CRM software runs my life

Tag: Business

The Top-Down effect

The org chart shows the culture flow

A company culture is something that is very difficult to describe, let alone create. One of the blogs I read, systematicHR, posted up an interesting response post which covers the top-down flow effect that a CEO has on company culture. I think the closing lines sum it up very nicely:

The CEO absolutely defines culture whether they intend to or not.  HR then further defines what that strategy will look like.

So what are some ways that a CEO can do this? Well I like realestate.com.au‘s approach of having a CEO blog and bi-annual company conferences where the CEO presents the company achievements, strategy and goals. Just engaging in this open communication helps create an open culture, but the real key is in the actual organisational strategy. As the post says, this strategy will directly dictate culture and will change depending on the nature of the business.

Having worked in a sales organisation almost 5 years I would say there is a very fine line between a competitive and a demoralising organisational strategy (and therefore company culture). The nature of sales people and cycles makes this line a fluctuating target. The two biggest things I believe are:

  • Consistency – client spread, discipline, sense of fairness
  • Communication – Competitive but still collaborative (teams help)

In the end I guess the key is to clearly communicate and inspire passion for what you do. People will pick this up whether it is active or passive and positive or negative. The moral of the story is be aware of your influence.

The Rise of CRM

Long’s post about talking to customers sparked my interest due to my current thesis work surrounding CRM packages. It raises a very interesting question, and that is do these companies genuinely not care or are they not capable of caring?

Company communication facesA company can only ‘appear’ to be capable of caring if it has invested in systems that ensure each customer interaction is responded to in the best possible way (for both the customer and the company). This requires a lot of business strategy planning and scripting, often using inputs such as customer surveys, psychologists, marketing managers and front line staff. Getting to know your customer clearly takes a lot of time and effort.

All this planning work is in vain however without a successful implementation. Big companies for many years have invested heavily (millions of $) in packages from SAP and Oracle.

It is only now that small and medium enterprises (SME’s) are investing in this area. This shift has mainly occurred due to 2 things, an increase in customer service quality expectations and a decrease in the implementation cost of CRM software.

To give you an idea of what CRM software is capable of I would suggest watching this demo video. It is tucked away on the Microsoft Dynamics website, but it gives an excellent overview of how a CRM system works.

Microsoft and a number of other providers are making a large scale push into the smaller end of the market. By smaller I definitely mean employee numbers, not value. In Australia the SME market actually represents 92% of businesses and 80% of total business value. As far as developing areas of IT go this is a huge one, and it brings with it a whole load of business analyst, software customisation/integration and many other job opportunities
with it.

The exciting part for me however is not that I will have a career path, but that IT is being recognised as a business driver and competitive advantage rather than a necessarily evil to support a business. The TLA‘s of CRM, SFAERP and logistics areas are leading the way in this area. One day will the CIO always
have a seat at the board table? Will IT staff be recognised and valued as revenue generators and as holders of crucial business knowledge? Sooner or later, time will tell.

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