For most businesses, the front-end and back-end exist as two very separate parts of the business. Typically, people know the front-end as the place where customers interact with the business, while the back-end includes everything that happens behind the scenes. When the front-end and the back-end don’t talk to each other, and when these business units aren’t effectively integrated, businesses face a number of challenges.
Four of these back-end and front-end integration challenges have been outlined below:
1 – MULTIPLE DISPARATE SYSTEMS
When various departments use disparate applications to manage different types of customer information, there is no single version of the truth. It is common for front office employees to use CRM applications to support customer-facing activities like sales, marketing, and customer service, while back-office employees use ERP applications to process transactional, reporting, and compliance activities like invoicing, accounts, cash flow management, and financial reporting.
2 – SILOED INFORMATION
Let’s imagine that a member of the sales team generates a quote based on out-of-date pricing information or stock availability. If this person then converts the quote into a customer order, and front-end and back-end systems are not integrated, it’s likely that the error will only be identified much further down the line; perhaps, only at the order approval or shipping stages. In a case like this, the order will need to be assigned back to the salesperson for correction, likely causing tension with the customer, and then it will have to be re-processed by the finance department. All of this has a knock-on effect – order completion is delayed, administrative costs increase because processes have to go back and forth, and workloads are unnecessarily duplicated for sales and finance staff. This example showcases how businesses are prone to errors, delays, unnecessary administrative overheads and extra paperwork if their back-end and front-end systems aren’t integrated.
3 – DATA THAT CAN’T BE SHARED
Customer data is structured according to specific application types. For example, where a CRM system will have an order classified by “company entity”, the corresponding field on the ERP system will mark the order as an “account entity”. Without ERP and CRM integration, order generation (created in the CRM) cannot be effectively linked to actual orders (executed and tracked by the ERP system). Using multiple systems that cannot share data results in confusion, increased errors, and wasted time manually keying in data from one application to another.
4 – A LACK OF RELIABLE AND AFFORDABLE INTEGRATION OFFERINGS
The traditional approach to integrating front and back-end systems involved undertaking a point-to-point, retrospective integration, which can be costly, complex, and risky for businesses. Even in cases where a business is looking to better integrate systems using predefined solutions, the availability of such solutions is often prohibitive. Solutions that provide out-of-the-box, easy-to-deploy integrations with market-leading solutions are both limited and expensive. When a company does manage to achieve short-term integration objectives, there is a chance that future CRM or ERP updates will render the integration inoperable.
Greater Productivity, Process Efficiency at Your Fingertips
Increasingly, organizations are looking for ways to bridge the gap; realizing that data silos and disparate processes thwart any efforts to streamline business operations and improve business performance. When they do get it right, some of the productivity gains the business can enjoy include:
- Greater Efficiency, Less Admin: Having front-to-back-office integration dramatically reduces administrative costs, speeds up order fulfillment, and also improves customer service.
- Improved Visibility: When a business has a 360° view of the customer, regardless of whether the customer data originates from a CRM application or an ERP application, it is possible to manage customer relationships more effectively.
- Increased Consistency: Data flows seamlessly between related entities within the CRM and ERP applications, meaning that there is only one version of the truth.
- Lower Costs, Greater Profitability: When businesses eliminate repetitive tasks, minimize errors, and get rid of unnecessary paperwork, cost savings will follow. And, with these, come greater opportunities for profitability.
All of these factors help businesses to gain a sustainable competitive advantage, which is exactly what Synatic aims to do when helping customers bring their disparate systems together. With Synatic’s Hybrid Integration Platform (HIP), it is simple to integrate front- to back-office and bring disconnected business processes, applications, and datasets together. This allows all the applications within a business’s quote-to-cash cycle, their CRM and ERP, and their financial and non-financial applications to all speak the same language. Synatic’s Nimble, Simple and Powerful HIP can identify, collect, and contextualize disparate data across an enterprise enabling businesses to get the Right data, to the Right person, at the Right time. In doing so, the business can eliminate data management challenges associated with data integration and data silos, and access data that is meaningful, ready to use, and specific to the user’s needs.
If you want to learn more about how Synatic can help you bring your front-end and back-end together and deliver the consistency, visibility, efficiency, and cost savings your business needs, contact InobitsME today.