Surely you know the song MfG by the Fantastischen 4. It’s about abbreviations like ARD, BRD, DRK, ICE, PVC… This jungle of abbreviations also exists in the IT/software industry. In general, abbreviations make sense if you know exactly what they stand for. But do you always know? In the field of business software for printers we took a look at what is offered as commercial and industry-specific software. Our impression: apples are often compared with oranges.
MIS, CRM, ERP in brief
If you are looking for commercial and industry-specific software for your print shop, you need to be able to compare what the market has to offer. So that you know what you are comparing, we explain what is what from our point of view.
Let’s start with the management information system (MIS). This is often offered in the printing industry as a commercial software solution. Often it is presented in such a way that an MIS system is a complete solution. We see it differently. The very name management information system reveals what such a system essentially does. It is about providing the company’s management with information in the form of key business figures and data. An MIS is a controlling tool. The key figures and data provided help controlling and management to keep an eye on economic success.
And what is ERP software?
Let’s take a look at enterprise resource planning systems (ERP software) for printers. These are complete systems that help to efficiently manage and organise the entire printing process while making the best possible use of resources. An incoming print job is accepted in the ERP software, calculated and transferred to production via a digital “job pocket”. After completion and dispatch, the invoice is generated automatically. In addition, an integrated evaluation tool enables continuous controlling. ERP software is thus more deeply integrated into the company’s overall processes with a broader range of functions. But many software manufacturers in the printing sector now equate an MIS system with ERP software. We don’t do that because we see it differently.
An MIS system can be part of an ERP software, but it cannot replace it.
What does CRM mean?
The three letters stand for Customer Relationship Management. A CRM system contains all customer data and documents all information and activities concerning the customer. What has the customer bought so far, what has he possibly complained about, which mailings has he received, etc.? The entire customer history at a glance. In the industry, CRM is sometimes equated with ERP software. In our view, this is not correct either. Like the MIS, the CRM can only be a part of an ERP software.
Conclusion: Look carefully
Classifying the terms helps you in the first step to gain a better overview and perspective. But if you want to shortlist software solutions for your print enterprise, you need to take a close look at the respective functional scope. Especially with regard to which tools you need and how they can best and most profitably support your entire workflow. Let providers explain to you exactly what the offered solution can do. You will notice that you will then quickly see things more clearly and the wheat will be separated from the chaff.
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