As i read this recent post from Mike Boysen, I had a flashback to twenty years ago. Mike raised some very compelling questions and burning issues with respect to the success of CRM. A few quotes from the first few paragraphs of his post set the tone.
“…numerous studies have shown that the impact of CRM on an organization’s performance is simply not where one would expect, given the enormous investments companies are making.”
“The simple truth is that technology, by itself, cannot create business outcomes.”
Spot on. So here’s the thing. I completed my first SFA (sales force automation) project in 1987. And after…well I lost count of the number of CRM projects…the questions about enterprise, and more importantly, customer value haven’t really changed in more than two decades. Companies, customers of CRM, have spend countless billions of dollars on CRM technology. And as Mike rightfully questions, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of consensus on the value that has been created from this investment. Mike goes on in his post to suggest specific changes that the CRM industry should consider to address this customer value dilemma.
I would argue that the responsibility is not at the feet of the CRM industry, but falls squarely in the lap of the enterprise customers of the CRM industry. Since those early days, concept of the “customer-centric enterprise” has been top of mind. How many organizations have achieved it? Those that have, haven’t done it through the delivery of a CRM application on a desktop.
They’ve done it through core values, culture and strategies that include every traditionally silo’d function in the enterprise as part of the customer-centric business model. That’s not just sales, marketing and customer service. That’s finance, HR, logistics, manufacturing. Every enterprise function. Every enterprise function has an impact on the customer experience. Every one.
So, until enterprises can clearly articulate and implement their customer-centric business model, is it really incumbent upon the CRM industry to take any different path than its currently on?