We need to be clear: we have seen technology serve as an invaluable tool for firms managing large numbers of customers. We have also invested significant amounts to automate what we believe should be automated in our companies. It's an astonishingly creative time for business computer applications—firms are developing new applications almost weekly to assist in relationship management, professional development, and collaboration.
At the same time, though, we notice a disturbing trend. Firms in too many cases assume that technology is the best way to solve their problems, so they invest in systems when there might be better solutions. Given the financial and human resources that technology can consume, the decision whether or not a firm should invest in systems should be exceedingly rigorous and should factor in alternative tools or nontechnology solutions.
In this chapter we will examine two topics:
A high-level overview of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems challenges.
The seven steps to successful systems implementation for strategic account management programs.