Almost every large company today, has an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. In the past, companies used different programs to support their business activities. Within an ERP program a large number of processes and departments may be managed. Product or customer information for example, need only to be fed into the system once to be widely accessible and retrievable in the organization, since a single database is used. Indeed, all business processes, including inventory systems, business administration and logistics are linked in such a way that all information gathered by the company, can be used by everyone.
Advantages and disadvantages of Enterprise Resource Planning
ERP systems have obvious advantages. They are cost effective, reduce the risk of inconsistent data, make work more efficient and improve communication, both internally (about customers) and externally (to customers).
There are some disadvantages, however. These are generally related to the implementation of the system and to the organization itself. Organizations and managers must be aware of the major changes that accompany the implemention of an ERP system. ERP software provides no added value without proper instructions for usage, or when maintenance of the functionality is neglected. Commitment, support, buy-in and supervision are required.
The software itself is generally sound. According to expectations, companies and organizations are likely to be working with ERP systems for the next few decades. Scale and cost-effectiveness have become preconditions for companies who wish to operate in a highly globalised playing field. Large companies often require integrated management of their administrattive processes or increasingly complex logistics. Triodor has built up a solid body of knowledge and best practices on the cutting edge of automated logistics and ERP systems, that we develop and maintain for various companies.
The most common definition of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is that of a process and a technology which optimises all contacts with customers. Since its introduction in the 90's CRM has been the Holy Grail for companies and marketers that wish to maintain close contact with their customers. After all, CRM makes it possible to offer nearly every customer an individual value proposition based on his or her wishes. Today, a well-functioning CRM system is standard and has become a permanent feature of a modern business.
The benefits of effective CRM systems are a strong argument to legitimise their use. A CRM system provides insight into which customers are profitable and which are not, both as market segments and individually. It makes targeted actions possible and enables companies to carry out personalised campaigns. The pay-off is clear: marketing, sales and service processes become more efficient and cheaper. A second advantage is that companies gain insight into purchasing behavior, allowing cross-selling in a systematic way. Third, CRM may significantly improve the service level if an organization knows which customer contacts have occurred and what the outcomes were. Finally, CRM contributes to the development of sustainable relationships between business and customers.
At this stage, there are hundreds of CRM systems available in the Netherlands. As a rule, three different types of CRM are distinguished:
- Customer-touching applications where customers have direct contact with the application. An example is self-service.
- Customer-centric intelligence applications. These are applications that analyze the results of operational processes to improve CRM applications, such as data mining and data warehousing.
- Customer-facing applications, whereby the customer interacts with the company. An example is a call center or help desk.
There is a clear trend in CRM systems, both in the Netherlands and internationally. Increasingly, the systems are used online in an ASP/SaaS model. For both the online and offline versions of CRM, Triodor has a number of specialised professionals available. They currently work in one or more dedicated teams to develop customised CRM applications.