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Enterprise IT budgets are going to the cloud as strong and steady growth is predicted for the Customer Resource Management (CRM) and global cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Markets. Together with Business Intelligence (BI) and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), these systems are ready and set for cloud integration. How does automation with machine learning play into all of this? We look at a few of the tech tools in enterprise planning, management, and Intelligence to answer that question this week so that you can Live Easy, efficiently, on the cloud.

Market Growth in Business ERP and CRM management on the cloud

Average cloud spending for enterprises has increased by 59% in the last two years, says IQMS  Principal Louis Columbus. With cloud technology now weaved into enterprise business strategies, Columbus predicts 32% of IT budgets will go towards the cloud by 2021.

Similarly, ReportLinker predicts the global cloud ERP market size to “grow from USD 45.3 billion in 2020 to USD 101.1 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.4%.” Leading this growth today are three key factors:

  • The increased demand for enterprises to improve operational efficiency
  • The impact of COVID-19
  • The increased adoption of cloud-based solutions

As we power through the shift to more accessible networks and data for remote work and higher operational efficiency, our demand for cloud-based solutions rises.

Affected by this increased demand is the CRM Market, which Fortune Business Insights foresees reaching USD 113.46 Billion by 2027. The management of relationships with customers and other businesses has changed with our communication shifts. Today, the right CRM software has kept several enterprises afloat in the transition to remote work, and going cloud-based is on-trend.

ERP systems, CRM software, and business intelligence (BI)

ERP gathers enterprise data for analysis to optimize the efficiency of business operations. On one platform, company assets and activities can be accessed, from accounting and inventory management to forecasts and supply chain oversight. The goal is simplicity.

Achieving this goal means moving away from the silo mentality, where individual, isolated systems exist within a network that cannot communicate with other systems in the same network. Integrated management of the various operations required for business focuses on collaboration over isolation, an advantage of ERP.

Data synchronization and its associated savings also present advantages. ERP systems make enterprise operations data accessible to all members of a corporate network in one place, allowing key processes to be programmed, automated, and planned. In turn, this increase in efficiency saves time and money by eliminating manual back-office computer tasks.

Among tasks managed via ERP systems is CRM, which optimizes how businesses connect with their current and potential customers by allowing them to create, launch, and manage marketing initiatives more strategically with one tool. CRM software can also provide consumer insights to identify target audiences for better campaign response. So, while ERP success is rated across business departments, CRM success is rated on customer acquisition and retention.

CRM and all other enterprise operations data collected by ERP systems feeds Business Intelligence, which analyzes the data to present it in a way that’s easily understood and managed on dashboards and other interfaces. It’s a team effort between operations management tactics, and it’s happening on the cloud.

ERP and CRM integration on the cloud

Traditionally, ERP and CRM systems were run on an on-premises network (servers within an organization). Now, as stats point to consistent cloud market growth, enterprises are increasingly making the move to the cloud for their operations management.

Cloud ERP and CRM run on vendor cloud platforms, accessible to organizations over the internet. The vendor hosts and manages the systems, essentially providing the software as a service (SaaS). This means tasks involving physical data center infrastructure and security, fall under the vendor’s control and responsibility.

Cloud ERP software can be public, private, or hybrid, provided as a multi-tenant SaaS – where a single ERP software version and infrastructure serves multiple organizations –  or as a single-tenant SaaS – where an organization’s data is hosted on private servers that run a unique ERP software instance. The benefits of cloud ERP range from reduced infrastructure costs and higher scalability, to accessibility with security, compliance, and disaster recovery.

Similarly, cloud CRM comes with its advantages. These include ease of installation, access, and use, as all users need is an internet connection to log on. The general flexibility, reliability, and compatibility that comes with cloud solutions are also deciding factors for enterprises looking to make the move.

Essential to these enterprises is the ability of their cloud ERP and associated software, like CRM, to interact seamlessly with existing  systems, and with each other. Information exchange is crucial, and that’s where APIs come in.

The importance of APIs

APIs act as mediators between the various systems, devices, apps, and datasets of a business, allowing them to connect and interact with each other, as well as with customers and external users. In the latter case, as RedHat puts it, “APIs let you open up access to your resources while maintaining security and control.”

To decide how access is granted, understanding the specific purpose of an API is key. Generally, APIs stick to the following three approaches:

  1. Private: For internal use only
  2. Partner: Accessible to external users with exclusive permissions
  3. Public: for all users, external and internal

Private API management offers the most enterprise control of the interface, while approaching with a partner can up revenue and maintain quality. Public API management, on the other hand allows any third party to develop apps to interact with an API, opening the door to innovation.

By defining functionalities independent of how they are implemented, APIs allow these protocols and implementations to vary without compromising each other. This means seamless ERP-CRM integrations, for example, with APIs that can then serve as important building blocks in program development.

The degree to which an ERP system can collaborate efficiently with other systems and software depends on whether the right APIs are used. And while the cloud might present a promising future for ERP, it might be just another step on the road to automation.

Keep an eye on automation with machine learning

As Villanova School of Business Professor Steve Andriole wrote for Forbes last month, “Digital transformation isn’t about ERP anymore, it’s about automation with machine learning.” Where ERP  focuses on the functional standardization and connection between corporate systems, automation takes business process management a step further, with the ultimate goal to replace what enterprise app users do with intelligent bots.

As COVID-19 pushes us further into the automation wave, businesses are already favoring processes that can be automated over those that can be tracked and managed. Here at LeCiiR, we’re all about security, reliability, and innovation. So while we’re riding that wave, we’re still offering our reliable, secure services and ERP bridge for your business planning and management, so that you can Live Easy. For questions on our services or any other tech topics, don’t hesitate to contact us and leave your comments.


Alana Smith, How APIs help you build an integrated CRM system. Acc. August 2020.

GlobeNewswire (ReportLinker), The global cloud ERP market size is expected to grow[…]. August 2020.

GlobalNewswire (Fortune Business Insights), CRM Market to Reach USD 113.46 Billion by 2027. August 2020.

Helen Armour, What Is Cloud CRM? June 2018.

Louis Columbus, 32% of IT Budgets Will Be Dedicated To The Cloud by 2021. August 2020.

Michaela Terrenzio, CRM + ERP: How to Buil a System Your Team Will Actually Use. December 2019.

Mike Cutsey, The Difference Between a CRM System And An ERP System. August 2020.

MuleSoft, Types of APIs and how to determine which to build. Acc. August 2020.

RedHat, What is an API? Acc. Augut 2020.

Roger Landman, What’s the Difference between Business Intelligence and ERP? July 2019.

Russ Harper, CRM and Business Intelligence: A strategic approach using analytics. April 2017.

Shana Pearlman, What are APIs and how do APIs work? September 2016.

Steve Andriole, Digital Transformation Isn’t About ERP Anymore, It’s About Automation With Machine Learning. July 2020.