More than a year ago, we addressed the ongoing debate about whether Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Business Intelligence (BI) is the better analytical solution for your business.
As a company, we take the position that data is good whether you're driving the customer experience or needing intelligence to clearly understand how well you are doing as a company. Regardless of what side of the line you fall, data makes it easier to make better, more strategic decisions. And this is where BI might have the advantage.
CRM, by its simplest definition, is the process that companies use to track and manage contact details and interaction with current and prospective customers. In today’s world of sales and marketing automation, the CRM tool is critical at preserving how and when the company connects with customers. The CRM system is your knowledge bank about your customers that allows you to continually refine your outreach to become increasingly more focused on delivering them the right message, at the right time, through the right channel. In return, you hope to increase customer loyalty and sales opportunities.
Where BI and CRM Diverge
While CRM is focused on the customer experience to drive sales, BI is trying to better understand every part of the business to make decisions that will impact overall profitability. CRM is a single data source while we like to say that BI was created to actually make sense of all the sources of data floating around your organization. From the multiple volumes of data, come insights that form the basis for what you do next as a company, not merely what your next email offer should be to a struggling customer. BI takes data from across the business to help decision makers understand what can improve in your business, including and beyond sales and marketing.
What Happens Next?
While CRM and BI converge on the idea that data is important, ultimately, the key differentiator resides in what happens next with the information.
BI actually builds on CRM systems, presenting real-time actionable insights via charts, graphs and infographics that help identify trends. Phocas makes it easy to build Dashboards that present the latest information about everything from inventory to finance. Our intuitive mobile interface also enables access to data from anywhere and from any device. Certainly, CRM systems provide a mobile component, but in most cases, it’s used to access contact information or to track a touch point with the customer. Our BI software provides instant access to information that is relevant and useful, allowing you to see what is happening across your business at any time and from anywhere so you can make more timely decisions.
From Data to Decisions
In our previous blog about this topic, we were clear that BI tools and CRM systems were built with a different purpose, and that’s why both are important to your business. They both gather data, but in the end, only one solution looks at the bigger picture. Phocas was designed for the entire business, making it easy for decision makers across the organization to access and visualize detailed analytics so they can turn information into action.