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CRM Integration and Migration in One Challenging Project

ERM Consulting recently managed a challenging CRM and ERP integration and data migration project for imc Meßsysteme GmbH.  This post describes the challenges and how they were overcome, as well as the role Inaport played in delivering a successful solution.

As most programmers know, it’s not unusual for a new project to include some inherited challenges. When ERM implemented new versions of InforCRM (previously Saleslogix) and InforCOM (ERP) for imc, existing systems presented three significant challenges.

First, they had to migrate data from an old CRM system that was no longer supported and had been developed by a company that no longer existed. This meant there was no one to help with queries about the data structure or setup of this CRM system.

Second, the old CRM system was running on obsolete software – in this case a very old version of Oracle. Once again, there was no one was available to assist with questions or to provide support of any kind.

The third and biggest challenge, however, related to the data structure of the old ERP system – InforCOM – which also contained data that had to be migrated to the new CRM system. Unlike most CRM systems, customer IDs were addresses, meaning “location”; at the top of the data tree was addresses, this linked to address details like street, zip, phone, email etc., and at the next level there were account and contact details. In other words, addresses were the “owners” of contacts and accounts.

ERM analyzed the data structure of the old InforCRM system as their first priority. With no technical support available for this system it took both strong database skills and clever detective work to get a deep understanding of how the data had been setup. Once the data structure was clear it was possible to set up mapping in Inaport to move the data across to the new InforCRM system.

The same was done for the old InforCOM ERP system, which was running on the obsolete Oracle Database as well. ERM identified the data structures and then migrated quotes, orders and assets from the ERP system to the new inforCRM system using profiles they’d setup in Inaport.

Transferring all required data to the new InforCOM and InforCRM systems was just the first step. The next step was to make sure that the data in these new systems was kept in sync by developing a link between the new InforCRM and InforCOM systems. This link had to meet imc’s requirement that any changes in InforCOM were to be transferred automatically to InforCRM in less than 3 seconds.

By now, ERM had a deep understanding of the data structure of each system. This, plus their extensive Inaport expertise, allowed them to develop a process to meet imc’s requirements.

  • Inaport profiles were set up to map from InforCOM to InforCRM
  • Different profiles capture different information as users continually update InforCOM
  • A VB Script was written to monitor activation of an Inaport profile
  • All Inaport profiles are queued to maintain a constant and accurate flow of updates

By the end of this project, ERM had achieved the following:

  • Migration of all client data from outdated and obsolete systems to new the CRM and ERP systems
  • Development of an automated solution to ensure changes in InforCOM are reflected in InforCRM in less than 3 seconds

ERM has been providing enterprise resource and customer relationship management systems since 2003. Its approach is to solve business process problems and then implement the most appropriate software solution. This always requires some heavy analysis so ERM has a range of specialized consultants with deep knowledge who are used to tackling a wide range of complex projects.

This extensive experience helped ERM overcome the project’s many challenges, such as obsolete and unsupported systems, obscure data structures, messy code, multiple Oracle database environments and multiple data formats.

Even so, it was a demanding implementation for ERM as Heiko Grethe, Senior Consultant, notes:

“Every step of the migration and integration threw up obstacles. Our consultants were definitely put to the test, and did well to get the new systems live as quickly as they did.”

Heiko was also impressed with Inaport’s contribution. ERM consultants have been using Inaport for many years across a wide range of CRM systems and are very familiar with its capabilities and flexibility. As he says:

“Inaport’s speed was needed to meet the three second deadline and make sure that the data transfer between systems was essentially seamless for the business users. The data transfer would have been hard to achieve without Inaport.”

At the end of the day, however, it’s the client’s assessment that counts most, and it’s no surprise that imc is very pleased with the result.

“We were impressed that they [ERM] managed to transfer across all the old data, and we are very pleased that they’ve got two different systems working as one. ERM have delivered a tremendous solution for our business.” (Ralf Blum, imc)

Inaport, from InaPlex, delivers CRM integration and data migration solutions for leading CRM systems including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sage CRM, Infor CRM (previously Saleslogix), GoldMine and ACT!. It has a range of connectors and maps for quick results, and its straightforward approach provides a wealth of powerful functions. To learn more please book a free webinar, download a free 30 day evaluation license, or visit the InaPlex website.


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