Is CRM Dying? Not Hardly!

With all the confusion around CRM — is it sales force automation (SFA)?  Is it customer support (CSS)?  Is it the contact center?  The sales rep?  The service tech?  ALL of the above?

Do we define CRM as anything or anyone that touches a customer (I do), or just a call center application?

Well, for years people have been saying CRM fails.  CRM didn’t live up to expectations.  We need something “new.”

Shakespeare once wrote that “it is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.”

When CRM has failed it is generally because the users of any CRM technology were not an integral part of what was needed.  The CRM solution didn’t automate the things that were critical to the business needs, but an application was forklifted in and people were made to mold their business to it.

To further complicate things, many CRM applications are just that — applications.   They are silos — a customer service application that may pull information from other systems (or not), but the critical customer data winds up as “notes” that don’t in turn become knowledge across the enterprise.   Can you say “bottleneck”?

The true power of customer relationship management (CRM) is its ability to not only solve an immediate customer problem or make a quick, non-complex sale — it is the value of the knowing the customer buying pattern or recognizing recurring problems before they become damaging to the corporation.

This is a great value of the Teradata Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) which they dub the “active data warehouse” where individual customer information is analyzed in near real time and becomes actionable — “pervasive business intelligence.”  Decisions are no longer guesses, they are logical outcomes based on hard facts.

Microsoft Dynamics, who just announced its 1 millionth customer and free accelerators grew sales by 75% last year.  See my last blog:  Microsoft is Dynamic!

Far from dying, CRM is evolving.  Gartner Group just announced that in this Recession CRM was actually $9.15 billion in 2008, up 12.5% from 2007.  See “Dataquest Insight: CRM Software Market Share Analysis, Worldwide 2008.” “Despite financial market volatility, the worldwide CRM market enjoyed its fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth as businesses continued to invest in solutions across all sub-segments,”  Sharon Mertz, research director at Gartner.

The report places SAP as #1 in sales (same as last year), with Oracle second (Oracle had their own CRM and they aquired both Siebel — the former leader — and Peoplesoft’s CRM), Salesforce.com (a pure Software as a Service aka SaaS play), Microsoft is third but growing fast and Amdocs (formerly Clarify) in fourth place, primarily focusing on the Telecom industry.   There are some strong contendors focusing on a workflow / business process approach versus the traditional records based approach.  Pegasystems CPM (the leader in business process management aka BPM software) has built CRM as a framework that integrates into business operations and the powerful solution is resulting in some very high profile Fortune 500 customers, including SunTrust.

The next generation CRM products are all incorporating some level of workflow and BP — because the silo problem of all that information flowing into, but not out of CRM software is becoming a bottleneck to customer satisfaction and the business bottom line.

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About Sandra Eisenberg

Dynamic pragmatic marketing and sales executive whose biggest asset is converting technology to real corporate value -- for a variety of industries including health care providers (Adventist Health System Sunbelt), Teradata (Data Warehousing), RWD Technologies (quality improvement and professional services), Siemens and AT&T (telecom). Sandra brings twenty years of experience in sales, marketing and IT management. Her career spans entrepreneurial firms (E5 Marketing) and senior positions in sales, sales management (direct and indirect), marketing, channel development and product management at Bell Labs and NCR Teradata. A few career highlights: • Total product lifecycle management (PLM) using ISO 9001 and other quality methodologies. Sunset aging product lines and developed a migration path to a new, open standards platforms at Avaya, NCR and Bell Labs. • 1st woman to win the AT&T and NCR Teradata national sales awards -- top sales manager and sales rep at AT&T, NCR Teradata and Avaya • Delivered profitable marketing campaigns in the area of CRM, Business intelligence, contact centers and other high tech areas • Run call centers, sold call centers and been in product management of call centers (Avaya, AT&T and NCR) • Director of CRM Strategic Planning and Alliances at Avaya and NCR Teradata • Senior Manager of Product Management Bell Labs (business intelligence, data warehousing and CRM) Most recently Sandra managed the Central Florida territory for Siemens' telephony division. Siemens is selling this division soon and their loss can be your gain.

Posted on July 16, 2009, in customer relationship management. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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