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pathways to new business, perhaps even from existing sources that have previously gone
unrecognised. Contacts can be maintained in the database, forming a searchable and ger-
mane resource. A greater sense of unity within an organisation should emerge as a result
of this process of information networking.
Clear client orientation is appealing to a customer's sense of worth and value, and it
can result in better client communications, more efficient interactions between staff and
other professionals, and innovative proposals for new business. A CRM strategy provides
the template for achieving these goals in the short term and the mechanisms for building
a long-term company asset.The downside is that organisations occasionally look only
inward when implementing a CRM strategy. Should this occur, a certain amount of per-
sonalised client perspective may be lost initially and the outcome could be an insulated
vision of the customer base.
The considerable challenges of implementing CRM, in terms of both technology
instalment and employee acceptance can, potentially, contribute to this restricted scope.
Some internal adjustments will inevitably have to be made to the organisation.These
adjustments are not being made for the benefit of the organisation alone, but with the
aim of achieving better customer relations: the CRM venture has benefits for both com-
pany and customer as its overall aim.With this in mind, an organisation can make the
required adjustments with a global goal in mind rather than making such decisions indi-
vidually and, perhaps, in a vacuum.
The most common challenges faced by organisations implementing CRM are perhaps
those concerning the technology.Technical integration is vital to successful instalment,
and requires disparate components to be made compatible within the infrastructure. An
organisation risks the loss of crucial information, as well as time and money unless it pays
proper attention to this integration. Similarly, the complex technologies that support the
infrastructure of a CRM system can require considerable time and skill to understand
before the benefits of implementation may be seen.The distributed nature of the CRM
software environment necessitates a constant upgrading and maintenance cycle in order
to remain effective. Application changes therefore present a challenge when being distri-
buted to a large user community, and can impinge on the short-term return on CRM
investment.
Since off-the-shelf CRM systems tend to be aimed at smaller businesses, there is often
a common misconception that the configured solution will be immediately effective.
Some of these systems will meet the needs of an organisation, but rarely before consider-
able structural adjustments have been made. Bespoke systems aimed at larger corporations
will be tailored to make the adoption of the system a relatively smooth process but in all
cases CRM implementation is an intensive process and must be carefully considered
before major decisions are taken at each and every stage of the rollout.
With a CRM system successfully integrated, an organisation will be able to rely on a
responsive and accessible service for employees and clients. Data can be disseminated
between departments, enabling all users to acquire a fully rounded view of customer
information. A significant amount of time must be invested in demonstrating the benefits
of the new system to employees. If internal acceptance is initially weak (and worse, if it
remains so), the system will ultimately fail at one of its primary functions.
Customer Relationship
Management
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