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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the heart and centre of most businesses and industries in the world today. It is the deciding factor that drives businesses by ensuring that customers are kept satisfied enough to keep coming back. It’s a discipline that most organizations have found increasingly beneficial to invest in. Technology vendors have also seen the benefit and potential in manufacturing state-of-the-art software solutions that are capable of managing and handling the business processes of most organizations.
To remain internationally competitive, there’s an urgent need for individuals and businesses to incorporate the principles of effective customer relationship management. The major CRM Vendors are Oracle, SAP and Microsoft. Other CRM technologies also exist that can serve the ever-evolving needs of organizations but these three solution providers are the major ones and they own a fair share of the market. CRM solutions and applications are continually evolving to improve the relationship between organizations and their customers.
How CRM helps to build Relationships with Customers Customers’ needs are constantly evolving and it is no longer news that they are king. CRM solutions exist in a bid to build long-lasting relationships with these customers that all parties would benefit from. These solutions are developed with the sole objective of satisfying and exceeding the expectations of customers so that these customers may be retained for a lifetime and the practicing organizations can benefit from these relationships.
Other major applications of customer relationship management are discussed as follows: • CRM assists in maximizing the potential value of every customer; these benefits are seen in the overall corporate performance and optimal use of data within the organization • CRM provides a platform for dealing with all customer concerns and issues that are related to the business. CRM Solutions also provide reports that are useful in developing marketing strategies and plans
• CRM also provides a platform for evaluating the needs of customers, determining which aspects of the business need improvement, ascertaining the level of frontline service and prioritizing the organization’s goals in a bid to retain customers and gain new ones (CRM Landmark, n. d. ). Describe the three CRM technologies used by marketing departments SAP is one of the major technologies used for marketing in most organizations today. The SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) software is part of a comprehensive software suite known as the SAP Business Suite.
It reduces costs and enhances decision-making with a long-term view. The software has features that can support core business functions such as marketing, sales, partner channel management, service, interaction center, web channel and business communications management (SAP, 2009). Oracle’s CRM solution is based on information-driven sales, marketing and service. It has an open-standards architecture that can easily be integrated into any existing framework in most organizations.
It has the capability to isolate and streamline key business processes, improve the quality of data used for decision making and ensure that key decisions are made by people that have access to the same source of data. Oracle has a robust range of CRM applications that can be deployed in almost any type of location and during any phase of CRM introduction (Oracle, 2009). Microsoft invented a solution known as the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Solution. Microsoft’s CRM solution focuses on communication as the core aspect of customer relations. It provides a solution that helps to define an effective method of communication and collaboration.
It has a platform through which sales, service and marketing staff can share information in a manner that is seamless for the overall benefit of the customer. Through the software, it is possible to establish an overall view of sales trends, buying patterns, consumer behaviour and track the results of customer service on a real time basis. One major advantage that Microsoft CRM holds is its easy integration with existing Microsoft products such as Outlook, SharePoint portal, web browsers, mobile devices and other office applications (Microsoft Corporation, 2009).
Describe and differentiate the CRM technologies used by sales departments and customer service departments. Sales and customer service work hand-in-hand. There’s no way to accomplish one without the other. Technologies that focus on sales basically help to automate sales processes without identifying what exactly the customer wants. On the other hand, technologies that focus on CRM help in designing successful campaigns, building on what the customer wants and how the customer can be successfully retained (CRM Landmark, n. d. ).
Most CRM vendors now realize that these two applications work together and have resorted to producing them in a single package. CRM technologies used by sales departments and customer service departments are often similar. Most vendors package these applications in a manner that allows both departments to fully utilize the CRM software. Conclusion IT plays a major role in the deployment of CRM solutions. It acts as an enabler for ensuring that customers continually have access to what they need and when they need it. It is no doubt that CRM solutions are a worthwhile investment and are here to stay.
For these applications to work, it is necessary to provide people with the right skill sets and training facilities that will ensure that up-to-date technologies are maintained and deployed. In addition, CRM technologies need to be planned and staff must be guided through a comprehensive change management program to ensure a successful deployment. It will be exciting to see what the future holds for these software solutions. References CRM Landmark. (n. d. ). The Differences Between Sales Force Automation and Customer Relationship Management.
Retrieved April 27, 2009, from CRM Landmark: http://www. crmlandmark. com/crmjourney_sfaandcrm. htm Microsoft Corporation. (2009). Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Retrieved April 26, 2009, from Microsoft Corporation: http://www. microsoft. com/dynamics/crm/default. mspx Oracle. (2009). Customer Relationship Management. Retrieved April 27, 2009, from Oracle: http://www. oracle. com/applications/crm/index. html SAP. (2009). SAP CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT. Retrieved April 27, 2009, from http://www. sap. com/solutions/business-suite/crm/businessbenefits/index. epx