Business Processes and CRM Systems

Ann All is pointing out the convergence between Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and Business Process Management (BPM). She writes

Too often CRM is a disjointed mishmash of departmental or divisional activities. CRM touches a number of enterprise systems, including operations, accounting and e-commerce, so companies must make a better effort to integrate their CRM data with these other systems….

Business processes across the enterprise are either directly or tangentially concerned with customer interactions. Since a 360 degree view of the customer is key for managing the relationship, it follows that all processes need to be considered and relevant customer data lined up for the CRM system to be effective.

For organizations used to working with enterprise-class systems like SAP, an integrated process-based approach is easier to visualize and execute. It is the organization with departmental silos that gets attracted to ‘partial’ solutions that address the contact management functions of CRM. Despite the customer being so central to the modern enterprise, customer relationship management questions quickly devolve into the basic question of, “who owns the customer?” Very rarely do all business departments sit together and design a common integrated process focused on the common customer.

A true customer focused organization will need to take an enterprise-wide process view in implementing CRM.