CRM Integration Still Major Barrier to Business Goals

Loraine Lawson
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Lauren Horwitz, executive editor at SearchCRM, is writing a series on the adoption of mobile CRM. Her first piece focused on all the reasons it’s a good idea, but in the follow-up, she examined some of the barriers to adoption.

I wasn’t surprised to see that the first major challenge is integrating data from CRM and back-end systems with mobile CRM. Horwitz doesn’t underplay the problem integration can cause; the headline is “CRM Data Integration Still Hobbles Mobile.”

It’s a two-pronged problem. The first and most obvious issue is the back-end systems themselves, said Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research. Simple transactions are often stored in older, siloed systems.  That’s just not possible if the data is scattered, Pombriant explained. That’s a problem, since the business now expects CRM to support end-to-end processes.

The second prong is actually the way some CRM vendors approach mobile. Instead of offering slimmed-down versions of the full app, some CRM vendors are “taking their capabilities and shoehorning them into their mobile form factor,” Forrester Research analyst Kate Leggett told Horwitz.

The consequence is “mobile tasks remain inefficient or near-impossible where CRM data lacks access to other important systems,” Horwitz explains.

She shares a few horror stories about app and data integration for mobile CRM, but also explores options for solving the problem. Still, the solutions are not all lollipops and rainbows: Companies can spend a significant amount of money on mobile CRM only to discover that underlying silos limit what they can achieve, Horwitz writes.

To fully understand the problem, consider this: A 2012 survey found that only 16 percent of companies fully supported integration between CRM and other business systems. While I’m sure that number has grown in the past two years, you have to wonder about the integrity of a system where 35 percent of the businesses said they planned to handle the CRM integration by manually re-entering the data.

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