Magazine article CRM Magazine

Smarter CRM: Sometimes, the Cloud Is Not Enough

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Smarter CRM: Sometimes, the Cloud Is Not Enough

Article excerpt

MIGRATION to the cloud has been the dominant trend within CRM for the last several years. But what is it that is being moved to the cloud? And will it enable organizations to achieve the CRM goals that they are setting for themselves? More important, will it enable them to fulfill the expectations customers today have of those who market, sell, and provide services to them?

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INTO THE CLOUD

The migration to the cloud has been, overwhelmingly, a move of transactional CRM applications from the company data center into someone else's data center, with application end users connecting to their CRM applications via the cloud. The justification typically has been decreased IT costs and increased end-user adoption, the latter translating to cost reductions, cost avoidance, and/or margin improvements for the business.

The migration to the cloud has therefore, in practice, targeted mainly people who use the technology, whether they work for the company itself or for the company's channel partners.

Another goal of migrating to the cloud has been to improve the customer experience. But this goal has seldom been realized in a meaningful way. In part, the limited impact is due to customer service (a key driver of customer experience) posing technical challenges for cloud-based applications and integrations. Also playing a role is the fact that customer experience is determined by considerably more than transactional CRM applications.

As a result, for many, this move has been only a new path toward an old goal: achieving operational efficiency and effectiveness for those in marketing, sales, and service who use the technology. The benefits can be substantial. But are they accruing to customers?

BEYOND THE CLOUD

Smarter organizations are realizing that they need to go beyond a CRM strategy of migrating transactional applications into the cloud. They are pursuing next-generation CRM strategies centered on serving customers, facilitating collaboration, and generating actionable and predictable insight. The goal is to generate more profit for the company by generating more value for customers and partners.

Smarter CRM strategies require robust transactional applications, often, but not necessarily, in the cloud for marketing, sales, and service. …

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