Despite the current economic downturn, the need for organizations to create differentiation through unique customer experiences, strive for deeper insight into customer needs and behaviors, and serve customers cost-effectively has not disappeared. The need for “CRM” is not going away.
However, when I surveyed 133 organizations, using at one least of 24 different CRM technology solutions, I found that the risk of a spectacular project failure is still high. These companies reported over 200 problems, comprised of 27 risk areas in four categories. Thirty-three percent of the problems were related to technology; 27% spotlighted inadequate business processes; 22% were related to “people” challenges; and 18% comprised CRM strategy and deployment issues
Consider these statements as they portray your organization. A “Yes” or “No” answer will spotlight the hazards before they sink your program.
1. “The CRM solution we have chosen is mature and well-proven in use at other organizations with requirements similar to our company."
2. “The CRM solution we have chosen is flexible and can be easily adapted to meet unanticipated requirements in the future.”
3. “The CRM solution we have chosen does not have any major functionality deficiency gaps relative to our requirements."
I talked recently with the SAP CRM management team and partnering with SAP appears to becoming less onerous for vendors of customer-facing complementary software products. Many of these interaction-centric products in areas such as email management, knowledge management, and communication channel management had been forced into a go-it-alone strategy when looking to integrate with SAP CRM and Customer Service installations due to complex partnering rules and high fees. In a recent briefing, SAP appears to have loosened the reins a bit – structuring mutually beneficial agreements with a number of companies (announcements to follow) outside of their traditional partner channels. This bodes well for all three stakeholders in such a relationship: SAP, who broadens the capabilities of its product with well-integrated point solutions; independent software vendors, who can now work with SAP to tighten integrations; and users, who will benefit from co-marketed, tested solutions. As an indication that this is not just trading logos on PowerPoint decks, in at least one case, most of the work to integrate the products is taking place by SAP within the SAP product. Expect more news about the specifics of this new strategy in next few weeks. This is a vast change from prior policies which offered potential “partners” two choices – take it or leave it.
Hello, my name is Bill Band and I am Principal Analyst here at Forrester serving Business Process & Applications Professionals. The focus of my research is on the underlying technologies that support customer-facing business processes (a.k.a. "CRM"). To make the savvy investment decisions, customer intelligence professionals, need to know which solutions have the strongest track record for delivering results. I just surveyed 286 companies to understand which customer management processes and supporting technologies are most critical to success.