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Industry trends shaking up evolution of ERP and CRM

by Bridget McCrea
Contributing Writer,

There is growing discussion among analysts and industry-watchers over whether the traditional terminology of ERP and CRM software still aligns with market needs. These terms are not about to drop off a cliff, but as businesses demand higher levels of industry-specific functionality, expert perspectives vary on where the market is going and how quickly.

Overlapping Roles

The overlapping of ERP and CRM isn't new. While a customer's place is clearly carved out in the traditional CRM systems, more firms are examining the core data elements (i.e., the customer data records in their ERPs) and asking themselves:  How do we extend that data to help us better manage high-value businesses processes?

"CRM is moving fast because our concept of a customer is also moving quickly," says Joshua Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting, . Concurrently, CRM use is extending into marketing departments, supply chain operations, and other areas of the typical organization.

"Companies aren't just selling and executing sales; they're offering services, handling product development through their customers, and using social media to garner feedback about products and services," says Greenbaum. "Similarly, those companies are building and distributing new products but they're much more interested in doing something that's relevant to the customers. That's why CRM and ERP systems are converging on a bigger picture of the relationship between a company and a customer."

Unique industry needs

A discussion of the future of ERP and CRM will vary by industry. For example, service-based companies may approach the ERP-CRM intersection with a focus on order management and accounting capabilities.

"Oftentimes, service businesses are more likely to have the first application that's ever implemented be CRM, ...

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About Bridget McCrea

Bridget McCrea covers business and technology topics for various publications. She can be reached at

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