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Can we expect easy CRM integration from our accounting vendor?

Paul Greenberg helps a reader who's wondering about buying a CRM system: should a business go with a known vendor in hopes of easy CRM integration, or find the best solution independently?

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. Actually, neither of the answers is right. 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 doesn't mean it integrates all that easily either. It's HOW you need to integrate them that will determine whether or not the same vendor's system is the best. 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 services-oriented architecture. 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 (there are none like that though. Integration is never that easy) with your accounting system -- but that meets your business requirements, regardless of vendor.

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