Magazine article CRM Magazine

Integration Strategies-Realize the Full Value of CRM

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Integration Strategies-Realize the Full Value of CRM

Article excerpt

Salesforce.com is so easy to get up and running that users tend to expect instant access to all of their business information--about customers, contacts, leads, opportunities, and more. Although SaaS applications like Salesforce.com offer immediate results, their integration with other systems in a company is critical to realizing the full value they offer.

It has been noted that SaaS applications provide little differentiation unless they are integrated with existing back-end applications that are often core to a company's operations. Leveraging these existing assets and providing a comprehensive view of information is essential to ensuring user adoption does not plateau with newly introduced SaaS applications. This consolidated view of information is increasingly important in relation to CRM systems and in particular Salesforce.com, which are often the primary source of information for tracking sales contacts, leads, pipeline data and quarterly forecasts. Without integrated access to shipping details, product schedules, etc. that may be sourced from existing ERP applications, the ability to establishing Salesforce.com as the primary source of information may be limited or delayed.

KEY ISSUES TO CONSIDER:

Getting information into Salesforce.com. Back-end systems contain some of the most valuable corporate assets in a company as they often represent many decades of business knowledge and operational experience. For a Salesforce.com solution to be useful from the start, the information such as order history, opportunities and contacts contained in back-end systems must be migrated to the new solution.

Synchronizing information between Salesforce.com and back-end systems. Many organizations have existing back-end systems that have been the systems of record for critical corporate information about customers, products, orders and more for many years. Salesforce.com solutions need to synchronize information with the particular systems of record so the company can have a single, accurate and real-time view of customers and products.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Extracting information from Salesforce.com. Most companies generate a wide variety of operational and business intelligence (BI) reports based on data from multiple systems. While Salesforce.com offers rich reporting capability, this functionality is limited to what is contained within the application in isolation. Therefore, information from Salesforce.com must be easily transferable into existing reporting and BI applications to provide holistic dashboards for increased visibility. …

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