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The technical infrastructure in companies is complex and consists of many different elements. Sometimes this is a large overall system, but in most cases the different departments use their own subsystems. The extent to which they are interconnected and therefore can access the data of the other software solutions varies.
The elements of the infrastructure that the customer ultimately sees sometimes make up the smallest part of the entire architecture. If one compares the infrastructure of a company with an iceberg, the largest part is invisible to all parties involved (with the advantage of the responsible IT), i.e. under water. However, the customer himself only gets to see the top tip of the iceberg: In the online shop, on the company’s website and perhaps also on a special customer portal, his options are precisely defined and strictly regulated. Nevertheless, he should of course have all the necessary interaction possibilities at his disposal.
Most of a company’s infrastructure elements are not seen by the customer. They are only used by employees to perform their duties and manage data. However, they also lay the foundation for the client-facing elementsbecause they provide the necessary information, for example on product availability or prices.
Enterprise Resource Planning
ERP software is generally used to control various business processes. This applies above all to the management of goods, but often also to the management of other operational resources such as capital, personnel or means of production. As an ERP solution, a single software with different integrated interfaces as well as different programs are used.
Customer Relationship Management
CRM software is available to the marketing department and sales department to maintain the relationship with different customers. All customer contacts are noted here in order to maintain continuous communication and availability as a business partner. CRM software with the integration of automated communication via mail also helps to target the customer again and again and thereby generate new sales. Many CRM systems can also be used to attract new customers from prospective customers and to manage newsletters, for example.
Product Information Management
PIM is used internally to manage and maintain all important information about the distributed products and services. This often includes suppliers, but also technical data sheets, test seals and all product characteristics and specifications.
Content Management System
CM systems specifically concern e-commerce. They represent the invisible page behind the visible homepage or the online shop. Frequently used software here are WordPress or Drupal. Traditional CMS swells into four things: a database as a location for all the information and resources used, a user interface for managing the content, a way to output the content, and typically how to display it as a Web site.
On the other hand, so-called decoupled or headless CMS. The former separate the four core areas of the CMS so that you can access each area separately and use it beyond the traditional CMS and configure it individually. The headless CMS even dispenses with the built-in output option. Rather, it provides a programming interface (API). The content can then be accessed individually by other applications. Headless CMS has the advantage that the display can be adapted much better to different end devices and offers the end customer more comfort. Headless CMS are also available in the B2B because they can be better connected to the company’s infrastructure.
Customer Data Platform
CDP systems create detailed customer profiles and make this data available to other applications. For example, the previous purchasing behaviour can be networked with CRM software and used for targeted marketing. Some CDP systems even go so far as to make predictions and model calculations for future purchases. The central storage of all customer data can also help to evaluate the effectiveness of various marketing measures.