B2B CRM and ERP Trends
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is evolving faster than ever. Systems providers are creating new ways to meet the demands of new, prospective industries by leveraging additional services and capabilities further enhance popular out-of-the-box software. All of this is in the name of collecting and purposefully utilizing sophisticated data. Lead B2B CRM and ERP experts are declaring 2015 as the year of integration, customization, and understanding the customer.
1.) The explosion of SaaS Apps
There has been a massive shift. Most B2B CRM providers have moved from solely being an on-premise entity to also providing a “cloud” configured platform as well (and in many cases, only in cloud-form). This allows organizational silos to become more integrated with accessible data. Cloud CRMs are optimized to hold millions of ever-evolving, user-friendly applications most valuable to businesses and clients. A survey conducted by MorganStanley of 150 CIO’s showed cloud adoption of Salesforce.com is moving from 9 percent of those polled to 29 percent by the end of this year.
End users are demanding the functionality that cloud-based B2B CRM software can provide, such as sharing services to remote client locations and to obtain a broader view of their operations. SaaS applications appear more and more prevalent as businesses increasingly desire to target micro markets. In 2015, we can expect to see a growing focus on customer service as a competitive advantage to increase customer engagement, and an increase in sales processes based on big data reporting acquired by specialty application services integrated into the CRM.
2.) Hybrid Integration: Obtaining Big(ger) Data
Another big immergence is the use of hybrid integration tools. Cloud vendors have discovered a rather large challenge for businesses needing to consolidate their data. Big data is increasingly concerning for everyone involved. Data reporting is spread across on-premise and cloud based systems. More sophisticated “hybrid” integration assets are allowing information flows from these systems to work in tandem with one another, successfully.
2015 is the year that more and more will businesses align supply chains capabilities with automated B2B CRM capabilities. For example, if your food company’s ERP software is flexible enough to configure on-the-fly recipe changes, the goal will be to have your ERP and CRM sync to relay the changes to your supply chain and sales force in seconds. Proving connectivity and integration between all enterprise systems will likely become a systems best practice over the next few years as data libraries grow larger and businesses develop more sophisticated business process.
See the Datix application that allows businesses to seamlessly link Epicor with other systems to achieve this.
3.) Technology Ala Carte
Some sales experts believe customized B2B CRM models will provide self-service capabilities that will outpace agent assisted services in 2015. For CRM users, SaaS and iPaaS application support requirements for complex integrations will be offloaded to a more “digitally native” customer through the use of portals. The increased satisfaction of portal use allows customers to solve complex challenges when and how they want. This is extremely risky for businesses without an advanced IT department–primarily small and mid-sized businesses–in the long term.
Ever coined the phrase, one is never enough? Too many customizations lead to unclean data and poorly managed IT systems. This is a costly mistake when firms contemplate infrastructure projects. This means companies will rely more on specialized partners, or an designated software administrator, when integrating new features or cloud services. This shift can be perceived as costly at first; however in the long run the idea of properly implementing new integrations and software should – in theory – produce significant ROI in the form of time, productivity, and direct revenue.
4.) Cloud System Cyber-Security
If you’re company is achieving success with cloud-integrated applications, it might be worth it to consider implementing cloud-based security software. In 2015, you can expect to see more tech start-ups discover ways to integrate cloud service providers with cloud security measures. These added features restrict data flows in and out of business systems; like intellectual property assets and business contacts.
In addition to third party services, big box B2B CRM retailers – like Microsoft Dynamics CRM – have added a seamless feature to their 2015 version to secure their clients information: A quick setting and configuration enables managers to modify security changes without having to do many access changes. In a study conducted by Forrester, businesses admitted many security breaches befell internally; either from data extraction from former employees or in-advert misuse of information.
In 2015, experts believe businesses will integrate a “cloud native” approach through the use of APIs to safeguard information flows. It is better practice compared to the traditional plug-and-play proxy setting which acts as a single point of error between users and pivotal information. This may not be wise if any users works remotely. Since many users are syncing to systems from other locations, a single access point cannot cypher through all information being sent and received from multiple sites. This will be the challenge businesses will be attempting to overcome.
5.) Super-Charged Marketing Automation
More groups are leaping aboard the marketing-automation train in 2015. Automation suites combine B2B CRM activities like email marketing, content management, SEO, analytics, and more. Activities are easily segmented into relevant and timely messages, which are then broadcast to prospects across a variety of platforms. An estimated 70 percent of the businesses surveyed say they creating more content and marketing automation suites are tracking the conversation from end to end; including response to MQLs, MQL to SAL, to opportunities, and from there to closed sales.
Given the virtual nature of business in modern times, businesses are dedicating more resources to their digital marketing strategies. This consequently means investing in software and products that help assist these functions. These cloud-based solutions are evolving quickly, but data integration with CRM and ERP systems may be the next step. Businesses will be working diligently this year to wrap their arms around a data-driven marketing strategy that allows their business to automate and streamline every part of their marketing strategy.
Since digital B2B CRM solutions were initially introduced to enterprise technology 20 years ago, the way businesses dig deeper into the needs and wants of B2B customers is more than a trend, it’s an entire enterprise. 2015 is the year of 2nd tier cloud service start-ups. We can expect to see highly adaptable applications inside CRM and ERP software that are allowing organizations to manipulate business service and offerings in unique ways. The industry expects add-in applications and integration products inside the software to change the way businesses configure their systems for their unique organizational needs and structure. While many of these trends may seem to make things more complicated, the truth is that they will actually help simplify business processes for each unique company.