SMART CRM THROUGH SMART
INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT)
By Bhaskara Reddy Sannapureddy,
Senior Project Manager, Infosys
Trends and Milestones in the Evolution of CRM
Analytics, especially predictive and self-learning adaptive models increasingly mined from Big Data
and leveraged in marketing and sales, and as well as service and support
With the ability to learn from the market as well as customer behavior during a specific customer
interaction, analytics is a useful tool to strategize the Next-Best-Action for a specific customer, taking
into consideration the individual’s background as well as transaction and/or interaction history.
Social networking has also had a profound effect on CRM, as it has given customers a powerful
voice, allowing them to instantly provide feedback (good and bad) and share ideas about products,
services, and companies. Mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) have become a significant channel
With evolved CRM, companies can leverage both the analytics and social networking to deliver
targeted marketing promotions, optimized and automated sales processes, and guided service
Smart Connected World
In conjunction with mobile devices, Smart Devices and Things are increasingly becoming
new channels for digital marketing; up-sell/cross-sell of goods or services; as well as
customer service and support.
From Internet connected kiosks, smart watches, wearables, connected vehicles,
interactive retail goods, or Things such as appliances connected to the Internet – to name
a few - IoT is providing tremendous new opportunities for the customer relationship
management in the digital era. IoT is the most important digitization trend.
All major enterprise initiatives – especially CRM – are being transformed through the
availability of increasingly ubiquitous and intelligent smart connected devices.
IoT Channel for CRM
IoT as an increasingly significant channel combined with the end-to-end digitization of the value
stream that optimizes the connection of the customer to the rest of the digital enterprise is
transformational for CRM!
Future Trends of CRM
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology is NOT
DYING. Apparently it's getting a lifeline from the Internet of
New Edge for CRM
Real time marketing promotions: The mobile channel now provides brands with the opportunity to establish location and context
for their customers. The opportunity to send real-time promotions to customers has never been greater. But these promotions can no longer be
generic and must consider customers’ buying history, preferences and current context.
On-demand pricing: Once a company has established the ability to do on-the-fly promotions, it can then use live data streams to
establish the right pricing at the right time. No longer will price optimization models need to rely on static and statistical assumptions; they can
instead be based on real-time behaviors and events. Pricing for products and services can now be personalized to an individual level.
Next-generation customer service: IoT will considerably improve the customer service experience by using IoT-related data
to do predictive analysis and enable proactive support. Using customer information on status, location, functionality and preferences enables the
prediction of problems. Devices also become self-aware and are now able to fix and maintain themselves.
In-store experiences: Creating fully immersive, omnichannel experiences requires seamless integration between online and brick-
and-mortar experiences. Store associates should know what the customer is looking for when he walks into a store, what his preferences or sizes
are. They should know what he takes into the fitting rooms and be able to suggest additional items in real-time. Banks should know exactly what
type of offers to present him the minute he walks through the door, with the use of iBeacon technology.
Advantages of IOT for CRM Centric Systems
Using IoT, ‘smart’ machines can easily interact with each other through the exchange of data, via an integrated network. From the perspective of a
consumer, this has implications for accessibility, convenience and productivity; for a business, this means an opportunity to capture context-based,
unambiguous data about a potential customer to understand their behavior, which can be used in various ways to improve the general customer
Provides a Customer-Focused Sales Approach: Customers are no longer restricted to engaging with businesses through a
single marketing channel – with the rapid technological advancements occurring on an almost-daily basis, they are becoming
accustomed to seamless transitions between the myriad channels. A customer can go from browsing products in brick-and-
mortar establishments, to checking product reviews on their mobile to ordering the product from their laptop, all within the space
of a few minutes. While the customer is performing these activities, businesses can capture bits of data in real-time, such as
time spent on browsing, product(s) selected, time spent on checking reviews, mode of payment, etc. This information can then
be coupled with existing customer data, which is generally stored and organized in a comprehensive CRM database, to paint a
complete picture of the customer – average spends, frequency of purchases, product preferences, and so on. All of this
becomes possible because a business can capture and record data that is generated by customers’ devices through the
Internet, and this allows them to modify and personalize the price of their offerings on the fly.
Advantages of IOT for CRM Centric Systems …Contd
Allows for Real-Time Marketing : Conventional marketing techniques relied on historical data and statistical
predictions to target the customers. With IoT, businesses can fine-tune and personalize their messages in real-time by
obtaining a context from their customers. This can be in various forms, ranging from location data, purchase history, and
even comments and posts on social media platforms.
Facilitates Self-service : Through the utilization of IoT, businesses are now equipped with automated tools that allow
them to be proactive when dealing with service requirements from their customers, all without directly engaging with
them. Businesses can now monitor the health of their customers’ devices in real-time, with hardware information being
fed to a central tracking database; if a customer’s smartphone battery is starting to fail, a replacement service can be
set up at a convenient time before they face an issue; if a car engine component is near the end of its life, a
maintenance service can be automatically scheduled and notified to the customer. These automated, self-service
activities allow a business to maintain a personal relationship with their customers and lets them know that they are
being cared for actively. This has paramount value in boosting customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, and creates the
right business image in their mind.
IOT Creates more Opportunities for CRM
1. Rich and contextual data: IoT generates significant quantities of data. Within the proper context data turns into valuable business
information about customer’s needs, behaviors, location or patterns. CRM can take advantage of this information to anticipate
opportunities and create specific tailored service to each customer but powerful analytical capabilities must be assured. Cloud services
such as the ones provided by Microsoft Azure, ORACLE, SALESFORCE are important to facilitate the connection of different sources
and devices across platforms and to provide advanced analytics capabilities.
2. Real-Time Interaction: IoT provides real time interaction. This demands more from CRM regarding workflows and
process automation in order to improve lead-times and increase customer´s satisfaction.
3. Predictive Service: sensors, chips or tags built into IoT devices can detect potential problems and trigger
maintenance request, reshaping warranties and SLAs and allowing the monitoring of the device’s performance. The
traditional business scenario of an agent receiving an inbound call and opening a case on CRM will leave the stage for
events generated from connected devices, triggering workflows, notifications and outbound calls if necessary.
IOT Creates more Opportunities for CRM …Contd
4. Support for marketing and sales: as companies became able to know how and where customers are using the
products that have been purchased, marketing strategies can incorporate more accurate and timely data about
customer´s needs and behaviors. CRM should be able to transform insight into action. Besides CRM should be
proactive when the product is approaching the end of its lifecycle and needs renewing.
5. Value-added services: IoT has the potential to increase de services offered on top of each product and turn these
services a key differentiator between obsolete and innovative products. This transforms the way we market, sell and
support or products. Traditionally most business models relied just on the supply chain integration with suppliers in
order to sell products. Companies used to know nothing about their products besides sales values, at least until a
warranty is activated. Who bought it? When or where? How are it being used? IoT unlocks new business models with
value-added services demanding customers to register with the product to be eligible for warranties and other
services. Therefore the brands are relying more on contacts with final customers and CRM are mandatory for that
IOT Creates more Opportunities for CRM …Contd
6. Cost of operations: as the price of IoT technology continue to decline, IoT will cut the cost of operations. If
we consider that an inbound agent from a contact center can hardly answer 100 calls per day, IoT not only
contributes to eliminate bottlenecks as it can reduce a lot those costs with support. A recent research published
on The Economist, argue that call center agent is the nº1 job threatened with 99% of chances of being
eliminated by technology in 20 years. CRM should be able to support easy integrations with IoT ready devices
and friendly configurations of all information flows.
CRM is critical to exploit the opportunities with IoT. For those companies that are selecting now a CRM system
but not fell ready for IoT yet, my advice is that you should select a solution that don’t limit your moves in a
Use Case Demos
1. Opencell IoT Use Case Demo - Dynamics CRM
2. Toyota connects people and cars with Salesforce:
Some use-cases that demonstrate how the IoT can be leveraged to drive deeper customer
relationships and loyalty:
Combine usage behavior with other customer history to predict and prevent churn
Recognize buying behavior to adjust merchandising and align with local preferences
Deliver customized offers at the perfect moment (e.g., when a customer enters a store)
Manage inventory volume based upon demand and purchases
Understand product usage and trends to improve future product development efforts
Potential IoT Challenges
The Internet of Things brings a lot of great potential for ERP, CRM, and the manufacturing industry; however, it
also brings many challenges. Below are a few potential problems that the IoT may bring:
Data security will likely be the biggest pressure point when it comes to the IoT. While IoT welcomes more data
to the use of manufacturers, it also opens the door for more data to be breached, specifically with mobile
devices or wearable tech. As a newer technology solution, IoT users will need to be able to find a way to
secure large amounts of data from sources such as mobile
The cost of adding IoT will probably be a major initial investment, something that many small to mid-size
manufacturers just won’t be able to do.
Analysis of data from IoT is still relatively weak, meaning that manufacturers still have to manually parse
through large amounts of information.