Magazine article CRM Magazine

Survival of the Relatively More Fit: CRM Is Changing, Evolving to Suit the Demands of the Moment Letters May Be Edited for Length or Clarity

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Survival of the Relatively More Fit: CRM Is Changing, Evolving to Suit the Demands of the Moment Letters May Be Edited for Length or Clarity

Article excerpt

EVOLUTION MAY BE the cleverest algorithm ever discovered. It truly was discovered--by Charles Darwin--not made up like some of the equations the rocket scientists on Wall Street came up with over the last couple of decades. Part of its cleverness comes from the deceptively simple mechanism it suggests: Try various solution designs to any real-world problem and see which variants work best. Let the best designs propagate their improvements throughout the population of solutions, then let them have another go at it. Repeat this process ad infinitum.

That's it. Evolution doesn't have perfection as its goal or end result. The closest it gets to perfection is to have a design that's well adapted to present conditions. And since future conditions will most certainly be different, there is a mandate for change built into the algorithm. People wonder aloud, "What's the matter with kids these days?" The answer is: everything--subtle change is inevitable. And the answer is also nothing--change leads to innovation.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

So what's this got to do with CRM? Evolution makes sense with living things, but what sense is there in discussing it in the context of inanimate objects such as software? Well, quite a bit. Most software manages day-to-day human interactions--and CRM, in particular, is all about those interactions. Our life patterns change--sometimes because people alter their habits for personal reasons and sometimes because technology makes it possible for them to change their habits. Technology has been enabling change at least since some genius invented the wheel.

Implicit in all this is the idea that, as situations change, so must all of their relevant components. For instance, when CRM was invented, business activity was robust. New product categories sprouted like mushrooms in the forest and eager businesses and individuals happily plunked down cash for the new whizbangs.

The CRM that developed in that climate was built around the idea of order-taking. Sales force automation captured a small set of information needed to consummate a deal, marketing dug up suspects, and service got overwhelmed with phone calls.

Today's market is very different. Deals mature more slowly. …

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