Gartner warns privacy must come first with CRM

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CRM applications are still being rolled out, but many of those companies that are doing so are embarking on projects without really knowing what they’re going to do with them once they’re up and running. According to research firm Gartner Group, as many as 40 per cent of companies that have installed CRM solutions end up rethinking what their role will be.

The need to balance privacy concerns with personalisation is the biggest concern. This means rethinking how information is gathered, how customers can access and control that data and how enterprises can safeguard it from parties that might want it but shouldn't have it.

Scott Nelson, vice president and research area director for Gartner, warned: "Enterprises will find that customers want to see why all this data is being gathered, and they will expect the CRM experience to reflect intelligent use of personal data. Otherwise, enterprises will not be in a position to ask for the data at all.”

During 2001 CRM –related goals shifted from revenue enhancement to cost reduction. This will continue in 2002, but there will be move towards tactical projects. This will provide a reprieve for the best o f breed vendors, but may impact adversely on the big suite players, although Gartner expects customers will return to them at a later date.

Even though enterprises have focused mainly on the technology aspects of CRM, Gartner expects that in 2002, enterprises will worry more about how to ensure that the entire workforce can use these tools effectively, how to institutionalise best practices, and how to export high levels of customer support to their extended enterprise, including partners and affiliates. Gartner also expects to see new vendors emerging in this area, offering both software and services to assist enterprises in handling this difficult problem.

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