Study: XRM the Next BTB Step

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Business-to-business partnering programs and supporting applications are not enough to help firms slash costs, improve offerings or better serve their customers during difficult economic times, according to a report released by Forrester Research.

According to the research firm, those looking to achieve the next breakthrough must master a new operating strategy it calls dynamic collaboration.

Forrester said that to support this strategy firms will have to deploy a new class of business applications that make dynamic collaboration work. Those applications are called extended relationship management, or XRM, software.

"Firms and their partners can lay the groundwork for dynamic collaboration by starting small with trusted partners to engage in basic information sharing," said Steven Kafka, research director at Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA.

Kafka said firms should invest over time in incremental levels of dynamic collaboration to transform the processes for product design, supply chain and procurement, and sales and service.

Forrester said XRM applications will support each level of dynamic collaboration by letting firms monitor partners' status, manage intercompany transactions and optimize automated decision making. Multiple firms will be able to share a single instance of an XRM application to design and make products more efficiently or to improve customer service.

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