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Common problems with Software as a Service (SaaS) implementations

What are common problems with Software as a Service (SaaS) ERP implementations with CRM integrations, especially on the host side, and how should we plan for them?

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A SaaS implementation for ERP and CRM is a big deal and you do need a plan, but even before that you should be looking at your business processes and asking yourselves what kind of support those processes need. What applications are involved? Where is the data stored? What kind of response times are needed? Can you work with a batch update to the data once a day or do you need near real time access to new data regardless of which system owns it?

Batch data updates tend to be relatively easy and there are extract, transform, load (ETL) tools to help with the process. For more real-time data sharing, you need integration technology or middleware and you need to evaluate the options out there. I can't tell by the question if both your ERP and your CRM systems are SaaS or just one, but any time you deal with SaaS you need a service level agreement (SLA) and if the two systems are from different vendors you need to consider what happens if one system is down — how is transaction data stored etc.

This was first published in November 2007

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