Irrespective of industry size or sector, data is pivotal to the success of an organisation. And this has given rise to the success of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. CRM systems provide businesses with a centralised source of information, they eliminate duplication of effort and increase the overall level of knowledge within a business.

Through the increased amount of information businesses are able to provide a much improved level of customer service which means customers are more likely to become loyal as a result of the level of service they have received. This in turn increases the profitability of an organisation as it costs more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer.

The popularity of CRM solutions has increased substantially over the last few years as more and more business look for new ways to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. However the "customer" part of the term CRM is misleading as the strategy process and benefits apply equally to the management of any relationship, irrespective of who the relationship is between.

What's more, because many businesses are structured in a way which means they are split into different departments, increasingly directors want the ability to manage all the relationships within their organisation, not just those with their customers. Microsoft has branded this concept "xRM" - a platform which enables you to manage any and every relationship.

Benefits of XRM

Irrespective of size or sector, xRM will provide businesses with:
  • One central database - providing a complete view of all prospects, customers and suppliers
  • Complete customisation to specific business requirements
  • Improved Communication
  • Automation - making it easier to perform administrative tasks
  • Enhanced staff efficiency and effectiveness

Properly implemented, xRM will bring significant benefits to your business, above all, a well-implemented XRM system will improve the effectiveness of your business across nearly all of its key functions, because it is configured to your businesses requirements.

Implementing XRM

Subsequently, whatever solution you choose, implementing and configuring it correctly is essential to the success of any project. To do this you need an effective project methodology. This will minimise the risks and costs associated with the project and will help to achieve a higher return on investment by providing maximum user objectives.

Projects are more likely to be successful if there is a defined project methodology because:
  • It reduces the time spent completing project deliverables.
  • Monitoring and controlling the project is more efficient, especially during the execution phase.
  • It reduces overall costs by saving time and effort to building deliverables.
  • Change, risk and issues are reduced because the project is fully and clearly defined from the outset.
  • Full quality assurance is in place throughout the project lifecycle to ensure requirements are met.
  • By clarifying roles, responsibilities and delivery expectations, staff performance and motivation remains high.