ERP vs. CRM?
What is the difference between CRM and ERP?
The simplest (and therefore not very accurate) answer we can give is that ERP systems focus on cost minimization, while CRM focuses on revenue maximization. Both systems share part of a company's information base – employees, customers, and nomenclature. However, while ERP's ultimate goal is to achieve optimal product cost through efficient production, procurement, and inventory management, CRM software emphasizes managing the customer base and maximizing profits from it.
Should ERP or CRM be implemented first?
It all depends on the specifics of your business. Typically, for trading and manufacturing companies, the ERP system should come first to improve the quality and reduce the cost of the offered goods. Then comes the question of how to make the sales process more efficient once the product is already competitive and of high quality. In service-oriented businesses, CRM is usually the more critical software system because the company's revenues are much more dependent on the efficiency of the actual sales process and the quality of service.
In many cases, when an ERP solution claims to include CRM, it often refers mainly to marketing functionality rather than substantial CRM capabilities. There are a few exceptions (SAP being one of them). With global manufacturers like Microsoft and Oracle, for example, CRM solutions are separate packages that can be integrated with the ERP system. In the end, it all depends on whether a specific software solution can meet your needs.