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Crmdataperspective
Crmdataperspective
Crmdataperspective
Crmdataperspective
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Crmdataperspective
Crmdataperspective
Crmdataperspective
Crmdataperspective
Crmdataperspective
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Crmdataperspective
Crmdataperspective
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Crmdataperspective

  1. Brought to you by: Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Perspective January 4, 2000 Datapro Summary Progressive change is an accurate way to describe the advancement of information technology throughout the 1990s. As IT continues to evolve, the ways in which companies do business are also changing. The emergence of the Internet as a business venue, the growing percentage of consumers accessing the Web, and the increasing number of households equipped with a PC or other Web-access device are speeding IT's rate of change. In the last decade, ERP vendors helped their clients respond to the promise of the Web with products offering Web-enabled technology, virtual storefronts, and self-service applications. Enterprises are now using base ERP systems in concert with data warehouses and marts to justify business decisions or analyze and respond to market shifts and trends more effectively. In addition, every business wanting to compete vigorously in 2000 and beyond was told it needed a Web site. Now, a typical enterprise has some, if not all, of these elements: an ERP system, a data warehouse or other business intelligence solution, and a Web site with potential customers visiting everyday. These types of progressive changes are triggering an interest in customer intelligence. Enterprises want to learn more about each and every individual customer and use that knowledge to effectively nurture and manage individual customer relationships, yielding increased customer satisfaction and profit--a business strategy known as Customer Relationship Management (CRM). This overview will provide a basic analysis of CRM-enabling technologies, the market itself, key vendors, business impacts, and risks and rewards. —By Robert Anderson and Daniel B. Stang Technology Basics History Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a business strategy designed to help an enterprise understand and anticipate the needs of its potential and current customers. Customer data is captured in several different areas of the enterprise, stored in a central database, analyzed, and distributed to key points (called touch points). Touch points can include a mobile sales force, inbound and outbound call centers, Web sites, point-of-sale, direct marketing channels, and any other parts of an enterprise that interact with the customer. The distributed data is intended to help foster effective, individual experiences between the company and the customer. In a sense, CRM is a natural and predictable extension of the evolution of marketing and sales. The first CRM-enabling technologies included basic contact management software linked to individual PCs. This primitive form of Sales Force Automation (SFA) soon grew to include--in
  2. addition to contact management--account management, opportunity management, mail merge, and forecasting. Client, product, marketing, and competitive information were eventually added to the mix. Other front-office applications, such as sales configuration engines, were added, as well as tight links to back-end ERP. Initially, CRM projects focused on unifying the spheres of sales and customer service, but in the last few years, a marketing function was added, as enterprises recognized both a need to tie marketing campaigns to sales and the significant impact service interactions have on sales lead generation. Now, CRM projects strive to provide data to every enterprise department that touches the customer. CRM is designed to empower the entire enterprise when managing customer relationships. Enterprises want their customers to see one, friendly, corporate face, as opposed to a collection of disconnected departments trying to work together. Ideally, an effective CRM strategy will enable the enterprise to utilize all of its resources when interfacing with a customer, including marketing, sales, finance, and manufacturing, as well as post-sales services. When carefully and strategically employed, econometric, demographic, lifestyle, and psychographic data; decision-support systems; the Internet; and customer access techniques and technologies can help promote effective CRM, despite the size of enterprise, the size of enterprise's customer base, or the size of relative market. The ability to gain value from CRM projects is contingent on the enterprise's capability to leverage and integrate all of these functions, technologies, and consolidated data in a way that promotes departmental synergy, as well as competitive advantage. Synopsis Enterprises no longer view their customer base as a homogeneous collection of revenue- generating units. Instead, they want to get up close and personal with clients. As an enterprise grows, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide personalized levels of service. CRM initiatives involve the marketing, sales, and service entities within an organization. CRM projects focus on integrating and leveraging all of a company's outward-facing actions to acquire new customers; retain existing ones; and, most importantly, identify the most profitable prospects so that their value can be maximized over time. Acting on the notion that effectively managing the customer relationship from initial contact through the sale and follow-up service(s) yields the greatest chance of keeping their best customers satisfied, companies are deploying CRM-enabling technologies, such as call center software and self-service Web sites, to please the "never satisfied customer." Most companies invest in CRM-enabling technologies to provide competitive differentiation in a world where products can become obsolete overnight. Thus, CRM-enabling technologies help enterprises: · Understand key customer groups · Define what customers need and value · Target customer groups · Tailor products and services for customers · Refine channel strategies · Measure customer activity in relation to marketing campaigns, new product introductions, etc. Functionality CRM initiatives involve one or more of the following general functions: · Marketing automation · Sales force automation · Customer service · Electronic commerce
  3. Marketing Automation Marketing Automation is an automated process in which customers are targeted, leads are generated, and marketing campaigns are managed. Marketing Automation can be broken down into four primary functions. Initially, customer data must be analyzed and graded to identify top prospects. Next, marketing and lead generation campaigns must be developed. As campaigns are executed, leads must quickly be routed to appropriate sales channels. Finally, return on investment (ROI) must be tracked against sales to ascertain success or failure of the campaigns and refine future marketing approaches. Sales Force Automation Sales Force Automation is an automated sales management process that includes lead generation, forecasting, and closing business. Customer Service Customer Service addresses post-sales issues in a responsive manner. E-Commerce E-Commerce integrates and leverages marketing automation, sales force automation, and customer service via Web technology. Examples of CRM-Enabling Technologies at Work A unified, effective CRM initiative will provide sales and customer service reps with immediate access to customer, product, and competitive information. Product configurators can be linked to back-end inventory systems providing immediate feedback on availability. Accurate quotes and delivery dates translate into happier customers. Margins can also be identified earlier in the sales cycle. Because sales representatives have better information, they can focus on more profitable deals. Customer service personnel can pull up the entire interactive history of a customer. Tight links to marketing databases help reps cross-sell by matching products to clients at the immediate "point of need." The marketing team can track campaigns against sales activity, allowing for better initiatives in the future. Emerging Trends CRM-Enabling Technologies for Indirect Channels Implementing CRM for the direct sales force is a top priority for many companies. Indirect channels are critical to many industries, especially high tech industries where partners commonly handle and account for more than 50% of a company's overall sales. Web-based CRM solutions designed specifically for partner sales are starting to emerge. E-Commerce and Web-Based CRM-Enabling Technologies The power of the Web as a business venue lies not only in the ability to sell products regardless of physical and geographical location, but also in the ability to create stronger relationships with customers and to provide higher levels of service. Customers of CRM-enabling technologies are
  4. selecting products that unite several customer-service functions, such as order entry, call center, and help desk, using a single Web interface. Using workflow, processes can be linked across several applications. Web sites can be made available 24×7. Web consumers can check their records online, access knowledge bases, ask questions, and even chat with service representatives. Some corporations also allow customer access to the same account information that the service reps see. Properly implemented self-service systems can reduce some pressure associated with sales and call center operations. Not only can customers sign up for new services and order products on a company's Web site, but also Web-based, self-service applications can, at times, be more accurate than call centers or conversations with sales representatives because the data is entered directly into the back-end applications, minimizing administrative error. Self-Service Knowledge Bases Knowledge bases allow customers to independently access a vendor's Web site and find answers to questions and solutions to problems without the intervention of service personnel. Customer Web site interactions can be logged and tracked, allowing customer service personnel to view what a customer was looking for to assist them further. Intelligent Agents and Rules-Based Applications Intelligent Agent (IA) technologies are designed to allow companies to interact at a single-user level (e.g., "market of one") while minimizing the use of human resources. This technology can, when implemented correctly, make inferences about user habits and needs. IA can support the management of the customer interaction cycles by reducing the need of human resources and by shortening the duration of a single cycle. Moreover, with IA-based systems, the more customer interaction cycles are executed, the more the agents learn and improve their knowledge about customers. IA and Rules-based search engines can be used to answer customer e-mail queries received during off-hours, honoring the adage that, at times, the only thing holding up the placement of an order is getting the right answer to a question (a question that may come at 11:30 p.m.). Using IA-enabled applications, customers can engage in realtime question-and-answer sessions with intelligent agents. Self-service, "live talk" icons can be interspersed throughout the dialog using IP voice-over-Internet technology, enabling customers to simply click on an icon if they have reached a "dead end," requiring customer service rep intervention and direct dialog via Internet. IA and Rules-based search engines can also be used to automatically notify customers of problems related to their products or orders. Companies can monitor prospects as they access the Web site to inquire about a product. As the prospect reads or downloads information about a specific product, the system can determine if someone else within the same company already purchased the product. If so, the system will automatically send an e-mail to the prospect, providing information about the person within the company who is already using the product and suggesting that the prospect contact that person as a reference. Technology Analysis IT professionals involved in CRM efforts have the opportunity to become enablers of a customer- centric business strategy while also positively impacting the organization's bottom line. The appropriate use and proper implementation of CRM-enabling technology, however, is paramount. Pitching a CRM implementation project is subject to scrutiny in the face of odds unfavorable to the successful completion of complex, infrastructure-based projects. There are many risks
  5. involved and the so-called CRM "solutions" available today are all but rapid and inexpensive. IT professionals, when mulling the launch of a CRM-based project, must keep in mind that CRM is a business strategy, not a technology. There are many technologies that aid CRM, but IT professionals should not assume that any one vendor and/or product offers an all-inclusive, out- of-the-box, CRM solution. One thing IT professionals can assume is that a typical CRM project will include substantial investment in technology infrastructure, especially in areas such as data warehousing, OLAP, and data mining (for sorting through the volumes of data required to extract meaningful customer data); the Web; and sophisticated call center applications. CRM projects will also typically call for the resources necessary to integrate an array of disparate, isolated systems. The synergy created by these technologies, if achieved, has the potential to provide huge economies of scale to enterprises. The data warehouse is often the critical hinge upon which CRM architectures are built. The warehouse becomes the nucleus for all the data required to perform prospect assessment and grading and from which all information is disseminated to call centers, SFA, and marketing components. Unfortunately, if an enterprise does a poor job of defining and using available and acquired data, then the process, no matter how well constructed, will reap inaccurate and error- prone results. Conversely, if business processes and workflow are not rationalized and well thought out, CRM may actually cause more problems and customer dissatisfaction than it solves. Unless the work performed by sales and service representatives and marketers is well understood, it will be impossible to develop data models that adequately support them. IT professionals should assess the condition of the organization's infrastructure as part of a CRM strategy development process. Goals should be defined early, so that the company knows exactly what it wants to achieve; what physical parts of the business (departments) will be affected; and what technological pieces (infrastructure, architecture, etc.) need to be updated, modified, and integrated to reach the goals. The definition of these goals early in the CRM implementation project is particularly critical to proper and effective CRM-based vendor(s), product(s), integrator(s), and/or service provider(s) selection. The scope and complexity level of the CRM project will also govern the evaluation and ultimate selection of the aforementioned pieces (vendors, products, etc.). Some vendors and system integrators offer packaged CRM- enabling technologies that would suit pointed, focused CRM initiatives, but more complex CRM projects will require the acquisition of different best-of-breed products, as well as the employment of external service providers and/or systems integrators. The following questions should also be answered during CRM project planning phases: · What kinds and how many processors will be required to perform the tasks? · How will assorted applications be integrated? · How do you create a common definition of the term "customer"? · How will data be stored and distributed? · If you are going to utilize the Web, what kind of traffic will be expected on the network infrastructure, and is enough bandwidth available to accommodate this load? · What security considerations need to be made? Business Use Essentially, CRM initiatives are designed to promote the effective acquisition and utilization of knowledge about customers, empowering a company to sell more of its products or services more efficiently. A corporation's customer base can be made more profitable by acquiring more customers, increasing the value of current customers, or keeping customers longer. CRM strategies seek to achieve all these benefits with lower costs. CRM strategies typically start with an analysis of customers' behavior to achieve in-depth knowledge of their habits and requirements. That knowledge is then used in the development of marketing strategies and
  6. customer account plans. By defining, managing, and controlling customer interactions at critical "touch points" (e.g., interactions), companies hope to maintain long-lasting, satisfied customer relationships. Ideally, CRM should become a repeatable process ensuring consistent, continually improving results. This process includes not only the maintenance of quality customer interactions, but also securing knowledge about the customer each time an interaction occurs. The results of interactions must also be tracked and analyzed to refine and improve future actions. Completeness and accuracy of data gathered and analyzed are vital to the success of CRM. By unifying and creating visibility around the information gathered, all the resources of the company can be utilized to help satisfy the customer. This provides one consistent, friendly, intelligent company face to the customer, as opposed to a collection of loosely organized departments. Customers should be able to get the same information about a company and its products or services from the Web, from the sales force, or from the call center. When CRM strategies are planned and implemented properly, the confusion that ensues when customers receive multiple, uncoordinated messages from various company representatives can be minimized, if not eliminated all together. The fight to acquire and keep customers is intensifying. The customer is capturing mind share and is more intelligent in terms of shopping savvy. The cost of acquiring new customers is also becoming extremely expensive. Other Gartner research describes the cost of acquiring new customers as being five to ten times greater than retaining an existing one. Angry customers are also much more likely to tell others about their problems than a satisfied customer. Hence, maintaining customer loyalty has never been so important. Studies show that loyal, satisfied customers buy more over their lifetime and are willing to pay more to do business with a vendor that delivers and is trustworthy. CRM strategies and enabling technologies are designed to capitalize on these insights by providing a holistic approach that balances the targeting of prospects with satisfying current customers. While there is no true measuring stick for customer satisfaction, it still remains a primary goal for today's businesses and is the focus of all CRM strategies and technologies. Fast, high- quality, accurate, and insightful cycle times are also a main goal (and are also measurable), but the customer service process improvements derived from CRM often lead to greater efficiency and cost savings. In fact, by reducing cycle times for both you and your customer (while enhancing the quality of each interaction), CRM can be justified based on the ROI generated from increased revenues and profits. Benefits and Risks Benefit: Single View of Customer Data Customers get consistent, predictable information no matter what touch point they use. Redundancy and duplication can also be reduced. CRM solutions keep customer information in a central database (as opposed to disparate systems), reducing the possibility of inconsistencies and errors. Shared information helps companies provide better service. Benefit: Immediate, Realtime Information Availability Sales and service reps can provide customers with product availability information on a line-by- line basis. The inventory management system is typically accessed through a secure Web site to check on the product availability, the status of orders, locations, ship dates, and estimated delivery times.
  7. Benefit: Knowing and Understanding Your Customers Better Because the company "knows" who its customers are at a higher level of granularity, the company can more efficiently tailor services to its needs and spending levels. The company can also target priority accounts. Benefit: Knowledge Retention Information loss due to staff turnover can be reduced. This is especially beneficial to sales, where staff turnover can be fairly high. As representatives head out the door, customer information and interactive history are safely retained in the secure, central database. Benefit: Lost Leads Reduced Lost leads equal lost sales. In a CRM strategy and technology implementation, sales leads are stored and processed in a predefined, consistent manner. Leads can be channeled into the organization by salespeople, trade show attendance scans, or via forms-based applications. Forecasting modules allow sales leads to be tracked back to marketing campaigns. Benefit: Standardized, Best Business Practice Enforcement Best-practice methodologies and processes providing and enforcing uniformity across the enterprise can be put in place. Benefit: Automation of Time-Consuming Tasks The automation of time-consuming tasks emancipates sales and service personnel, allowing them to focus on direct customer activity and keeping them in front of the customers. Literature requests can be fulfilled automatically. Sales call logs can be updated and kept current automatically. Benefit: Product and Competitive Information at Fingertips Online marketing encyclopedias ensure that up-to-date product and competitive information is available at the point of sale. Additionally, sales configuration engines ensure that representatives accurately configure products and produce accurate quotes. Risk: Difficult to Implement Enterprise-level CRM solutions have a reputation for being expensive and difficult to implement. This is due primarily to six things: 1. The CRM initiative was not carefully thought out and planned. 2. Data is inaccurate, not available, or widely distributed across different formats. 3. Business processes and workflow are not properly defined and then aligned across required system inputs. 4. Efforts become bogged down in getting required systems integrated. 5. Technology infrastructure requirements were underestimated. Phased approaches are highly recommended, concentrating on priority requirements first. 6. Inner office politics and the existing organizational structure can make implementation difficult. CRM and other enterprise initiatives require cooperation and participation across business units that, historically, have not worked together and may have competed against each other for resources and recognition.
  8. Risk: Web Dependency When relying on the Web, scalability must be considered. A company should make sure it has a technology infrastructure in place that will support the Web site. Is a substantial investment required to deliver the expected capability? Traditional applications may have served a thousand or more internal users. Commercial Web applications may be required to support hundreds of thousands of transactions per day. If a company becomes too dependent on the Web and the system or network goes down, significant revenues may be lost. Customer satisfaction can spiral down rapidly. Companies should strike a proper balance in leveraging Web technology in a CRM initiative and invest wisely to minimize risk. Risk: Over-Automating Self-service Web sites, voice response systems, and other innovative technologies are great advances, but the goal of CRM is to bring companies closer to their customers, not to alienate them. At times, dialing a phone number and speaking to the warm, friendly voice of a sales or service representative are all a customer needs to purchase a product. Companies implementing CRM strategies and enabling technology should be wary of driving technology to the point where it reaches diminishing returns. Risk: CRM Is Not Guaranteed There is no concrete evidence proving that CRM works. Although it is true that CRM may not attract customers that are less than desirable for a company, investments in CRM do not guarantee the attraction of desirable customers, as well. Companies that reap success from CRM initiatives will be the ones that can use it to better understand how a customer wants to be related to the company. This is achieved using accurate data and analysis, and then promptly acting on that analysis by carrying out a strategy designed specifically for that individual customer relationship--a process known as Customer Relationship Planning or CRP. Standards There is a need for standards in CRM initiatives to facilitate the transfer of data and workflow between different CRM-enabling technologies, and the Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a possible contender to address this need. XML is a system for defining, validating, and sharing document formats and promises to enhance interoperability between systems and databases by providing common data frameworks. XML was created and developed by the W3C XML Working Group, which includes key industry players such as Adobe, DataChannel, Hewlett- Packard, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems. It is a subset of the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) optimized for delivery over the Web. XML maintains the separation of the user interface from structured data, allowing the seamless integration of data from diverse sources. It resembles and complements HTML in its capability to describe data using tags. Adoption of XML is growing at an exponential rate. It already found its way into a number of sales automation tools, enterprise application integration solutions, and application development tools. Selection Guidelines CRM is not a technology nor does it constitute a well-defined market of vendors or products. There are, however, a number of CRM-enabling technologies that exist, as well as vendors and
  9. systems integrators offering services that promote CRM. Before a company decides what CRM- based products and services it should invest in, a self-examination is required. Companies should decide what the goals of the CRM strategy will be; what base technology enhancements, additions, and/or modifications should be made; and how closely the company can match its needs with in-house resources available to carry out the strategy and plan. Once the examination is complete, the company should then evaluate the complexity level of the CRM strategy and plan. CRM investment decisions will be based on all of these factors. Because CRM implementations are typically expensive, the physical size and spending power of the company will obviously determine the extent of the investment. Larger enterprises will have relatively large IT investment spending pools they can tap, but they will also need this spending power, as the level of CRM project complexity tends to be higher in this group. Small- sized to midsized enterprises will have less spending power, but will also be the main beneficiaries of smaller, packaged CRM applications that typically would not suit larger enterprises. Companies considering CRM should keep in mind that there are no CRM-based vendors offering one, complete CRM solution. True, out-of-the-box CRM solutions will not materialize for another two to three years, despite what a given vendor may tell a prospective customer. All successfully executed CRM projects will include a carefully defined set of goals and investments in products and services from multiple vendors. There are three types of vendors offering CRM-related products and services: packaged application vendors, system integrators, and external service providers (ESPs). To implement a CRM plan, a company needs to determine what combination of these vendors it should use. A good rule of thumb is as follows: The more complex the CRM project, the greater chance a CRM implementation will require more than just a packaged application suite and a system integrator. For larger enterprises with IT spending budgets to match, it may be a good idea to address database integration issues now, as opposed to later (one reason why large-enterprise CRM projects are more complex than those of smaller, midsize enterprises). These types of enterprises will stand a better chance of succeeding in their CRM initiatives if they perform a self-evaluation, design a focused CRM plan, and their investment includes a combination of two or more of the following: a contract with an ESP; the acquisition of best-of-breed, CRM-based applications; and/or consulting and training services designed to modify the culture of the organization. This formula, however, is not a foolproof recipe for successful CRM implementation. Some enterprises will have all these elements in their plan and may fail anyway, but in terms of having the best chance, these items should provide a higher probability of success. For enterprises with limited budgets, pointed and focused CRM projects targeting specific areas of the enterprise should yield the most benefit for the money spent. These enterprises should consider purchasing best-of-breed application packages combined with services provided by a systems integrator. Here are some other considerations that should be made when evaluating CRM-enabling technologies and services for purchase: · Use a customer-centric, as opposed to a product-focused, approach. · Retain business focus--do not get distracted by the technology. · Make sure vendors understand the problems that you are trying to solve. · Scrutinize each vendor's integration capabilities. · Insist on checking references in your vertical space. · Be wary of "extras" that cost money but may not be needed. · Ensure that marketing applications can adequately capture and track promotional history and customer responses to campaigns. · Obtain everything in writing, including time frames and all responsible parties. · Evaluate each vendor's financial viability in the face of a consolidating market. · Ensure that the applications are flexible and can be modified later when the system needs to adapt to future changes.
  10. Technology Leaders In general, vendors offering CRM-enabling technologies and services are segmented as follows: - Best-of-breed vendors that started in the SFA or customer service market and have expanded to become complete CRM solution providers. - ERP vendors that have moved into the CRM market, leveraging their capability to provide easier integration. - Vendors offering SFA, customer service, or marketing point solutions with vertical or horizontal focus. Despite a crowded playing field, no single vendor can yet provide the full spectrum of capabilities that meet the needs of every company. CRM is a business strategy often requiring suites of products to be executed properly. The market is ripe for consolidation. Most vendors must partner with complementary solution providers in order to provide comprehensive coverage across the CRM spectrum. At the high end and upper part of the mid-market, Siebel, originating in the sales automation segment, and Vantive, coming from the services arena, are at the top of the pack relative to best- of-breed providers. Siebel has excellent marketing and appears to have the lead at this time. Siebel has many large customers and has a track record of scalability. Where most packages provide record-level synchronization, Siebel provides field-level synchronization. This improves performance substantially, as the whole record does not need to be replicated to or from the server each time a field value changes. Siebel Sales Enterprise also provides graphical representation of key contacts in a client organization. Siebel has distinguishing cross-selling and up-selling capabilities that include immediately visible discount information. Finally, Siebel is also known for its strong workflow capabilities. In the future, Siebel must balance its aggressive double-digit growth while continuing to achieve superior customer satisfaction. PeopleSoft's acquisition of Vantive not only proves that ERP vendors are looking for new markets to tap (such as CRM), but also that Vantive products are making significant headway in the area of CRM. Vantive provides the broadest platform support of high-end vendors and can run on a variety of operating systems and databases. Vantive products use the popular Calico marketing encyclopedia for pushing updated information to company representatives. Vantive also bundles Trilogy's sales configuration engine to promote accurate order entry, as well as accurate price quotes. Salespeople can also analyze past leads and win/losses. Additionally, Vantive offers corporations that utilize the "virtual team" concept the ability to find internal specialists that can assist in closing a deal or servicing a project. ERP players like SAP, Oracle, and Baan announced CRM solutions that are tightly integrated from their back-end ERP systems. While the ERP players' CRM solutions can "stand on their own," their primary constituency in the short term will be users of their ERP software. Prospects evaluating these solutions should look at the particular vertical strengths of the solutions being offered as well as the depth and breadth of functional coverage. It will take time for these solutions to mature. The important benefit they provide, if you are committed to their enterprise-wide platform, is the ease of integration between applications, a nontrivial concern when considering a CRM implementation. Both high-end, best-of-breed and ERP-provided CRM vendors are looking to move down-market by providing modularized solutions that are easier to implement and customize. The jury is still out on whether they can achieve this goal. In the mid-market, SalesLogix and Pivotal look very strong. Pivotal is especially good at leveraging the concept of the extended enterprise. SalesLogix established a reputation of being affordable as well as easy to use. Onyx and Clarify also have very good presence in this market,
  11. both with loyal customer bases. Onyx, in particular, has a solid reputation for straightforward implementations and ease of customization. If marketing automation is an important requirement, vendors like Epiphany, Rubric, and Annuncio should be evaluated along with vendors offering a broader range of functionality. The following is an approximate list of CRM-enabling technology vendors. CRM-Enabling Technology Vendors ActionWare Janna Systems, Inc. Aknaf Software MarketWare Software Applix Inc. Multiactive Software Inc. Baan Inc. (Aurum) ON!contact Software Corp. Calico ONYX Software CallBack Software Optima Technologies Cedalion Oracle Corporation Clarify Inc. Pegasystems Inc. Client Technologies Inc. Pivotal Software Inc. Corepoint (a division of IBM) Platinum Software Corp. Dataworks, Inc. Primix Solutions Deltek Systems Inc. Quintus Corporation Dendrite International Inc. Remedy Corporation Edify Corporation Sage U.S. Inc Empower Systems Corporation SalesLogix Firstwave Technologies Inc. Saratoga Systems Foresight Solutions Inc. Siebel Systems Inc. Gateway Systems Corporation SAP GoldMine Software Corporation Trilogy Software GrapeVINE Technologies The Vantive Corporation Integrated Marketing Solutions UpShot Corporation IntellAgent Control Corporation Datapro Insight Enterprises that succeed in deploying CRM will balance goals of achieving high customer satisfaction while achieving operational efficiency. Neither should be compromised on the path to competitive differentiation. Technology is a double-edged sword. Cost-cutting efficiencies can alienate clients when implemented carelessly and without regard to the most-prized asset. To create the necessary synergies that enable the goals of CRM to be reached, substantial investments may need to be made in integrating ERP and CRM applications. Also, organizations themselves must move beyond traditional smokestacks and rally around the notion of sharing information and working together in support of the customer. As a recent Gartner report stated, "Today's fragmented, overlapping, and expensive IT installed base supporting disjointed selling, marketing, and customer service functions is not sustainable. A CRM infrastructure will have to be created through rationalization, elimination, and consolidation." Attaining CRM excellence is not a static event. Continuous improvement with an eye on understanding and servicing your customers is absolutely critical.
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