How to manage contact information about customer and supplier divided in different application database

Mattia Minervini
Mattia Minervini used Ask the Experts™
Hi all, I have:
1 x CRM dynamics
1 x MAIL server exchange
1 x ERP sql based

We have a big problem about contact info of CUSTOMER and  SUPPLIER
Info are so divided:
1) Older info are on ERP
2) some info is in CRM
3) other important are in PUBLIC FOLDER of exchange
4) newer on OUTLOOK AUTOCOMPLETE list of sales department employees

About existing integration:
CRM read (not write) info about CUSTOMER and SUPPLIER in order to attach ticket and leads

We would merge these info, electing a MASTER DATABASE where all of us can point.
Which is the best approach? having info on ERP or CRM, and develope connector to EXCHANGE?
i know is a difficult project....

Sorry for my english, ask me for details
Really thanks!
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Chinmay PatelChief Technology Ninja
Distinguished Expert 2018

Hi Mattia,

Questions :)
1. Which system your end users are more comfortable with?
2. Which system is easy for you to modify?
3. Please confirm if I understand correctly, a. You are reading information from CRM, but where ticket and leads are being created? in CRM? or in ERP?
4. Which system you see more viable from future perspective?(Dynamics 365(CRM is gone, now it is Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement/CE) or the ERP you are using?
5. What are your expectations with this master database?
6. Your existing ERP, does it have per user cost attached?

I would definitely suggest to take info out of Exchange Public Folders, that's not the way I would recommend to store structured or business sensitive information.

I think there will be couple of more question before I suggest you anything around the solution. Feel free to ask counter questions.



thanks for your reply, Chinmay.

1) end user use Outlook with Dynamics Plugin (sales and post sales); or Outlook and ERP client (administrative department )
2) it's the same. ERP and CRM are in maintenance. EXCHANGE and OUTLOOK CLIENT are managed by ourselves.
3) CRM synch customer list only. so when SUPPORT have to open a ticket, or a project, they use a unique customer list. key is univoque code of ERP.
4) both. we are spending many resources developing DYNAMICS, but ERP cannot disappear.  but i think ERP must have BASIC INFO (site, first email, vat number...) and CRM must have DETAILED INFO (sales contact, administrative contact, branch office contacts...)
5) we need a master database in order to do MASSIVE MAILING and improve COLLABORATION (think to a young sales representative ....)
we need rules!
6) CRM and ERp have per user cost....

Chinmay PatelChief Technology Ninja
Distinguished Expert 2018

Hi Mattia,

In that case, if my ERP is modern and scalable, I would keep it this way. All the contact information i.e. (sales, admin, branch office etc.), I would keep them in Dynamics CRM. I would organize my customer as Accounts and these contacts are linked to accounts. Accounts are of two types, customers and suppliers. Everything else goes to ERP.

Process will not be a complex one but will require careful attention to details - otherwise it will be an administrative nightmare

Keep one expert of all your systems i.e. Dynamics CRM, ERP and Exchange with this task
1. Identify and export information from ERP - Ask your Dynamics expert to make sure required keys along with "alternate" keys are exported
 a. Export customers and suppliers
 b. Export all contact info of customers and suppliers
 2. Import customers and suppliers in Dynamics CRM
 3. Get data from your Exchange - I am not sure what data this is and what is the format, take help of your Dynamics CRM expert and confirm if this information can directly be imported in CRM or not. If not, get the data in the right format and rest is easy(importing CSV is a built in feature of Dynamics but for complex import you can always write custom code). Please make sure that contact information does not go to Exchange only. Make sure your users are using CRM's Outlook plugin and keeping their contacts in sync with CRM. And keep duplicate detection rules, so your master data stays clean.
4. Configure your existing processes to use CRM as a THE ONE SOURCE.
5. What you do with existing data in ERP is something that you have to decide. If I were you I'd just keep the key reference (and yes couple of extra fields to identify customer/supplier will not do any harm). CRM exposes a lot of API which can help you surface CRM data in ERP or any other system you have at your disposal.
6. You can also build a sync mechanism from CRM to ERP. Keep ERP's contact information Read Only which will allow you to build one way sync from CRM to ERP.

PS: ERP generally is much more powerful system than CRM on any given day but an old ERP is doomed to fail(mark my words) - and I will be more than happy to be wrong. I hope you are on a modern ERP.

PPS: What I have written in six points above, might be a project worth 6 months :) so be prepared. :) and All the Best.

Chinmay PatelChief Technology Ninja
Distinguished Expert 2018

So finally what did you do? I am just curious if you did really go with my suggestions? or figured out some other strategy?
project aborted
thanks for your support

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