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Don Lucky

Don Lucky

CRM is about knowing customers and meeting their specific needs to gain their patronage and loyalty, as well as new customer referrals.

CRM Software

Can Your CRM Evolve as Fast as Your Customers? (Part 9b)

It is treating all customers well and exceptional customers exceptionally well, with a level of service that ensures profitability. Midsize firms can leverage this smarter approach to CRM to combine the best attributes of a large enterprise and a small business. Today they can have at their fingertips the insights needed to provide the high-quality experiences that today’s customers are demanding—and to do it profitably.

The smarter approach to CRM is a powerful customer engagement methodology for midsize businesses looking to build customer loyalty and gain market share, particularly in a slow economy. As a manager in a midsize business, take a close look at the goals you are trying to reach. Do you have actionable data to know and service your customer better? Have you considered a mobile strategy? Are your contact center agents able to collaborate seamlessly, and are your marketing programs automated based on real-time data?  If these types of questions are top of mind, it may be time to reexamine your customer engagement strategy and  see if a smarter approach to CRM would help you address these and other questions.

Continued in Part 10

 

In today’s economy, it is difficult to simply employ intuition and assumptions when trying to maximize the customer relationship. Data is required for informed and better decision making, but only if it is integrated and not locked into silos. For midsize businesses, gaining new customers and maximizing the value of existing customers are paramount. How you go about this is the challenge.

CRM Software

Can Your CRM Evolve as Fast as Your Customers? (Part 9a)

CRM lets companies use data mining strategies and segmentation analysis to identify patterns in customer behaviors. Marketers with CRM are empowered and able to identify habits and anticipate future purchasing needs. Customer service agents are able to qualify a lead instantly and to proactively make recommendations regarding purchases. At the same time, checking data against address-correction databases, opt-out suppression files and do-not-call registries ensures the right customers are reached—and on their terms. The power of information generates results, moving a company from reactive to proactive decisions.

CRM solutions have been developed and deployed with the best of intentions: to help firms make more profitable sales and service decisions. Unfortunately, in some implementations the solutions over-promised and under delivered on the results, at high costs and with long lead times. These traditional CRM tools are outmoded in today’s dynamic, real-time global digital business environment. However, midsize firms now have the opportunity to take control by embracing and integrating advanced technology when deploying their CRM solutions.  Modularity, cloud delivery and mobile enablement, coupled with analytics, data integration, collaboration and social media capabilities, ensure substantial benefits, reasonable costs and quick implementations that provide a bankable ROI.

Customer service enhancement, in the contact center and online, reinforces the benefits of this smarter approach to CRM with customers while enabling improved productivity. In addition, the smarter approach to CRM can deliver midsize companies other business value, including:

  • The ability to understand and take advantage of the rich data the    companies possess
  • New insights into their customers, giving the company competitive advantages
  • The agility to meet the demands of the customer to collaborate when and how they feel most comfortable engaging with the company.

Continued in Part 9b

 

CRM can help in the understanding of who the customers are and what they want.  But traditional CRM often falls short in enabling the proactive decision-making skills that business leaders need to address the demands of their clients. Business managers need to be aware of, budget for, anticipate, and respond quickly and effectively to their customers’ needs.

ERP Software

Can Your CRM Evolve as Fast as Your Customers? (Part 3a)

That requires them to have more real-time data and analysis tools to help them decide the best contact methods to employ to improve service levels and satisfy customers. Yet many midsize businesses don’t realize that their three or four year old CRM system is probably holding them back. They still rely on traditional, nonintegrated customer management, sales tracking or marketing systems—applications that are insufficient to meet the demands of the changing customer. By taking into account the impact marketplace shifts will have on how businesses leverage their CRM systems, business leaders can better strategize for the future.

Certainly one of the mega trends rocking the world of CRM is the pervasive impact of mobile communications. The rise of practical, convenient and affordable mobile technology is changing how customers communicate with each other and with the businesses that serve them. Customers are employing wireless devices for voice and Internet access as supplements to, and increasingly as replacements for, landline telephones. More than one in four American homes are now wireless-only.

This pattern is becoming especially prevalent in the upcoming generation. Statistics Canada reported that half of all households occupied by 18 to 34 years old had cut or never had traditional phones in 2010: up from 34 percent in 2008. . For businesses, changes in telephone demography have made it more difficult to know whether a given customer is at home or at work, on a mobile phone or on a landline.

Continued in Part 3b

 

Mobile technology has accustomed individuals to convenience, scalable pricing, and instant access to communication and information. As such, mobile customers have less patience for waiting on hold, callbacks, or unnecessary transfers. They buy minute-based plans with wireless versus one-price unlimited landline calling.

ERP Software

Can Your CRM Evolve as Fast as Your Customers? (Part 3b)

Mobile technology has accustomed individuals to convenience, scalable pricing, and instant access to communication and information. As such, mobile customers have less patience for waiting on hold, callbacks, or unnecessary transfers. They buy minute-based plans with wireless versus one-price unlimited landline calling. They perceive their time as valuable and will not wait long on hold or for a sales team member to get back to them. They will become frustrated and go to a competitor who can supply them with information quicker. To deliver the fast, personalized service clients are demanding, call centers and customer service agents are now looking to their CRM systems to provide real-time access to a full spectrum of customer information.

For sales and service agents, delivering fast responses requires a streamlined, easy-to-use view into the customer data. CRM solutions with dynamic user interfaces can enable employees to find the information they need with minimal clicking-and-dragging. These user interfaces enable data to be personalized for each user, increasing productivity by showing only the information that is relevant for them. For salespeople on the road, access to this information must now also be mobile-friendly for use in wireless devices.

Continued in Part 4

 

Mobile technology has accustomed individuals to convenience, scalable pricing, and instant access to communication and information. As such, mobile customers have less patience for waiting on hold, callbacks, or unnecessary transfers. They buy minute-based plans with wireless versus one-price unlimited landline calling.

ERP Software

Can Your CRM Evolve as Fast as Your Customers? (Part 3b)

Mobile technology has accustomed individuals to convenience, scalable pricing, and instant access to communication and information. As such, mobile customers have less patience for waiting on hold, callbacks, or unnecessary transfers. They buy minute-based plans with wireless versus one-price unlimited landline calling. They perceive their time as valuable and will not wait long on hold or for a sales team member to get back to them. They will become frustrated and go to a competitor who can supply them with information quicker. To deliver the fast, personalized service clients are demanding, call centers and customer service agents are now looking to their CRM systems to provide real-time access to a full spectrum of customer information.

For sales and service agents, delivering fast responses requires a streamlined, easy-to-use view into the customer data. CRM solutions with dynamic user interfaces can enable employees to find the information they need with minimal clicking-and-dragging. These user interfaces enable data to be personalized for each user, increasing productivity by showing only the information that is relevant for them. For salespeople on the road, access to this information must now also be mobile-friendly for use in wireless devices.

Continued in Part 4

 

CRM can help in the understanding of who the customers are and what they want.  But traditional CRM often falls short in enabling the proactive decision-making skills that business leaders need to address the demands of their clients. Business managers need to be aware of, budget for, anticipate, and respond quickly and effectively to their customers’ needs.

ERP Software

Can Your CRM Evolve as Fast as Your Customers? (Part 3a)

That requires them to have more real-time data and analysis tools to help them decide the best contact methods to employ to improve service levels and satisfy customers. Yet many midsize businesses don’t realize that their three or four year old CRM system is probably holding them back. They still rely on traditional, nonintegrated customer management, sales tracking or marketing systems—applications that are insufficient to meet the demands of the changing customer. By taking into account the impact marketplace shifts will have on how businesses leverage their CRM systems, business leaders can better strategize for the future.

Certainly one of the mega trends rocking the world of CRM is the pervasive impact of mobile communications. The rise of practical, convenient and affordable mobile technology is changing how customers communicate with each other and with the businesses that serve them. Customers are employing wireless devices for voice and Internet access as supplements to, and increasingly as replacements for, landline telephones. More than one in four American homes are now wireless-only.

This pattern is becoming especially prevalent in the upcoming generation. Statistics Canada reported that half of all households occupied by 18 to 34 years old had cut or never had traditional phones in 2010: up from 34 percent in 2008. . For businesses, changes in telephone demography have made it more difficult to know whether a given customer is at home or at work, on a mobile phone or on a landline.

Continued in Part 3b

 

Sector-specific ERP Modules: These applications support the unique operations required in a vertical industry. Most ERP vendors now segment their product offerings by specific features designed to meet the needs of a particular industry. Unlike the cross industry solution discussed in Part 5, significant product differentiation is present in these industry-specific ERP modules. For example, Manufacturing Execution and Project Management are two popular ERP modules that will vary dramatically from one vertical industry to another and from one vendor to another.

ERP Software

ERP ABCs: Back to Basics (Part 6)

A Product Overview, Continued

Extended ERP Modules: The ERP industry has done a good job of discovering just about all functionality within different organizations that can be automated.  The resulting modules, as they emerged, were seen as extensions of core ERP functionalities, but they really represent ERP’s inevitable span across the enterprise. Many of these modules are now seen as essential, and are among the basic modules implemented in the first iteration of an ERP implementation. Included among them are SCM, CRM, SRM and PLM (see below).

Each ERP system includes administrative ERP functionality that supports all the modules in the ERP system. These include features, such as analytics and reporting, consolidation and compliance, giving the ERP system tools to address business requirements more effectively. The configuration and customization features, for example, permit a company to specify the basic “look and feel” of the ERP package.

An ERP system is an integrated information management system that manages the flow of information among different functional modules in an enterprise.

Other Product Considerations: Beyond functionality, buyers today have multiple delivery options to choose from, including traditional, licensed on-premise solution, a Cloud ERP or “on-demand” solution or an open source solution.

The marketplace has been reinvigorated by those innovative pioneers delivering alternative ERP solutions that provide greater flexibility and more choices for ERP buyers. This is shaking the throat-hold traditional license-based on-premise ERP vendors have had on the market.  It’s widely known that the implementation of an on-premise ERP system can be costly, complex and prone to failure. And in the current, challenging economic environment more and more companies appear willing to consider alternative ERP solutions that can meet their requirements at lower costs. These include “on demand” solutions and open source solutions.

Cloud ERP or “on demand” solutions are run on the computers of a service provider and accessed over the Internet. Users can access these applications wherever they have Web access.  The principal advantages are compelling: faster implementation, regular, no-cost upgrades, no or little upfront capital expenditures and complete scalability. Any organization with limited financial and technology resources is likely to be among the early adopters of Cloud ERP.  However, these solutions are also gaining attention from large enterprises that want to break free from the crushing cost and complexity of traditional ERP.

Open source ERP solutions provide another intriguing alternative to on-premise ERP. Companies can simply download these solutions on the Internet, and customize them as much as they need to. Open source solutions lower upfront costs, but can evolve into systems that are costly to maintain or upgrade.

Continued in Part 7

 

An ERP implementation is always a strategic investment for an enterprise. The advantages that an ERP system can provide are too compelling to ignore and, once in place, impossible to imagine going without. Productivity blossom, workflows are streamlined, once onerous processes automated.

ERP Software

ERP ABCs: Back to Basics (Part 7)

Seven indications that your company is ready for an ERP solution

Operating expenses are reduced,  information is more accessible and flows more freely.  On the other hand, the history of ERP is littered with tales of huge unanticipated costs, implementation timelines run amok, and, when all is said and done, no appreciable ROI. It’s the classic risk/reward scenario.  Before undertaking this journey, ask yourself whether your organization can survive the stress test and whether it needs an ERP solution at all. Below are some of the business situations that can inform your decision. If your company organization can relate to these conditions, it might be time to seriously consider implementing an ERP system or replacing the one you have:

Rapid, uncontrolled growth: Sounds like a good problem to have. But if your organization is growing rapid pace, business is probably overwhelming your systems. Perhaps your have opened several new operational units in multiple locations, or complete a large acquisition. How do you cope with a significant increase in volumes of production, processes, and work force?

No timely, accurate visibility into actual performance: Data reflecting reality is becoming elusive, figures harder to trust. There are multiple versions of the truth afoot, and no good way to know which one is right.

Sales and manufacturing are out of sync: There is little coordination between what sales is selling, what the factory is building and what the warehouse have in  inventory.

Redundant processes: Both Finance and HR have their own sets of employee data—and they seldom agree. There is duplication of effort and the inevitable errors that causes.

Finding the right information at the right time is nearly impossible: You can’t put your hands on accurate data regarding inventory, month-end sales figures, work in process and other essential data when you need it most.

Little or no ability to forecast and plan: Your organization’s strategic and planning division is not equipped to forecast and often relies on conventional methods for future projections.

Your current system is becoming obsolete: ERP wears out. The system you implemented a decade ago can no  longer efficiently support processes and workflows and is impeding the organization’s growth and prosperity.

Over time, ERP systems drift into misalignment with company goals, strategies and tactics. Ultimately, the system becomes more hindrance than help. Most ERP systems last an average of seven to 10 years. It is a fact that systems need to be replaced, or at least evaluated, fairly frequently.

Change is the one thing that stays the same in business. The world is a far different place than it was 10 years ago. Paying for maintenance updates and add-on functionality from your ERP vendor can extend the system for some time, but ultimately, a replacement must be implemented.

Continued in Part 8

An ERP implementation is always a strategic investment for an enterprise. The advantages that an ERP system can provide are too compelling to ignore and, once in place, impossible to imagine going without. Productivity blossom, workflows are streamlined, once onerous processes automated.

ERP Software

ERP ABCs: Back to Basics (Part 7)

Seven indications that your company is ready for an ERP solution

Operating expenses are reduced,  information is more accessible and flows more freely.  On the other hand, the history of ERP is littered with tales of huge unanticipated costs, implementation timelines run amok, and, when all is said and done, no appreciable ROI. It’s the classic risk/reward scenario.  Before undertaking this journey, ask yourself whether your organization can survive the stress test and whether it needs an ERP solution at all. Below are some of the business situations that can inform your decision. If your company organization can relate to these conditions, it might be time to seriously consider implementing an ERP system or replacing the one you have:

Rapid, uncontrolled growth: Sounds like a good problem to have. But if your organization is growing rapid pace, business is probably overwhelming your systems. Perhaps your have opened several new operational units in multiple locations, or complete a large acquisition. How do you cope with a significant increase in volumes of production, processes, and work force?

No timely, accurate visibility into actual performance: Data reflecting reality is becoming elusive, figures harder to trust. There are multiple versions of the truth afoot, and no good way to know which one is right.

Sales and manufacturing are out of sync: There is little coordination between what sales is selling, what the factory is building and what the warehouse have in  inventory.

Redundant processes: Both Finance and HR have their own sets of employee data—and they seldom agree. There is duplication of effort and the inevitable errors that causes.

Finding the right information at the right time is nearly impossible: You can’t put your hands on accurate data regarding inventory, month-end sales figures, work in process and other essential data when you need it most.

Little or no ability to forecast and plan: Your organization’s strategic and planning division is not equipped to forecast and often relies on conventional methods for future projections.

Your current system is becoming obsolete: ERP wears out. The system you implemented a decade ago can no  longer efficiently support processes and workflows and is impeding the organization’s growth and prosperity.

Over time, ERP systems drift into misalignment with company goals, strategies and tactics. Ultimately, the system becomes more hindrance than help. Most ERP systems last an average of seven to 10 years. It is a fact that systems need to be replaced, or at least evaluated, fairly frequently.

Change is the one thing that stays the same in business. The world is a far different place than it was 10 years ago. Paying for maintenance updates and add-on functionality from your ERP vendor can extend the system for some time, but ultimately, a replacement must be implemented.

Continued in Part 8

Sector-specific ERP Modules: These applications support the unique operations required in a vertical industry. Most ERP vendors now segment their product offerings by specific features designed to meet the needs of a particular industry. Unlike the cross industry solution discussed in Part 5, significant product differentiation is present in these industry-specific ERP modules. For example, Manufacturing Execution and Project Management are two popular ERP modules that will vary dramatically from one vertical industry to another and from one vendor to another.

ERP Software

ERP ABCs: Back to Basics (Part 6)

A Product Overview, Continued

Extended ERP Modules: The ERP industry has done a good job of discovering just about all functionality within different organizations that can be automated.  The resulting modules, as they emerged, were seen as extensions of core ERP functionalities, but they really represent ERP’s inevitable span across the enterprise. Many of these modules are now seen as essential, and are among the basic modules implemented in the first iteration of an ERP implementation. Included among them are SCM, CRM, SRM and PLM (see below).

Each ERP system includes administrative ERP functionality that supports all the modules in the ERP system. These include features, such as analytics and reporting, consolidation and compliance, giving the ERP system tools to address business requirements more effectively. The configuration and customization features, for example, permit a company to specify the basic “look and feel” of the ERP package.

An ERP system is an integrated information management system that manages the flow of information among different functional modules in an enterprise.

Other Product Considerations: Beyond functionality, buyers today have multiple delivery options to choose from, including traditional, licensed on-premise solution, a Cloud ERP or “on-demand” solution or an open source solution.

The marketplace has been reinvigorated by those innovative pioneers delivering alternative ERP solutions that provide greater flexibility and more choices for ERP buyers. This is shaking the throat-hold traditional license-based on-premise ERP vendors have had on the market.  It’s widely known that the implementation of an on-premise ERP system can be costly, complex and prone to failure. And in the current, challenging economic environment more and more companies appear willing to consider alternative ERP solutions that can meet their requirements at lower costs. These include “on demand” solutions and open source solutions.

Cloud ERP or “on demand” solutions are run on the computers of a service provider and accessed over the Internet. Users can access these applications wherever they have Web access.  The principal advantages are compelling: faster implementation, regular, no-cost upgrades, no or little upfront capital expenditures and complete scalability. Any organization with limited financial and technology resources is likely to be among the early adopters of Cloud ERP.  However, these solutions are also gaining attention from large enterprises that want to break free from the crushing cost and complexity of traditional ERP.

Open source ERP solutions provide another intriguing alternative to on-premise ERP. Companies can simply download these solutions on the Internet, and customize them as much as they need to. Open source solutions lower upfront costs, but can evolve into systems that are costly to maintain or upgrade.

Continued in Part 7

 

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