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CRM in the Adaptive Enterprise CRM Must Adapt to Evolving Business Priorities A R T i C l eEvolutionary Considerations Businesses change, so CRM technology must be adaptable. From regulatory changes to mergersIt’s important to choose a flexible CRM and acquisitions, every shift in the external business climate can require corresponding moves insolution. Flexible architecture and platform strategy and business processes. Businesses need technology infrastructures that can respond totechnology marks the difference between rapid change.adaptable, competitive organizations andinflexible, slower-moving organizations. Just as some consumers prefer modular furniture that can be expanded and contracted toRegulatory pressures and evolving re-configure a physical space, the ability of mid-sized companies to re-configure processes quicklypermission-based marketing principles will through flexible technology can be a competitive advantage.cause some companies to struggle andcobble together solutions in spite of their One approach to creating a CRM solution involves envisioning every possible feature, function, andsystems. business rule that an organization might ever require over its lifetime, and then delivering it out-of- the-box. Vendors who’ve taken this approach have produced CRM solutions that are cumbersomeForward-thinking and agile enterprises willselect flexible CRM to move them forward, and inflexible.and might view the need to address regulatory Instead of trying to envision every possible feature and business rule, Pivotal CRM provides a set ofrequirements as an opportunity to renovatetheir systems. building blocks that can be assembled to support unique business processes and solutions. These building blocks consist of product architecture and platform technology. The Pivotal CRM solutionsKey questions to consider: for sales, marketing, service, and channel management, as well as our industry-specific solutions,• Are your market conditions stable or derive their flexibility from the strength of these building blocks. dynamic? For many of our customers, this has provided the agility they need to connect with their clients and• Will you need to change the way you to link systems and applications inside and outside the company, as well as the flexibility to adapt do business to keep up or outpace the competition? to changing business requirements.• What is your plan to keep up with regulatory Customization Versus Configuration pressures in your industry? In general, there are two measures of CRM flexibility: configurability and customizability. Each• What technology infrastructure is needed to of these has its own distinct merits, despite the fact that the industry often uses the terms support new systems, new data sources, interchangeably. and new users?• Can all important and relevant customer Configuration lets even non-technical users make changes to the application or the user interface, information be collected and combined typically without programming. For example, users can select pre-determined security settings, within this technology infrastructure? change interface preferences, or define sales territories. Configuration is restrictive in that configuration settings are limited to a range of pre-defined possibilities. As a result, organizations can only model their business processes within the limits of the configuration settings delivered by the vendor. This “sandbox” solution is valid if and only if your vendor understands your business better than you do. For more complex configurations, such as end-to-end business processes, a business analyst can be employed to configure each module within the overall CRM application. Customization lets companies model unique business processes by modifying an application or template through system-level properties or programming code. For example, a sales process to manage RFPs or RFIs could be modeled by adding tables and code to customize an application. Customization, when done properly, allows organizations to “redefine the sandbox” by supporting their existing business processes (no matter how complex), or even creating new ones. Making it easy to customize a CRM application is one of our core differentiators. Through a combination of configuration and customization, Pivotal CRM solutions can be modeled to any business process, while configuration settings are limited appropriately to areas such as allowing sales managers to change a sales process by editing milestones, or allowing users to personalize display preferences. The Pivotal CRM Approach The Pivotal CRM Suite is unique in combining a flexible platform with key out-of-the-box features, resulting in an architecture that is as easy to customize as it is to configure. A customizable CRM application supports changes in both underlying data definitions and business-process rules without requiring alteration of source code, binaries, or runtime environments. Adaptable CRM Architecture The Pivotal CRM architecture is “metadata-driven,” which means customer data is isolated from the business rules that describe how data is used. A metadata-driven approach to architecture makes Pivotal CRM | Article
it easy to change both how and what data is presented, Interfaces) for Visual Basic and VB Script applicationmodified, distributed, or accessed. New database tables can developers to customize against, as well as providing supportbe added, for example, and business rules that describe for .NET scripting, with the ability to write new server scripts inworkflows can be altered. Other systems can be integrated, C#, VB.NET, and other .NET languages.security settings can be modified, and even the look ofthe application can be tailored for different users. Not all DeployabilityCRM solutions can be customized like this. For some CRM The implementation of a CRM system rarely comprises thesolutions, customer data and the rules that describe it are largest cost in any CRM deployment. As business goals andinextricably linked together, forcing a business to operate the processes change or become more refined in response to theway the technology does. changing marketplace and competition, the CRM deployment needs to evolve in lock-step. To faciliate this ability to moveBuilt to leverage .NeT with the organization, CRM systems must be implementedPivotal CRM’s metadata-driven architecture is designed on with the foresight to allow for post-implementationthe .NET framework—significantly decreasing the time and configuration and/or customization without disrupting day-to-effort needed to integrate CRM with enterprise applications day business.and data, both within and across business boundaries..NET enables both new and existing applications to connect Most CRM vendors deliver support for offline test andwith software and services across platforms, applications, development systems, allowing customers to create,and programming languages using standard Web Services implement, and test customizations/configurations beforeprotocols (XML, SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI). This facilitates moving them into production. Some systems require thatthe ability of Pivotal CRM to integrate with Web Services, and customers re-implement the changes they’ve made to theirprovides the ability to quickly build, deploy, manage, and use test system (code line by code line) on their productionconnected, secure solutions. Companies can extend their system.existing infrastructure more quickly in the way they see fit. By comparison, Pivotal CRM provides a push-button implementation method: customizers centrally modify theA Graphical Customization Toolkit Pivotal CRM system and move customizations from an offlineCustomizations are performed within the Pivotal CRM development system into production with a single commandgraphical customization toolkit, an easy-to-use visual tool that called a UFO, or Upgrade From Offline.enables rapid customization to meet business needs. Familiarmetaphors such as forms, tables, lists, and queries—the The Right CRM Architecture Makes Youkey elements that customizers interact with—are designedto be intuitive for customizers to use and learn. Pivotal CRM Adaptableprovides an elegant, uncomplicated framework for how these For complex organizations that require robust sales,metaphors interact with each other to create functionality. marketing, service, and channel management capabilities, being able to customize a CRM solution is essential. TheseCustomizers work with forms, which are the visual companies need to model unique business processes, andrepresentation of CRM data, business processes, and they often have to integrate a CRM solution with other existingworkflow that the user sees on their client. Forms contain enterprise applications. For CRM software, flexibility is athe database structure—every field on a form is, by default, function of how easily the software can be customized andlinked to a table in the database. To modify a form to meet integrated. This flexibility is determined, or constrained, by thethe needs of users, customizers lay out the form directly software’s underlying architecture.using point-and-click buttons and other screen elements.Customizations are then saved as metadata, not as code or Centra (USA)rigid table extensions. Centra, a leading provider of specialized software and services for online business collaboration, has embracedFor example, creating a simple customer contact form CRM across all customer-facing aspects of its business,requires the customizer simply to link the new form to the automating its sales, marketing, and service departments.corresponding database element, lay out the form using our Centra’s director of business systems, Todd Williamson,graphical form designer, and register the new form with the describes Pivotal CRM as a “springboard” for their ongoingnavigation menu. All this is done without needing to write a service and support strategy. He says, “(The Pivotal CRM)single line of code. If a new table is required for this form, architecture allows us to more quickly adapt our technology toPivotal CRM has graphical tools to allow the customizer to ever-changing business needs.”quickly build new tables into the system. Using Pivotal CRM, in conjunction with CDC MarketFirst,This powerful WYSIWYG model for customization makes the Centra manages all marketing projects and campaigns;process easy, rapid, and intuitive. Pivotal CRM provides form provides opportunity management and forecastingtemplates out-of-the-box with logic and rules built in. In this support for sales; delivers incident tracking and support-way, the customizer role can be filled by any business analyst, contract management to the support department; offers abecause no code-level changes are required. knowledgebase for all employees; and, provides the product-To ensure customizers have a full range of options for how development group with customer enhancement requests andthey prefer to work, the Pivotal CRM team makes available technical-issue management.a comprehensive library of APIs (Application Programming Pivotal CRM | Article
Asked what aspects of their business they use Pivotal CRM Compliance Can Present New Opportunitiesfor, Williamson says, “It’s probably easier to define what Evolving regulatory-compliance requirements in every industrywe don’t use it for.” He adds, “Today Centra has the most mean that businesses have to assess and report on moremaintainable and extensible architecture to move our CRM internal controls. Rather than implementing stand-aloneapplication forward. As business rules change, we now have applications that support each regulation, more businessesthe lowest total cost of development and administration are investing in technology applications that not only enhanceenvironment within which to grow our internal systems and their ability to comply, but further improve efficiency.processes.” Of course, there are a slew of federal and industry regulations.eSRi (USA) California Senate Bill 800 (SB800) gives homebuilders theFor ESRI, CRM was about creating a centralized company right to fix problems that may occur in a new home beforeknowledgebase to bring together everything ESRI “knew” the homeowner can file a lawsuit. AMA’s Council on Judicialabout a given customer. ESRI wanted their solution to give and Ethical Affairs publishes guidelines to help physiciansthem a better way to serve an ever-growing customer base, and industry representatives make ethical decisions regardingwhich now includes most U.S. federal agencies, national the appropriateness of gifts. Sarbanes-Oxley protectsmapping agencies, 45 of the top 50 petroleum companies, shareholders and the general public from accounting errorsU.S. state health departments, and most forestry companies. and fraudulent practices.ESRI’s director of sales operations, Jeff Peters, explains, “We There’s an opportunity for companies to leverage investmentshave always been very customer-driven. The problem was in CRM to automate and otherwise improve their businessfinding a system that could support this customer-driven processes, as well as comply with regulations. In financialcompany approach, and then re-engineering our approach to services, for example, organizations face multitudes ofdata to architecturally support that solution.” compliance issues. Gram-Leach Bliley (or PIPEDA in Canada) regulates how customer information is handled, used, and“Customization is the strength of Pivotal CRM —that’s why we shared by companies. Regulatory bodies such as the SEC orchose it,” adds Peters. “It’s the fact that Pivotal CRM offers NASD have their own regulations; for example, tracking gift-a rapid development environment and highly customizable giving to asset managers, and disclosing of affiliations andsystem. We would never have gotten out of the gate if we had interactions with analysts and reported companies.a pre-canned system that forced us to tell people that theyhad to change the way they do things. People do things often These key compliance issues are addressed by the Pivotalbecause that’s the way that it needs to be done. People are CRM financial services applications, which can track andsmart and want to feel like they are influencing things, so if report on: use of customer information, gifts to brokers foryou come in with a top-down sledgehammer, you might as fund wholesalers, interactions with clients (phone calls,well uninstall the software from the system because they’re meetings, e-mails, etc.), analyst relationships with reportednot going to use it.” companies and officers, and the influences these parties may have upon each other.Allianz Dresdner Asset Management (United Kingdom) Around the world, there is pressure from regulators toAimed at improving the service and value they provide incorporate permission-based marketing practices in allto both institutional and retail clients, Allianz Dresdner customer and prospect contact. The companies that buildAsset Management has benefited from the flexibility and successful relationships with customers and prospects notcustomizability of the Pivotal CRM system, using it to more only align themselves to incorporate privacy safeguards,tightly integrate their marketing and sales functions. “It would but also to gather and use information in a way that setshave been an easy option to go down the off-the-shelf or them apart from their competition. These companies arepackaged-application route, but this would not have served finding ways to tailor marketing practices to deliver targeted,the needs of our business well in the long term,” explains personalized messages that put the right offer in front of theGiles Hardy, head of e-business at Allianz Dresdner Asset right person at the right time, ideally using the medium ofManagement. choice.“By working closely with the Pivotal CRM team in the UK,we have been able to take a phased approach to the FPDSavills (United Kingdom)development and implementation of a comprehensive CRM At a time when both the commercial and residential propertysolution which we expect to continue to serve our needs markets were experiencing considerable growth, the boardacross both sides of our business. We recognized the value at FPDSavills made a strategic decision to centralize allthat a highly responsive CRM system could bring to our IT systems. Their goal was to reduce IT operating andbusiness, enabling us to open up the lines of communication management costs, drive improved customer service,and interaction between what were previously distinct and comply with new legislation that required property-business information silos.” management organizations to furnish full audit trails on all mortgage services provided to their clients.Hardy adds, “The investment management business is veryspecific, detailed, and highly complex. Due to the flexibility Driven by the need to comply with the new regulations,and customization capabilities of the Pivotal CRM technology, coupled with the need to provide a highly personalized andwe have been able to adapt the system to meet these needs.” responsive service to their clients, FPDSavills developed a Pivotal CRM | Article