Magazine article CRM Magazine

A Real-Time CRM Software Capabilities Test: ISM's Yearly Winners Must Meet Five Functionality Benchmarks to Make the Grade

Magazine article CRM Magazine

A Real-Time CRM Software Capabilities Test: ISM's Yearly Winners Must Meet Five Functionality Benchmarks to Make the Grade

Article excerpt

FOR THE PAST several years I have frequently spoken and written about the customer relationship management industry's next wave--real-time CRM. In fact, real-time CRM will be the theme of my closing address at the DestinationCRM 2006 Conference (turn to page 27 for more information). This real-time wave has already begun to change the way customer-facing personnel work. It enables more rapid answers to customer questions, instant chat with customer service, immediate access to order status and inventory, and seamless connectivity between the Internet and brick-and-mortar stores, with real-time intelligence.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This past May I identified the winners of this year's ISM real-time CRM software awards (please read the CRM magazine daily news story, "ISM Reveals Its Top 15 Award Winners," on destinationCRM.com).

To identify the 2006 real-time CRM winners, ISM tested the real-time capabilities of many software applications against five criteria:

* Real-Time Dashboards (which allow management to make better, more complete decisions in real-time, e.g., creating/modifying sales gauges that show how many deals are at which stage in the pipeline). ISM examines the CRM application's ability to connect to multiple databases simultaneously to secure needed real-time information and reviews the application's seamless integration with middleware and portal tool sets. We also look at how easy one could make changes to the application's real-time dashboard without having to ask a software developer to intervene.

* Rapid Application Development Tools (e.g., GUI interfaces and workflow building mechanisms, which greatly reduce the time to customize and implement a CRM application). ISM examines how open the vendor's approach is for developing and integrating new business objects into its own CRM application, as well as with other enterprise applications. …

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