Study: Enterprises Need Clear CRM Strategies

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The lack of clearly designed customer relationship management strategies within an enterprise can reduce the effectiveness of deployment, according to a report released yesterday by Frost & Sullivan, San Jose, CA.

The report, "Frost & Sullivan Global CRM, Interactive CRM, and Mobile CRM Initiatives and Forecasts," reveals that CRM-generated revenue exceeded $11 billion in 2001 and is projected to approach $36 billion by 2008.

But the report said that though many companies have taken the external step of furnishing the technology, CRM solutions are often underused internally.

"While the adoption of CRM software suites is rising at the corporate level, the same cannot be said for employees' adoption," said Katherine Shariq, industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

In addition, the study found that many early users viewed CRM as the solution to all of their customer problems. However, this was not the case, as the technology was not combined with a clear, enterprise-wide CRM strategy. To overcome this, industry participants must take a proactive role in seeking new markets and educating end users about the operational strategies they must adopt, the study said.

"Departments that define their objectives at the outset and then put the applications into place become satisfied and successful users in comparison to participants who expect technology to solve their business concerns," Shariq said.

The study also found that while traditional CRM was based on making customer service representatives more efficient on the telephone, today's CRM is designed to make it easier for a customer to do business with a firm -- rather than its competitor -- by providing more online self-service capabilities, knowledge transfer and information sharing. Organizations must provide customers the appropriate tools to foster healthy company-client relationships.

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