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.
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.
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.