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Customer communications do not belong in ERP

If ERP is used as a customer communications interface in your company, you need to reconsider immediately. In this article, we explain why.

Mika Laurell / October 19, 2022

Do you know what documentation your customers receive from you – and from which systems? You probably have automatic send-outs, request-based communications, marketing messages, and who knows what. I bet nobody in your company knows precisely what all your customers receive.

It is quite common for organizations to send their customers a mishmash of communication via ERP, several back-end solutions such as CRM, and multiple other custom applications.

In this article you'll learn:

Challenges related to customer communications

ERP is not designed for customer communications

How to improve customer communications

Experiences from SAP S/4HANA transformation

The challenge of keeping customer communications up to date

The documentation that we send is integral to the customers’ service experience. We all know it is a struggle to keep all documents up to date regarding branding – and even more importantly, keeping them legal and accessible. Any changes need to be replicated to all involved systems. Even recognizing the different document processes is challenging. The same applies to integrations. Handling multiple endpoints and custom integrations will surely keep your IT busy and increases the risks of broken integrations.

An automated customer notification from ERP.png

 An automated customer notification from ERP contains the actual message correctly but it’s not up to date when it comes to readability, branding, legal issues, or accessibility.

ERP is not designed for customer communications

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are in general meant for internal processes. An ERP is a perfect tool for what it is meant: accounting, procurement, supply chain operations, project and risk management. But it is not designed for managing external customer communication.

Multiple back-end solutions are in direct contact with your customers.PNG

Multiple back-end solutions are in direct contact with your customers, making it almost impossible to keep track of all communications


If you use back-end systems directly in your customer communications, this is why you need to reconsider:

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Quality and consistency of customer communications

It is impossible to control the consistency of communications throughout accumulated technology stacks that are channel-specific, business-specific, and department specific.

It is very difficult for business users to create and personalize customer communications with back-end solutions.

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Reputation and security

There is an increased risk of colliding with legal or accessibility regulations.

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Operational efficiency
Scattered customer communication is expensive and difficult to maintain.


How can customer communication be improved?

Customers are getting increasingly demanding about content and channels. In today’s daily data bombardment, it is crucial that all company documents they receive from you are perfectly aligned with your company brand, and are compliant, accessible, and accurate.

The modern way to handle customer communications happens at the front end of your systems. Customer Communications Management (CCM) solutions like Quadient’s Inspire give you full control and visibility of all communication deliveries. It enables the easy creation and maintenance of templates and constant screening of compliance and accessibility.

The platform is easy to use for business users, which frees time for IT to concentrate on their core services.

Ideally customer-facing communications are centralized to Customer Communication Management (CCM).png

Ideally customer-facing communications are centralized to Customer Communication Management (CCM). All back-end solutions are integrated to CCM, and it will centrally manage the creation, delivery and archiving of the messages.


With user centric UI (User Interface), content is easy to create, and it is also easy to gather data from multiple solutions into your documents. For example, you can add images from your DAM (Digital Asset Management), product specs and drawings from PIM (Product Information Management), and customer insights from CRM (Customer Relations Management) and fine-tune them to fit with CCM’s built-in AI (Artificial Intelligence).

In today’s world, simple documents like Sales Orders can include personalized images of custom products, distinctive product specifications, and special instructions to deliver the order via multichannel sends. All this happens easily when using a modern CCM.

simple customer notification document from the previous example can use several data sources such as ERP, CRM, PIM, DAM and be aligned with the company brand.png

Even this simple customer notification document from the previous example can use several data sources such as ERP, CRM, PIM, DAM and be aligned with the company brand. This is easily generated in the CCM solution, contributing to much better customer satisfaction and upsell/cross-sell opportunities.


Modern communication tools, such as Quadient’s Inspire, can empower business users to manage customer communication with an easy-to-use user interface and template structure. This reduces IT’s workload, which is especially important when going through an ERP update that puts high demands on IT.

Experiences from SAP S/4HANA transformation

We have seen first-hand just how much Quadient can help companies in SAP S/4HANA integrations. The Quadient Inspire CCM especially has great compatibility with SAP S/4HANA architecture. To ensure a frictionless process in all cases, we are also working on packaging the integration tools for SAP S/4HANA.

Organizations starting their SAP update, or already using S/4 without the support of modern CCM, typically encounter these following challenges in their SAP-based customer communications:

  1. It is hard to create an automated document in SAP with more content than page length. Classic tools have severe difficulties in overflowing text reliably and formally to the next pages.

  2. It is hard to add, for example, graphic content from external services like DAM. Describing complex products in documents like Sales Orders would require additional images, graphs, and drawings in the document, but with classic tools, it is a struggle to get them there.

  3. It is hard to personalize documents with data from multiple sources such as CRM, ERP, and PIM with the support of built-in AI. Customers expect to receive meaningful information that is personalized for them – but you cannot achieve this with classic tools without extensive coding in the background.

  4. It is hard to use non-western languages. Most classic tools have no support for typography such as Japanese, Arabic or Chinese. There could be limited support, or it does not exist at all – which can easily lead to poor customer experience and misunderstandings.

These challenges may sound detailed and specific – but just think about the inefficiency and frustration that they cause in everyday communications. All these pain points are tackled in Quadient’s modern CCM tool.

On top of this, it is good to know that when updating from SAP ECC6.0 to S/4HANA, all document templates will need manual rewriting in every case. There is no automation to make them accessible in an updated environment.

This means that there is no difference in workload whether you re-build your templates for S/4HANA native tools or with Quadient CCM. The latter option just gives you so much more in the future.


Your reflections?

We are eager to hear your thoughts. Please contact us via LinkedIn or via the contact form.

Together with Quadient and Edita Prima, we help you solve your customer communication related challenges.

Read more about our CCM services



Riku Lautjärvi
Solution Consultant
Mika Laurell
Lead Salesforce Solution Consultant, Tietoevry Transform

Mika has 15+ years of experience in Digital Marketing, mostly from large-scale US public corporations in the manufacturing industry. He is passionate about helping organizations simplify their marketing efforts with automation and data-driven tools.


Mika Laurell

Lead Salesforce Solution Consultant, Tietoevry Transform

Riku Lautjärvi

Solution Consultant

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