Integration as Key to Returning the "Customer" to CRM

Loraine Lawson

James Governor, aka Monkchips, is one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter, just below "Justin's" tweets about his dad and Laura Ingalls Wilder, and just above enterprise architect James McGovern, who's always shocking and has a very amusing (for a journalist) grudge match with Gartner. I like all of these Twitter posters because they're pithy and shocking, and that's just the kind of gal I am.


Occasionally, Governor writes about integration, and like his Twitter posts, it's often insightful and very pointed. Recently, he tackled the overlooked problem of CRM integration, and I loved, loved, loved that he points out most companies ignore the fact that CRM stands for customer relationship management. Instead, CRM has come to stand for "salesforce automation," or SFA. And that is a woefully inadequate plan, he points out, particularly for customers:

Sure SFA can help you win a new customer, but it does little to sustain a relationship over time, and that's the only CRM that matters. How do you deal with a customer incident? How do you deal with an exception, when your organisation lets a customer down? How do you design a great experience in working with your business?


As it turns out, he's been visiting SAP in Walldorf, Germany, and he's discussing its approach. And what he likes about SAP's take on CRM is its focus on cutting across all customer-related functions, which eventually brings him to the point of most interest on this blog: The necessity of integration to CRM.


Or, as Governor nicely points out:

... CRM means multiple touch points, and is not so much to do with salesforce automation. CRM should be about keeping customers, not winning them. Automated CRM is impossible without integration.


And that means ensuring CRM encompasses not just sales information, but call centers, customer incidents, orders and analytics-as Nils Herzberg, COO of SAP's Industry Solutions group, pointed out to Governor.


While Governor isn't convinced SAP has managed to get it right yet or even has the answers, he thinks Herzberg at least has the vision right. SAP companies definitely will want to read his insights.


But regardless of whether you're an SAP client, this piece is a good read because it outlines a nice vision for what CRM could be, if we can move past the silos and integrate the business functions and the enterprise software that supports them.


By the way, you can also find me on Twitter, and I'm working on/have created a few lists you can subscribe to.

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