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Customer Relationship Management
CRM Introduction
CRM Aspects
CRM Key Functionalities
CRM Channels of communication
CRM Privacy and data security
CRM Market Structure

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There are three aspects of CRM which can each be implemented in isolation from each other:

  • Operational - automation or support of customer processes that include a company’s sales or service representative
  • Collaborative - direct communication with customers that does not include a company’s sales or service representative
  • Analytical - analysis of customer data for a broad range of purposes

META Group (acquired by Gartner in April 2005) developed this conceptual architecture in the late 1990s, and dubbed it the CRM EcosystemCon.

A pioneer of CRM ,Help Desk Software since 1992 SOFFRONT the mid-market CRM leader gave a whole new interface and practical solutions to the CRM by offering end-to-end CRM Software solutions spanning marketing automation and sales force automation software, customer service and helpdesk software, sales order processing software, asset and project management software, defect tracking software and more.

The latest CRM functionalities

The latest CRM should incorporate features that extend the CRM functionality beyond sales, marketing, and customer support.

Some features are

  • Superior user interface
  • Support for Web Services
  • A framework, which should support integration with popular accounting systems.
  • Support e-mail client integration and advanced email support
  • Support perforce integration
  • Features to make the engine to support automated business rules, email support and alerts etc
  • Supports customization of UI,TOOLS,REPORTS,TEMPLATES etc.
  • Should be WEB and WAP enabled.
  • Zero footprint web browser : the CRM should be web based and operate from your browser. You can access the application just as you would access a web site like There must not be any requirement of writing code at the client’s end or any requirement to download a plug-in or an applet. Standard browser access is a must should support open technologies like http/xml which provides all the functionality.

  • All modules should be inherently integrated with each other. The complete breadth of crm functions spanning sales, marketing, customer support, employee support, partner management, defect tracking and customer portal applications must be integrated by design.

  • The product should support database like oracle, ms sql server and sybase. A single repository should hold all the data generated across various customer touch points.

  • If the modules are pre-integrated then you have the flexibility to start with what you need and activate the rest when you need them.

Should be release independent so that the customizations done at installation and over the years are preserved when you upgrade. There is no need to rework them.


Operational CRM provides support to "front office" business processes, including sales, marketing and service. Each interaction with a customer is generally added to a customer's contact history, and staff can retrieve information on customers from the database when necessary.

One of the main benefits of this contact history is that customers can interact with different people or different contact channels in a company over time without having to describe the history of their interaction each time.

Consequently, many call centers use some kind of CRM software to support their call center agents.

Operational CRM process customer data for a variety of purposes:

  • Managing Campaigns
  • Enterprise Marketing Automation
  • Sales Force Automation


Collaborative CRM covers the direct interaction with customers, for a variety of different purposes, including feedback and issue-reporting. Interaction can be through a variety of channels, such as web pages, email, automated phone (Automated Voice Response AVR) or SMS.

The objectives of collaborative CRM can be broad, including cost reduction and service improvements.


Analytical CRM analyzes customer data for a variety of purposes:

  • Design and execution of targeted marketing campaigns to optimise marketing effectiveness
  • Design and execution of specific customer campaigns, including customer acquisition, cross-selling, up-selling, retention
  • Analysis of customer behavior to aid product and service decision making (e.g. pricing, new product development etc.)
  • Management decisions, e.g. financial forecasting and customer profitability analysis
  • Prediction of the probability of customer defection (churn analysis).

Analytical CRM generally makes heavy use of predictive analytics.


Several commercial CRM software packages are available which vary in their approach to CRM. However, CRM is not just a technology, but rather a comprehensive approach to an organization's philosophy in dealing with its customers. This includes policies and processes, front-of-house ustomer service, employee training, marketing, systems and information management. Hence, it is important that any CRM implementation considerations stretch beyond technology, towards the broader organizational requirements.

The objectives of a CRM strategy must consider a company’s specific situation and its customers needs and expectations.

Technology considerations

The technology requirements of a CRM strategy can be complex and far reaching.

The basic building blocks:

  • A database to store customer information. This can be a CRM specific database or an enterprise data warehouse.
  • Operational CRM requires customer agent support software.
  • Collaborative CRM requires customer interaction systems, e.g. an interactive website, automated phone systems etc.
  • Analytical CRM requires statistical analysis software as well as software that manages any specific marketing campaigns.

Each of these can be implemented in a basic manner or in a high end complex installation.

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Keywords: CRM and the mySAP CRM System,CRM Aspects,CRM key functionalities,CRM privacy and Security,CRM Communication Channels

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