CRM integration with a legacy system is not easy, regardless of vendor
We already have an accounting system implemented and are now looking for a CRM application. Is it better to use a CRM system that will easily integrate with our current system or find the best CRM solution for our needs and then worry about integration later?
That answer is always the same -- it depends. Of course, you have to consider integration from the beginning and what kind of legacy systems you have and what the architectures of your accounting system are, etc. But you also have to recognize that simply because you use an accounting system from a vendor who has a CRM system too, that doesn't mean it integrates all that easily. It's all about how
you need to integrate the systems -- that will determine whether or not the same vendor's system is the best choice.
Also, you need to be cognizant of the architectural changes between the version of the accounting system you're using and the current version of the same vendor's CRM system. Perhaps you're still using a client/server based accounting system but their CRM system is Web-services based or based on a service-oriented architecture (SOA). Same vendor, different architecture. That's a giant, "Oops!"
In other words, worry about integration now, but don't worry about whether it's the same vendor's system or not. Get one that easily integrates (although integration is never that easy) with your accounting system – but that meets your business requirements – regardless of vendor.
This was first published in September 2006