those applications and generate the data (invoices, customer data) in the right places.

These are just a couple of examples for ways SmartConnect can help automate business processes between and among your customer and technology touch points.   

Click here to learn more about SmartConnect, eOne’s no-code data integration and migration solution that makes generating data easy and helps you say yes to very specific business requirements.

Don't Be Greedy:

Written By Katie Soderberg , CRM Channel Manager for SmartConnect

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