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Business intelligence vs CRM: What you need to know

While there is a clear differentiation between BI and CRM software, understanding how they can work together can really enhance your business operations. In fact, according to the CRMSearch report, once you’ve managed to really integrated CRM and BI, there is no limit to how the interlocking services can facilitate innovation. This is what you need to know to unlock that business-driving potential.

“Combining customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) can be tricky, but the end result is a much smarter business.” – PC Mag


What is CRM?

This particular software is used by companies to track and manage all the contact details and interactions with both current and prospective customers. CRM software can be used by all departments as a way to increase collaboration, drive sales and improve customer experience.


What is BI?

Business intelligence software uses a set of processes and technologies to transform raw data into insightful business reports that drive decision making and profits. BI will draw on both historical and real-time data to create reports, summaries, dashboards, maps, graphs and charts that show the financial health of a business.


What are the differences between BI and CRM?

These two business tools were developed for different purposes, although they can be beneficial when used together. Here’s a quick overview of how BI and CRM differ.


–        Strategy vs consumer

BI was developed to drive business strategy by providing incredible insights into business operations for more informed decision making. BI takes large volumes of data and uses this to provide insights and predictions that are based in fact. CRM is a consumer-centric software that helps businesses perform all elements of customer experience. CRM data is important for learning more about customers, building on customer relations and actually being incorporated into a BI tool to drive business operations.


–        Multiple vs single data source

While both software types have advanced reporting capabilities, where they source their data from does differ. BI tools are able to draw data from multiple sources, and consolidate this data as a way to create comprehensive business reports. These are visually displayed as graphs, charts, infographics and more. CRM software, however, can only access data from connected databases and if the data is stored externally, it can’t be used in CRM reporting. CRM software can now integrate with other software for enhanced reporting capabilities.


How to integrate CRM and BI?

Now that you understand the key differences, you can discover how to integrate the two so that you have a smarter operating business.


1.     Identify data sources

You want to be working with the best possible data so that you’re making the most informed decisions. To do this, you should create an inventory of data sources from enterprise resource planning applications, accounting software systems, email inquiries and social media.


2.     Clean the data

It’s not just about where you get the data from, it’s also necessary to work with clean and reliable data, otherwise you’re not benefitting from your software. You will need to test all your data sources for the quality of data and then you can use software to clean and maintain the data in an ongoing basis.


3.     Reassess your KPIs

Your key performance indicators (KPIs) will be determined by your customers and will inform your business goals. You need to constantly assess your KPIs to monitor any changes in the business environment, picking up on trends, competition and threats. Social media data drawn from CRM can be used for BI to help analyse KPIs.


4.     Choose the right BI tool

It’s important that you’re using the right BI solution for your particular business needs. It’s vital that the BI tool integrates with your existing CRM software through front-facing integration or an application programming interface. By integrating the tool, you will enjoy a better customer profile as well the ability to segment your customer base and personalise interactions.


If you want to benefit from a smarter business operation, then get in touch with Canvas Intelligence today. They will be able to guide you on the best BI tools for CRM integration so that your system is working cohesively to drive customer engagement, identify threats and opportunities, and increase revenue.

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