Using CRM to create business value across the enterprise

December 4th, 2013, Published in Articles: EngineerIT


Information from Microsoft

In the past 15 years, the world has changed fundamentally. We live in a highly connected world, where the amount of data that employees and customers share every day is increasing exponentially – and this is posing real challenges for modern enterprises looking to best service the new hyper-connected consumer. 

Traditionally, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions have helped automate sales, service and marketing for organisations. But now CRM is growing up, and allowing businesses to track not just their customers, but information and processes around any variable that is important to the business.

This is creating the rise of the so-called XRM solution – or extended relationship management – that is allowing companies to use a range of business applications on whatever device they choose. For example, this allows mobile employees to access key information on their mobile devices, and do things like generate quotes on the fly by drawing information from various sources, says Kethan Parbhoo, the head of Microsoft’s Dynamics Business in South Africa.

Megatrends like mobility, social networking and cloud computing are redefining productivity. Mobility opens the door to what Parbhoo calls “some very interesting scenarios” in CRM. In 2013, there will be about 7-billion devices sold in the world.  By 2020, there will be 50-billion connected devices, from smart phones to tablets to PCs and others, which is seven times more devices than we have people on the planet.

But “the next big thing” in CRM lies in social CRM and enterprise social networking – such as Facebook for businesses, without the blurry holiday pics and endless grumpy cat memes.

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within and across enterprises, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers – high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals – by 20 to 25%.

“Three years ago, social networking was considered largely irrelevant in the world of business – but today it’s a core tool that businesses use every day to connect better to their employees and customers. Enterprise has evolved to become social enterprise,” said Parbhoo.

Microsoft is making a particularly strong play in the social enterprise space with its new CRM 2013 offering. By acquiring Yammer, Microsoft has what is arguably the best enterprise social network in the enterprise software industry, and the company has wasted no time integrating it with CRM.

Yammer gives companies the ability to stay pervasively connected to customers and resources by putting social tools in the context of what people are doing. This means customers can quickly comment on posts or start contextual conversations.

“CRM today should be an enabler that detects trends, facilitates decisions and suggests actions that lead to successful outcomes and relationships. The new CRM, with its enterprise social abilities, is transforming the way we share information, allowing us to focus onflexibility, agility and effectiveness to keep our customers happy,” said Parbhoo.

Another Microsoft acquisition, NetBreeze, allows companies to do real-time analytics and pick up trends on social media from within CRM 2013. This effectively means CRM users are able to measure customer sentiment – and manage it – on the fly, while driving more insightful and impactful customer campaigns than ever. This reduces costs, measures the real ROI of marketing investments, and drives revenues more effectively.

“The technology has always been there to get the fabled 360° view of customer. For us, it’s all about ensuring there is a platform to get customers’ views, and to actually do something with that information,” said Parbhoo.

Contact Surita Risseeuw, Microsoft, Tel 011 361-7031,  

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