Customer Relationship Management

Executive summary

The aim of business is to attract and maintain customers, to expand its customer base. Despite the reality of this adage, organizations still waste a lot of time and energy handling matters that do not directly add or give value to the customer. Considering the case of a competitor who manages to eliminate all this waste, one who will only undertake those activities that they feel have direct value to the customer. What will deter your customers from becoming loyal consumers to your competitor? Consumer-facing companies have no option but to work extra hard in order to influence the modern empowered customer, so as to make a purchase yet they have a brief transom to do so (Sheth, 2001). Any company that does not follow up with the prospective buyer is missing out on would-be revenue opportunities. Fortunately today’s technologies enable companies to perform virtually every aspect of business by electronic means through a link of their information and communication systems efficiently. This brings an unprecedented change in every aspect of the management of the modern company. The following report highlights the impact that information technology has had on companies in terms of winning and retaining customers. It also addresses the effects of IT on the company structure as well as the inhibitors of the successful deployment of technology solutions in different companies.

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Use of Information technology in winning customers-a case of an effective CRM system

As such, there has been a need for companies to establish a customer relationship management strategy to retain a competitive edge in the market. This involves management of all aspects of a customer’s relationship with an organization, with a view of increasing customer loyalty, and retention, as well as maintaining the company’s profitability. Many companies have had milestone achievements by implementing customer relationship systems (Synnott, 1987). Does it mean that once a company has the necessary technology, then it is on its way to having the much needed CRM? This is beside the point. Customer relationship management is not only a technology but also a strategy. It is a process and business goal that a company ought to incorporate on an enterprise level.

In the modern competitive world, to achieve total customers delight is a process that is fundamental for every company. Companies that are successful are able to achieve long term performance through deployment of CRM. This strategy has enabled companies to have an intriguing insight of their customers and therefore, aiding them in designing products or services that are relevant to the customer expectations and thus ensuring buildup of trust and loyalty thereof. It is undisputed that the internet has been a milestone innovation in the business world. The insurgence of internet-based technologies is having its toll on CRM’s (Synnott, 1987). It is being deployed to market, sell or service customers. What is more, it is also catalyzing a rise in customer familiarity expectations.

Why are customer relationship management systems so important to a company? Though this essay is a detailed report touching different aspects of information technology and their influence in the work place, it is important to note, in a nut crack, some of the benefits that a company can derive from having efficient CRM’s. An effective customer relationship management system enables a company to identify types of customers and therefore design individual customer marketing campaigns (Balzan & Blake , 2010). It also facilitates treatment of customers as individuals as well as knowing their buying behaviors. Business-wise, CRM facilitate better customer service and result to an improvement in call center efficiency. It also makes cross-selling more successful and enables deals or sales to be sealed faster (Sheth, 2001). In addition, CRM simplifies what would otherwise been long processes. The strategy also enables unearthing of new customers and a rise in customer revenues. How is this possible?

The CRM makes a company recognize its most valuable customers through a strategy known as the RFM. The R represents how recent a customer bought goods or received services; the F represents how frequent a customer buys or receives goods and services while the M stands for the monetary value or simply put the customer’s expenditure per procurement (Balzan & Blake , 2010). Having identified the three crucial areas where customer relationship management systems namely regency, frequency and expenditure, the focus of this essay now drifts to the types of CRMS that enable companies to keep this important records. Basically, the CRM technology has evolved through three eras. The first one is that of the reporting technology, the second is the analysis era while the third and the last is the predicting age.

Effects of information technology on company structure

There has been a lot of literature on how better companies can be organized. Such researches and studies enable us to know how information is utilized in the company and to be grateful for the types of transformations that might be created by introducing new technologies. What do managers consider when structuring their companies or organizations? What is the effect of information technology on a company’s structure? To begin with the first question, there are number of factors that managers put into consideration when coming up with a company structure. The first factor is uncertainty (OLW.com, 2011). In the daily running of a company, a manager and his or her company experience a myriad of uncertainties. These may range from uncertainty on whether a newly introduced product or service will be received well in the market or not. Away from the market scene, there also exists uncertainty from the internal management of a company. Top officials may leave the company or other employees perform their duties inadequately. There is enough proof that uncertainty may be remedied by decentralization of decision-making (Synnott, 1987).

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Another factor that is very crucial in determining the structure of a company or organization is specific. A department that handles information systems need to a highly specialized level of technology expertise on its staff than another which performs menial duties, say sweeping. The last factor that should be put into the limelight when determining a company structure is interdependence. The kind of interdependence that exists in a company imparts on the amount of power each unit in a company has. Basically, there exist three major kinds of interdependence in an organization. These include reciprocal, sequential and pooled interdependences (O LW.com, 2011).

Having looked at the factors that influence the decision to adopt a certain structure, it is only fair to shift focus to the effect of information technology on company structure. In a nut crack, the impact of I.T. on the structure of a company can be understood from the way the technology influences the factors considered in determining a company structure. As such, this essay will address how information technology affects the factors that determine the structure of a company. The first factor that was discussed earlier in his paper was flexibility. How does information technology affect flexibility in a company and thus influence its structure? It is important to understand what flexibility is before embarking to understand how information technology affects it. This is the capability to acclimatize in case of a confrontation by un-existing circumstances. A flexible company will defend itself in the face of threats and move swiftly to take advantage of opportunities. Information technology changes the speed of operation of a company and therefore accelerating the capacity of a company to process information (Beede & Montes, 1997). I.T. also changes the working space and time boundaries. Information technology has enabled such services like e-conferences which do not require physical present of the participants.

The accelerating global interdependence and the increasing speed of change have led to the demand of more flexible and adaptive companies (OlW.com, 2011). Since organizational flexibility is viewed from the perspective of adaptability or vulnerability, an efficient information technology decreases vulnerability through reduction of costs of perceived failures as well as facilitating adaptability through the reduction of the cost to adjust.

Inhibitors to successful deployment of I.T innovations and the contexts they have been successful

The successful implementation of information technology in a company or organization is dependent on many factors. For the last few decades, the private sector particularly, has spent more time and effort to come up with a strategy on how best to deploy information technology in companies. Nevertheless, there still exist numerous inhibitors to the implementation process. In that case, what are the inhibitors to the deployment of information technology in companies and where have they being successful? One of the overriding deterrents to the implementation of effective information systems is the lack of a model for the companies to tag along or seek advice from and which is custom-made for their specific needs and issues. Why is a model for the deployment of information technology very crucial? Though no model is a blueprint for a company’s needs, a model is important as it offers a framework tailored to address issues and needs of a specific process which are linked across a company. This inhibitor has been successful in small companies or organizations. One wonders how the small firms cannot afford efficient information systems yet the technological innovations have seen them become relatively cheap.

The question does not lie on affordability. The problem lies in the scenario whereby these companies are purchasing obsolete information technologies. Another probable inhibitor of information technology deployment in companies is the failure of managers to recognize the impact of the innovation to the organization. Where does this neglect lead them? They tend to believe that information technologies are simply operational that were not as crucial as some perceived. The other inhibitor to the effective implementation of information is the popular belief that IT is only crucial when it has a direct impartation to its products (Beaumaster, 2009)If there is no such close link, the company should not be worried in implementing an information system. The other deterrent to deployment of IT in companies is the unwillingness by managers to invest on new technologies and lastly, the short-sightedness of the top management with short term commitment and action instead of planning in long term. The last three inhibitors have been particularly successful in both small and medium-sized firms that do not make use of modern technologies very much.

How technology solutions differ one company to another, market or consumers depending on various reasons

Companies have become increasingly dependent on information technology as a strategic competitive advantage. If well planned and executed, I.T can lead to unfathomable efficiency in the way a company operates, provide improved working conditions as well as efficient decision-making processes (Rahardjo, 2006). As a result, many companies are struggling to cope up with the development gap that exists in the industry by acquiring the appropriate technology. The acquisition of these technologies differs from one company, consumer or market to another. The large number of IT applications is a stipulation of the varied solutions that are available for different companies. Companies acquire technology based on a number of factors. The first of these is the type of problem to be solved. For example, companies go for those technologies that make the manufacturing process faster and more cost efficient. Other companies like the air travel ones opt to technology solutions that enable a close link to its customers and staff (Beaumaster, 2009)

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If the company produces products that have to be marketed, the technology solution it adopts should make the customer relationship management a priority in order to have a customer database showing the purchasing patterns of the customers (Cummings & Worley, 2009). Another factor that influences the type of a technology solution deployed by a particular company is its size. There is no doubt that large companies need sophisticated information systems to manage the large volumes of data at their disposal while small firms can do with less complicated ones. Fiscal predisposition is also important in the process of acquiring a technology solution (Rahardjo, 2006). A company cannot afford to use spend all its revenue on information technology investment and overlook other duties. As such, companies that are relatively stable financially are at a favorable position to acquire more efficient technology solutions than their counterparts.

Conclusion

In conclusion, many factors influence the decision to acquire a company’s technology solution. However, managers should give heed to the interconnection between the company’s business and the IT strategy it wishes to adopt. They should also consider their key competitors in the market in order to benchmark themselves favorably as they endeavor to keep a competitive edge in the world of information technology. This is because the type of solution it deploys will not only affect its internal structure but also its consumers.

References

Balzan, P. L. & Blake , J., 2010. Business driven information systems. Sydney: McGraw Hill Publishers.

Beaumaster, 2009. information and technology implementation issue; ana analysis. Web.

Beede, DN & Montes, SL 1997, Information Technology’s impact on firm structure: A cross Industrial analysis, Web.

Cummings, GT & Worley, C 2009, Organization development and change, Mason, OH, Cengage Learning.

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Open Learning World (OLW).com 2011, The impact of information technology on organization structure. Web.

Rahardjo, E., 2006. Decision making in information technology Acqisition. Web.

Sheth, JN 2001, Customer relationships management: Emerging concepts, tools and applications, New Delhi, McGraw Hill Publishing Company.

Synnott, WR 1987, The Information weapon: Winning customers with technology, Boston, John Wiley &Sons.

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