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Miree Le Roy, IPM Global

5 Ways Microsoft Dynamics CRM and ERP Integration is Helping Project Managers

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One of the brilliant things about the Microsoft Dynamics suite is the ability of each individual product to integrate with the others and pass critical data between the two without the need for duplication. In particular, integration between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the ERP products in the suite has really helped to change the way project management software works. As project management solutions such as IPM can be built on top of CRM and then integrated with ERP products, project managers can now get all the benefits of having both project and accounting data at their finger tips. So here I have outlined five of those benefits:

1. Better overall coverage of both accounting and project management

In past years, the development of project management software has resulted in construction specific solutions that are highly specialized and often quite inflexible. Then the need to incorporate accounting data into the project management process brought about solutions based on accounting programs, but with added project management features. But these solutions ‘thought’ like accounting staff, rather than like project managers and were often difficult for project managers to use.

But with ERP and CRM integration, you can have the best of both worlds. ERP solutions typically don’t provide fundamental project management requirements such as Variation/Change Order control, Forecasting, and Subcontract Control, so these facilities are accounted for in the IPM and CRM combination. This way you have an extensive coverage of all your project management facilities along with your accounting data.

2. Better communication

The important thing though is not just having two separate solutions for each department, but also that these solutions can talk to each other. What would happen in your organisation if the project manager made changes to a part of a project that impacted on the budget, but didn’t inform the accounting department? Chaos. The accounting department would be working off original budgets that don’t match with the new projections, as they have no visibility of the project manager’s changes. With integration, informing each department of changes is as simple as synchronising the data, and this way you have better communication and visibility among your staff.

3. One version of the truth

Along with better communication, you also will only have one version of your data. Many organisations that run accounting applications and then separately record and control their project data often have multiple versions of the truth, and sometimes make mistakes as to which is the most up to date. As you can imagine, this can have disastrous consequences. With an integrated system, you will always have one central database with the most current, accurate data.

4. Higher productivity

Running two separate solutions without integration also means your employees’ productivity can be lowered if they have to continually enter duplicate data into each system. With integration, data is automatically synchronized between the systems without the need for users to enter duplicate information, saving them time and you money.

 

5. Higher user adoption

Finally, one of the key reasons for software implementation failure is a lack of user buy in. Implementing a solution for project managers that ‘thinks’ like an accounting system, or a project management solution that can’t work with the accounting department is a sure fire way to turn users off. Having two solutions that are built specifically with the end users in mind means that different users can work in an environment they are comfortable in and familiar with, thus increasing user adoption. And by using two separate systems that integrate with each other, your users get the best of both worlds.

You can find out more about the benefits of ERP integration in our free whitepaper and see how integration is helping IPM and CRM work together to provide cutting edge project management software. Or if you’d like to find out how IPM can help with your project management needs, please contact Scott Drushella at IPM Global USA.

By Reef Fielding, IPM Global: the creators of IPM – a Project Management Solution Certified for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

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