Making CRM Work Staff

Updated · Jun 04, 2001

Proper Customer Relationship Management is proving crucial to driving successful e-commerce — nonetheless having the right software isn't enough.

“It's pretty endemic that there is a lack of satisfaction with the CRM programs to date,” says Peter Grambs, principal in the IT group at Booz-Allen & Hamilton in New York City. “Not many companies,” he adds, “are willing to admit that their $100 million project is a failure.”
Admittedly, the blame doesn't always lie with software vendors and over-hyped CRM products — many companies are jumping headfirst into lavish CRM projects without having defined clear strategies.

Much of the blame purportedly lies with employees who are often reticent to adapt to new precepts and technologies. As such, the responsibility for ensuring that new-fangled CRM-systems run smoothly lies with CIO's and managers.

“CIOs have got to turn this CRM equation around and make it an end user project, not an IT project,” says Jim Dickie, managing partner at Insight Technology Group. Most analysts will agree that for proper CRM implementation to occur, CIOs need to partner with business executives in order to promote the new systems and instigate company-wide training programs.

At the end of the day, successful CRM entails cutting through all the vendor hype and making sure that the right CRM solution is implemented and properly integrated. Moreover, CIO's must ensure that company employees are properly conditioned to make full use of new-fangled CRM apps.

Siebel Systems (one of the major beneficiaries of the CRM craze) claim that the vast majority of their customers are happy with their CRM solutions. In fact, asserts Siebels, the majority showcase boosted revenues as a direct result of CRM-implementation. In addition, a recent audit of Siebels by Satmetrix Systems, allegedly reported a 21 percent increase in customer satisfaction.
David Schmaier, Siebel's executive vice president lays the blame for faulty CRM systems with sales and marketing departments aren't used to fully automated systems. The trick, he alleges, is to work with qualified and certified systems integrators.

Despite a current wave of CRM cynicism, the Meta Group (an IT consultancy) predicts that the CRM market will grow from $20.4 billion this year to $46 billion by 2003.

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