CRM Product DNA – What has changed

Implementation of CRM COTS products is a lengthy and time consuming activity”.if some one would have told this to me in 2008 i would have agreed and also provided logic for the long solution period. I was involved in one of the largest siebel ePharma implementations for one of the top 10 pharma company in Europe. The program was implemented for multiple markets in Europe and Canada over a period of 4 years. I still consider this as one of the highlight of my career as CRM consultant. The product that was finally implemented during the program was customized to the Nth degree to meet the complex business process and enhance the effectiveness of the field force. 

So what was the mantra? The mantra was to create a product that can accommodate complex business scenarios, will be scalable and ready to scale up with the business. This was the time when Siebel was considered as a benchmark in CRM. Companies invested Millions to create CRM solutions that were meant to provide efficiency and help the end user in following a standard business process. Success was relative and still being debated.

Over the last few months, i have come across multiple instances where some of my clients are revisiting their CRM strategy, specially w.r.t product/platform/solution. Organizations are evaluating various products (Oracle CRM on Demand,Veeva,SFDC,MS Dynamics,SAP,CD)  creating revised vision and engaging stakeholders(internal & external) to create the overall CRM solution. So what has changed and what will happen to the years of investment that went in creating the “Best Solution”.

The  business ecosystem has changed and is continuously evolving. This has put pressure on the internal IT teams of these organizations to provide a solution to business that can cope with this changing dynamics. The business teams have taken control and are now making decision pertaining to the product/platform. Current business needs a solution that can not only adapt to the change but also enable that change quickly. To meet these needs there are a bunch of solutions that are available in the market, Analyse and Choose.

I have had the opportunity to look at some of these solutions closely. All these have their own pros and cons. One can get a full blown analysis from any of these product sites. My interest is not to lay down a comparative analysis of these products,but to provide the commonality that i was able to find in all these products w.r.t product development.

My observation is that all these products/solutions have two guiding principles when it comes to the overall product development:

  • Simple answers to  Complex Business Scenarios : During Siebel days, there was no end to customization to accommodate complex business scenarios.I have come across such implementations were the application was so customized that we suggested the clients to do a fresh implementation on the enhanced version rather than trying to upgrade. We were trying to create complex systems to accommodated complex business scenarios. The new solutions team asked a basic question to themselves, ” Is it necessary to have a complex answer to a complex question?” Commonsense will say NO and this is what they used as one of their guiding principles in designing these solutions. These applications are capable of handling complex business scenarios, but many times the way that is handled is not only simple but also logical. These solutions have forced the business and implementation teams to think creatively and outside and inside the box. The mantra is to keep things simple so that it does not take ages to tweak the solution as per the business needs. Remember we are creating a solution to aid business and not the business itself.

  • Leverage existing investment of the customer : In past creating a new application to solve a business problem was common. Organizations as well as System Integrators never looked at leveraging the existing systems/investments to solve the problem. This has resulted in complicating the overall application landscape. These new solutions  again questioned this approach and looked at existing investments to design solutions. Using Microsoft office Excel as the platform to create offline versions of solutions demonstrate the willingness and commitment of these new solutions towards creating long term value and shorter ROI. 

These new products, irrespective of the stable(Oracle,MS,SFDC) they come from have demonstrated these two principles. My opinion is that these products will still evolve, but will surely maintain the above mentioned DNA


About Amitesh Srivastava
I have over eight years' experience in IT and Business Consulting. I have been involved in business analysis, consulting and client management for reputed clients across life sciences domain, and possess good understanding of various commercial systems managing pharma sales and marketing processes

2 Responses to CRM Product DNA – What has changed

  1. Prabhu says:

    Super Artcile!! Thoughi iam not into your domain fully, I can appreciate the Crux you have mentioned in the article which is UNIVERSAL for any business solution which the client wants in today’s world.

    And in light of the Grwoing Technological Advancement, the “Obsoleteness” is one word which can’t be avoided in any Business Solutions, especially in CRM etc!

    I recall the class room Mantra “Change the Only Constant thing in the world” is proved above and it will be proved for years to come and notging will be a COMPLETE SOLUTION ALWAYS!! My thought/words of putting it is….Well, IT CAN BE A COMPLETE SOLUTION FOR A GIVEN TIME PERIOD!!!

    The Future will decide that FATE always! Thanks to variuos advancements in both Technology and the way WORLD Changes!!

    Very nice article…Keep sharing!
    Best Wishes!!

    • amitesh1978 says:

      Hey Prabhu,

      Thanks for your comment. Appreciate. Tou are correct in mentioning that change is something that is constant. Will request your thoughts on the other articles also..



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