Every industry has their jargon. Acronyms can be confusing, and common terms can take on entirely different meanings when you venture outside your field. When it comes to evaluating ERP or CRM software, you’ll be well equipped with the following primer.
Start with the basics
ERP. Enterprise Resource Planning is a software system that manages the transactions and flow of data between all the business functions in an organization, including: financial management, human resources, manufacturing, supply chain management and project accounting.
CRM. Customer Relationship Management is a software system that manages the flow of data for a business’s sales, marketing and customer service functions.
XRM. A term used to describe the functionality of CRM to manage more than customer activity. XRM can be used to manage the flow of data for any definable entity. For example, XRM could be used to track and schedule the use of company equipment.
LOB. Line of Business applications are software systems that deliver functionality for a specific industry business requirement. LOB applications are often integrated with the ERP system, for example: an engineering firm uses a computer aided drawing application to calculate material requirements, which are then integrated into ERP for costing.
BI. Business Intelligence is the reporting of data from the ERP, CRM and LOB applications in a form that is useful to business decisions makers. BI applications can include dashboards and reports as well as charting and analysis tools.
Add-on Products. Most ERP applications manage the high level functionality that most organizations need, and depend on an ecosystem of development partners (see ISVs below) to create applications that manage special requirements. For example, an ISV might develop a warehouse management system specifically built for the beverage industry.
VAR. Value Added Resellers are professional service companies that specialize in the installation, configuration and training services supporting the implementation of ERP, LOB and CRM systems.
ISV. Independent Software Vendors are application development companies that create software to address specific industry or niche market requirements.
SI. System Integrators are professional services companies that help businesses integrate all of the systems in their organizations for a more holistic approach. SIs often have the capability to create custom applications that will integrate into enterprise ERP systems.
Partner. Includes VARs, ISVs, SIs and other service organizations that support a software vendor’s products. For example, Microsoft partners are members of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN). The MPN program provides training and certification to their network of 640,000 partners.
MSP. Managed Service Providers are professional service companies that provide outsourced management of technical services for organizations. For example, an MSP may remotely manage a company’s in-house computer servers.
Next week, we’ll define common technical terms, including the latest “cloud” jargon. If you would like a deeper understanding of any of these terms, give us a call. Let’s talk about what ERP or CRM could mean for your business.