Market-leading companies rely on an alphabet soup of integrated technologies — MIS, ERP and CRM — to accelerate their decision-making processes, strengthen internal and external relationships and optimize connections with business partners and consumers.
In simplest terms:
- MIS, or Management Information System, is a central information base that collects, organizes, houses and reports data generated by an organization’s finance, operational activities, human resources and other processes.
- CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, comprises a warehouse for data drawn from MIS that business leaders use to develop strategies to identify sales leads, interact with B2B suppliers and customers and simplify pre- and post-sale relations with B2C consumers.
- ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning, also is a “subset” of MIS focused on procurement, production and distribution. Where CRM and ERP data sets overlap, customer service management can access manufacturing and supply chain information used in customer relations.
Like all enterprise-wide technologies, the networks that support customer service are growing more complex. Businesses, therefore, place a premium on management professionals with expertise in information systems, ERP, systems and IT to fill critical roles.
How Do Professionals Prepare for Customer Service-Related Roles?
Obtaining a Master of Science (M.S.) in Management Information Systems (MIS) is an ideal channel to acquire the knowledge and insights needed to analyze, design and maintain information systems that support business activities and improve performance across an organization.
The MS in MIS program offered online by Lamar University, for instance, provides a focused curriculum of MIS and related courses that include:
- ERP Overview is a hands-on exploration of fulfillment, procurement, production, financial accounting and management of business processes.
- Enterprise/CRM covers the design, development and deployment of customer acquisition, retention and development technologies.
- Database management systems is a study of the design concepts, implementation and management and administration of the systems that are the backbone MIS, CRM and ERP.
As a member of the SAP University Alliance, graduates of the Lamar University MS in MIS online program are equipped with real-world expertise that companies require to manage CRM functions, such as:
- Operational CRM takes data collected from sales and marketing and other business processes, stores them and checks the quality so decision-makers can design and refine strategies that drive customer acquisition and retention.
- Strategic CRM focuses on analyzing data from operations, including manufacturing and distribution, to build long-term customer relationships by enriching and customizing the customer experience.
- Analytics in CRM sorts data for trends and patterns that enable businesses to optimize marketing by segmenting audiences and evaluates performance against forecasts to determine ROI.
How Does Integrating Systems and Functions Take Customer Service to the Next Level?
Integrating the information systems that collect, organize and analyze data is central to developing effective, efficient strategies for identifying, acquiring and retaining profitable customers. According to Oracle, an ERP software vendor, the benefits of integration include:
- Gaining competitive advantage by enriching the customer experience. Real-time access to customer data enables customer service departments to interact with customers more efficiently and productively. Keeping customers happy is the key to keeping customers.
- Reducing marketing costs by segmenting prospective customers to understand their particular needs and desires, thus ensuring the right message gets to the right prospect at the right time.
- Streamlining reporting by accessing sales information and other customer-related metrics from a single database, giving decision-makers real-time access to data that supports forecasting, planning and monitoring.
- Driving sales by providing customer insights that enable business leaders to develop strategies that drive retention leading to more profitable customer lifetime value.
“How well you know and understand your customers’ buying habits and preferences is what empowers you to put yourself in the right place at the right time,” Intact notes, adding that fully integrated customer-data systems “enable you to manage all aspects of your customer interactions.”
An advanced degree in management information systems equips graduates with the necessary skills to improve customer service relations using integrated technologies such as MIS, ERP and CRM.