InsightaaS: Leading CRM analyst Denis Pombriant, in the excellent Enterprise Irregulars blog site, muses that we may have entered a “post-CRM era.” Users (and vendors), he believes, are now subscribed to a “Church of CRM,” in which those who have adopted CRM as a platform “see great value in applying all of those formerly disparate apps like social, collaboration, and workflow into CRM apps to produce wonderful systems that can anticipate and even recommend courses of action for vendor personnel and customers.”
The problem, Pombriant finds, is that this approach doesn’t support “business as usual” business practices. He believes that “We are in a post-CRM era by my estimate precisely because the old technology can’t keep up with business any more.” It is possible for these new multi-faceted systems to respond to changes in the way that buyers buy, and that sellers sell. However, the systems themselves are powerless if the underlying business activity isn’t tuned to these new market realities; “the post-CRM world,” Pombriant states, “is a process-centric one.” CRM no longer is a system of record for transactions – it is best seen as a system of engagement for a complex set of market activities. Pombriant closes by noting that “the missing element…is leadership,” and by calling on CRM vendors to ensure that their customers reap the benefits of post-CRM capabilities.
Last week’s CRM Evolution conference in New York was interesting for multiple reasons. Most importantly, perhaps, is the perception that the market is moving into a higher gear, slipping past the restraints of a recession that would not quit. Good things are in store for the industry, I think, as buyers step up their games and vendors unleash a passel of new solutions.
There was also no small amount of contention as vendors and analysts jockeyed for position to be remembered as the one who rightly predicted the future first, or perhaps loudest. “CRM is dead,” announced Bob Stutz of Microsoft. He should know because he’s had a strong hand in building CRM first at Siebel, then at SAP, and now for Microsoft. But even if you take Stutz at his word you still need to account for the rubble and debris of a 20-odd billion dollar break up.
The fact is that CRM, or whatever we want to call it these days, is far from dead but it has certainly morphed from the stove-piped applications of fifteen years ago to the social, mobile, collaborative, cloud-based, work-flow infused thing it has become. If that’s what Stutz was thinking, then I concur.
I ventured that we are already in a “post-CRM era” at a breakfast roundtable and, because of this, I think Bob and I are on the same page. The species that we knew long ago have evolved into forms that would be barely recognizable to a time traveler from the turn of the century…