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Customer Relationship Management

CRM is a business strategy aimed at understanding, anticipating and responding to the needs of an enterprise's current and potential customers.

CRM should not be thought of as just a technology product to be deployed but rather as a holistic focus on customer-enriching touches and activities designed to add a distinct and measurable competitive advantage. CRM is not software, although CRM software is a necessary enabler to achieve CRM. From a technology perspective, CRM implies the integrated use of customer information combined with operational, analytical and support tools which empower staff and provide a superior delivery mechanism to customers. CRM is not Sales Force Automation (SFA), although SFA is a component of CRM. By most standards, the minimum number of software components to achieve a true CRM suite include SFA, Marketing Management and Customer Service. CRM is also not an implementation or an event; it is a process embodied from the highest levels of an organization and pervasive throughout the organization.

CRM can be any number of processes designed to improve a company's relationship with customers across sales, marketing and customer service departments. CRM processes don't always require technology. Remember the old axioms 'service with a smile' and 'the customer is always right'? These are CRM processes that long pre-date software technology.

When software first piloted an online CRM application, the concept of providing enterprise-level CRM applications online, on-demand and at a fraction of the cost of client/server systems was yet unproven. Since that time, the software 'as a service' theory has translated into a billion dollar industry, the subscription pricing model has become a preferred procurement method and the Internet has dominated as a delivery mechanism that removes the IT administration and headaches for organizations of all sizes.

The future of online CRM applications is clear. First generation online CRM systems succeeded in providing narrow point solutions, typically contact management, often on an anytime/anywhere basis. Second generation online CRM systems are evolving to provide limited configurability (often referred to as customization) and simple integration. While these improvements elevate the industry as a whole, they fall short of matching the automation and flexibility of enterprise level CRM systems. software's vision includes more than just offering online access to limited point solutions - it includes matching, and in some instances exceeding, the power and capabilities of extremely costly legacy CRM systems, in a far more timely deployment and at a price much more easily afforded. software's product extends the online CRM market to the third generation by including a complete and embedded Portal application (with multiple levels of preferences, configuration and customization for true user-based tailoring), a complete suite of integrated CRM applications (including marketing automation, sales force automation, implementation management and customer support), optional offline usage and robust mobile and wireless connectivity.

 

 

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