CRM or BPM?

Last week I had the chance to travel to beautiful Cambridge, MA.  Years ago AT&T sent me to MIT for various business courses, but I hadn’t been there in years.  Coming from Orlando with its 100 plus degree days it was a pleasure to walk by the Charles River along with many others.  The weather was perfect and I wasn’t the only one enjoying the gorgeous day.

I was in Cambridge to visit with Pegasystems, the leading BPM (business process management) software leader.  Pega (as they are known) boasts major customers including Bank of America, three or four of the “Blues” (Blue Crosses) and many others.

BPM automates common work practices — and since many companies are like silos — marketing is independent of sales is independent of engineering is independent of shipping, most processes that cross departments (and don’t they all?) get there via email, voice mail, forms, excel spreadsheets. . .  Even when the systems are the same the receiving department has to proactively pull the work into their world.

BPM not only automates processes across organizations, but using quality improvement methods and workflow automation work gets done faster and more efficiently — thus saving time and money.  In the world of government regulation (such as Sarbanes-Oxley aka SOX) where companies had to keep a tighter track of financial information for auditing purpose) being able to not only automate processes, but to track them becomes a necessity.

Pega is #1 in the BPM software world with their  SmartBPM® product.  Their president, Alan Trefler was named “Computer Software Executive  of the Year” at the 2009 American Business Awards.  So in the world of BPM they are not only the market leader, but the thought leader.  Pega is the leader in the Gartner Group “Magic Quadrant” for BPM.

Recently Pega has dipped its toe into the CRM (customer relationship management) world with their solution CPM (Customer Process Manager).  They have build a contact center customer service support module on top of this BPM engine.   While certainly not a “threat” to the more complete CRM vendors who go beyond the customer service space, the Pega solution is the next logical step for CRM.

Today’s CRM solutions are, for the most part, records based.  Whether we’re talking of Siebel (Oracle), Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics CRM they all start by creating a record.

Remember those corporate silos I mentioned a few paragraphs ago?  All that great customer information winds up “usable” beyond the CRM application only if it is in a field in said record.  Otherwise that valuable customer “gold” becomes embedded in notes that a CSR or sales rep makes of the contact, and are only available to those who sit and read those notes.

What Pega’s CRM does well is to integrate end-to-end customer-facing processes across not only departments but existing applications.  If you already have Siebel and an (enterprise resource planning) ERP solution and a (supply chain management) SCM solution you can bring in Pega underneath them to streamline the hand off of a sale or problem resolution across organizations.  Over time you can begin to implement some of their desktop apps that can be very easily modified on the fly.  The power of Pega’s ability to pull this off is shown in their 50% plus growth in the last year.

The most amazing thing about Pega is that they are aimed at the big companies —  1,000 plus users.  Many CRM applications simply can’t scale to large implementations, but Pega can — and it does so based on an open architecture (java).

Pega does have competitors in this new CRM hybrid space.  Chordiant and Sword Ciboodle (a really excellent offer from a Scottish company who is making inroads into the States) to consider along with Pega if the process oriented CRM approach makes sense in your company.

The traditional CRM vendors have noted the interested a hybrid BPM / CRM approach and all have some iteration of it on their product roadmaps.    If you’re interested in the CRM world, take a look at Pega, Chordiant ans Sword Ciboodle to get a feel for your future.

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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 22, 2009, in BI, business intelligence, contact center, CRM, customer relationship management, Pragmatic Marketing, product lifecycle, profit, revenue, sales. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Excellent overview, Sandra. Your post help shed some light on the Pega acquisition of Chordiant.
    I also commented onthe acquisition on my TechOnDec blog at http://bit.ly/bb5ECO.

  2. Hi Sandra, I have been proposing the consolidation of BPM, CRM and ECM for ten years now. I am glad to hear that you do agree with Pegasystems offering the same. What they are still missing is the actual communication content.

    We at ISIS Papyrus have been offering CRM consolidated in our solution offering because we do not only manage the process but we also manage the MESSAGE with our inbound and oubound content management approach. Processes without content/messages is as useless as is CRM without customer communication.

    More on my views on http://www.adaptive-process.com

    Regards, Max J. Pucher
    Chief Architect ISIS Papyrus Software

    We are too aimed at the large businesses. Wellpoint NY has over three thousand seats of our correspondence solution installed – SINCE 2001, by the way. So I would love to show you more at some stage so you can see the REAL future of customer focus at some stage.

  3. Max, I absolutely agree. If you don’t use business intelligence to track a campaign — and complete the circle to determine if you’ve been successful you are spinning your wheels. I’ll take a look at ISIS Papyrus.

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