The Gartner view of CRM from La Rive Gauche, Paris

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Gartner Group's 6th CRM Conference was held in Paris last week (7th & 8th June) at the Sofitel Rive Gauche. No, unfortunately your correspondent was not able to be there, but Gartners have kindly allowed us to publish two impressive papers from the two-day conference.

The two-day conference covered four major strands relating to CRM. Firstly a track aimed at senior executives covering strategic CRM issues, outlining why you need to consider CRM as a strategy and helping you evaluate how ready you are for CRM and how your organisation will need to change to become customer-centric. Secondly, at the management level, a series of sessions aimed at exploring the advantages of implementing CRM at the enterprise level, how to measure benefits, where to get help, and how to achieve co-ordinated implementation. Of course, it is not really possible to understand CRM without understanding the relevant technology so a track covered technology for technicians including CIO's IT strategists and Architects. Finally, one of our own particular bugbears, CRM implementation, was covered in the fourth track.

Gartner Group have kindly allowed the CRM-Forum to publish two of these papers, and you can find more details of them below. Please note that, at Gartner's request, these documents are being published in a slightly different way than our usual approach. Firstly, you will be unable to download either of the documents, and secondly they will only remain in the library for two months (till mid-August), so if you're interested in either of the papers we recommend that you look at them now.

The first paper we're publishing is by Ed Thompson (VP Research Director, Customer Relationship for Gartners) and provides the Gartner perspective on Customer Relationship Management. You can find it at: Customer Relationship Management: The Gartner Perspective.

Ed covers a lot of ground:

A CRM initiative is a dangerous endeavour for most enterprises. The potential causes of failure are high as expectations, leadership, politics, technology and applications vendors conspire to trip up those tasked with delivering "the project". Moreover, most CRM initiatives provide little or no benefit to the customer. However, the rewards are great for the enterprise with a successful CRM program with improved profitability, greater customer satisfaction and retention and improved sales per customer. This session unfolds Gartner's view of CRM, defines a structured approach to CRM and describes areas of focus which benefit both the enterprise and customer.

  • How are enterprises capitalizing on the changes in customer relationships brought about by the Internet economy?
  • What is CRM, how will it evolve and what drivers are emerging to force its adoption?
  • How should enterprises balance the requirements of the external customer experience with the internal demands for greater organizational collaboration?

If you've been following the CRM-Forum's editorials recently (e.g. 6 major impediments to change and how to overcome them) you'll know that we are concerned about the CRM implementation issues. Gartner's second paper, CRM Program Management: The Art of Change, by Jennifer Kirkby (Research Director, Customer Relationship) is the best paper we've yet seen on how to address CRM implementation issues. I am sure our judgement is by no way coloured by the fact that we made a very minor contribution to its development!

Typically the implementation of a CRM strategy is a combination of project and ongoing operations. However, this approach lacks organisational co-ordination - resulting in higher costs, underachievement of benefits and little change to the ways people work and think. Program management provides a framework for defining the scope and phases of a CRM implementation, linking CRM initiatives, overcoming political barriers, and getting buy in, as well as managing costs and benefits.
Again, don't forget that both these presentations will only be available for the next two months on the site, so if they are of any interest to you, please read them now, using the links below:
Customer Relationship Management: The Gartner Perspective
CRM Program Management: The Art of Change

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