A Quick Overview of CRM Software Advancements in 2012

When one speaks about Customer Relationship Management (CRM), the primary objective it is supposed to serve is to assist organisations in better management of customer relations and get a firm hold on customer satisfaction. However, when the CRM products are designed in ways which hamper ease in use and application, the core CRM objectives are far from achieved.

A technical analyst of a well known research firm pinpoints this fact. Realizing the same, CRM vendors are now offering solutions where streamlined user interface along with ease of use have been ingrained as default characteristics in any CRM software offering and upgrade.

Bearing in mind specific needs of the makers on one side, and users/audience on the other, CRM applications can include a whole range of productive attributes including marketing management, sales management, customer service management, social media management and analytics.

Some major advancements seen in 2012
Advanced Business Analytics Tools inculcated in CRM Product Packages
Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group, opines that users are always eager to figure out what exactly is going on with their customers – an excellent way to dish out that knowledge is analytics.

In recent times, there are a whole range of new business products that include business analytics in their offered feature sets by default. Particularly with respect to CRM products, there has been a major thrust in this aspect.

The Enderle Group profiled a company in August, 2012. This organisation provides media marketers and buyers with lead generation software. Recently, CRM functionality was added to its line of services, along with additional software that served as a search engine as well as analytics platform for digital online advertisements. This smart integration offered a huge advantage to media planners and buyers – they were able to view in real time all the ads that were running online for particular brands. Analytics tools are increasingly being built into CRM systems as a necessary value addition. These tools enhance advertisement display information and also boost social media acumen.

In 2012, CRM vendors introduced new ‘service experience’ platforms which integrated CRM functionality with analytics, BPM, knowledge management and social listening. These applications do a thorough cleansing of the client’s social media landscape and retain only the most relevant conversations. Following this, the conversations are rated on the basis of sentiments in accordance with the set company rules. Finally, all the comments are routed to the service modules for relevant action.

Cloud Computing
The last year saw most CRM providers whole heartedly embracing cloud computing in their scheme of things. Charles King (Pund-IT, principal) pointed out that CRM has been a specifically positive proof point for cloud computing. He adds that even though cloud doesn’t necessarily fit well into all areas of computing, CRM is most definitely an area where cloud-based service providers are a rule rather than exception.

Ease in Use
In the past, CRM used to be cumbersome and included some complex applications that did not offer ease-of-use. 2012 became the year where these issues were taken care of as well.

“CRM providers have particularly watched out for streamlined functionality and ease of use in the CRM solutions offered by them” – says L. DiDio, principal of ITIC.

She is also of the opinion that the main focus of CRM solutions must be to enable organisations in bettering customer relationships and enhancing customer satisfaction levels. Using CRM software must be free from complexity in order to achieve the same. Now, CRM vendors are putting in efforts towards making search engines better, and designing applications in a way that syncing with Outlook or Lotus Notes becomes easier. Therefore, along with ease of use and streamlined user interface, intuitive has now become an added adjective for new CRM software solutions.

In the initial years when CRM solutions were just introduced, the major hitches were cumbersome administration, insufficient business analytics, and complexity of systems along with unfriendly user interfaces. Along with the passage of time when it came to surface that CRM systems need to be freed from complication in operations for smoother functioning, the glitches were gradually ironed out and finally 2012 saw fairly hassle free CRM systems and solutions. In the next few years, organization looking to implement CRM solutions will find they can be administrated and customized through user friendly interfaces without the assistance of additional IT personnel and expensive hardware.