Baan ERP – CRM Tool Integrations

This is quite a niche topic, and requires meticulous planning for successful integrations of Baan ERP and CRM Tool.

CRM Tool is a way of putting across Customers Operations highlights to the Top Management for taking impromptu decisions. There are various key performance indicators which Management keeps track of to take strategical decisions with respect to Customer. CRM Tool is basically a repository of information of Prospective Customers and Existing Customers, which helps Management get overview on the Operational Excellence for each Customers they are associated with.

CRM Tool houses Customers Master data, with Shipping, Billing Information, Contact Addresses, Tax related Information, Currencies in which they deal with, Contact Person with Customer and other information. It also is a repository for Financial Information of Customer, i.e. Customer’s Credit Limit, Customer Balances, Customer Overdue balances, Customers Revenue etc. It also captures the Project and Order related information for each and every customers they are associated with. Since all of these being transactional data, these will not be a part of CRM tool, but needs to be pulled from the ERP, which contains transactional data.

The Solution approach normally is to identify the tables in ERP with the transactional data, pull these data in to a staging layer of any ETL tool.  Apply any transformation required, i.e. trimming of values, conversion of values, etc. To normalize data for certain standardization, Lookups are very much a necessity. Once data is pulled in to staging and transformations and lookups applied, data validations are required. Data should be validated for data truncation, data mismatch, date value standardization, erroneous records, row counts of source and staging data etc. Once data is validated we can go ahead with the mappings of Staging with the Target. Proper Mapping and Data Types are some of the bottlenecks during the data push from staging to Target database (CRM Tool).

Most critical in the overall solution approach is the data load strategy. This is based upon whether any historical data is a necessity to the client. Data Truncate and Load is a strategy which are applied in the staging layers, and historical data are maintained in the Target Database. Proper Audit related information needs to be maintained for each and every table which the integration is associated with.

So the very first step for an Integration Project, is to identify the data points or data elements which are needed by the business for decision making. Every CRM Tool will have Standard set of Objects or Elements, and also allows creating Custom Objects based on the needs of the Company.  Once data points are identified we need to prepare a Mapping Sheet, which will give a detail explanation on the field level mappings for each of the data points in consideration. The Mappings will involve the source table, source column field, Business logic’s if any. A very important point to note here is along with the field mappings, we also need to have the data type with length to be capture in the Functional and Technical Design phase. This helps the ETL Team to design the Staging schema accordingly.

To be continued….