For any school or business, it’s important to know what you’re looking for when searching for a product or system to help manage your day-to-day operations. In the education and business world, you’ll often hear of software systems such as SMS, CRM, and ERP, but what do these systems do, and more importantly, what do they provide?

While there are parallels between these various systems, there are distinct differences between the three as well. We’ll break down each system to help you better understand their functionality and which would best serve your school.

What do SMS, CRM, and ERP stand for?

Throughout your research for a software system, the first place you should start is knowing the names of the systems to find the ideal fit. SMS stands for School Management System, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. Knowing the purpose and features of each system is vital to determining if it’s a resource you’d be interested in utilizing at your school.

An SMS actively manages student information, academic records, attendance, grades, and other aspects of student management within educational institutions. A CRM focuses on managing interactions and relationships with students, parents, donors, etc. For example, this can consist of maintaining customer profiles, tracking communication, automating marketing processes, and providing insights to improve relationships. Lastly, an ERP aims to streamline and optimize overall organizational processes, providing a unified view of various aspects of the institution beyond academics. This includes finance, human resources, and more.

An SMS actively manages student information, academic records, attendance, grades, and other aspects of student management within educational institutions.

Once you have an understanding of each system’s goal and purpose, that’s when you can continue your research and form a plan to implement that system at your school.

What are some key differences?

Between an SMS, CRM, and ERP, there are different target groups for each system, and therefore, each has their own purpose and function.

An SMS is primarily student-related, which is a contrasting difference from the other two systems. The goal for any SMS is to streamline administrative tasks related to student management. For any school in search of simplifying day-to-day tasks in an effective and efficient manner, an SMS would likely meet their needs.

A CRM differs based on the fact that it’s rooted in customer relationships. Building positive relationships is essential for any school looking to provide a quality and productive educational experience for years to come, and a CRM can greatly assist in that process. There are a multitude of tools, resources, and software schools can utilize to enhance communication and create personalized experiences for students, parents, and donors.

Like a CRM, an ERP streamlines workflows by integrating with other systems. A unique advantage of an ERP is that it supports a wider range of users than educational institutions like an SMS. An ERP has a much broader range of organizations, including businesses, non-profits, government agencies, and more. While an ERP certainly can have a role in the educational environment (finance, human resources, administrative processes, etc.), it has a wider scope of integration capabilities and user demographics across businesses and schools.

Which system do you choose?

Now that you understand what each system stands for and the differences between the three, you can go about selecting the best system for your school. Deciding upon the best system for your schools depends entirely on your school’s needs and requirements.

If you’re looking to manage academic and administrative processes within the school, specifically as it relates to students, an SMS would be the most logical choice.

If a growing concern at your school is improving the communication and relationships between students, parents, and donors, a CRM could make the difference in strengthening that engagement.

And if you are looking for a system tailored to business functions and integration beyond academic management, an ERP might be the most suitable solution for your school.

Whether you choose an SMS, CRM, ERP, or a combination of the three, you now have the advantage of knowing the purpose and differences of each system and can make a knowledgeable selection for your school.

To learn more about how Sycamore School’s SMS can help your school manage day-to-day processes and streamline student data, please schedule a demo to start your free trial today.


Leave a Reply