Monday, February 28, 2011

Are e-Technologies such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) changing how Organizations Market, Sell, and Provide Customer Service for their Products and/or Services?

Are e-Technologies such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) continuing to change the ways that organizations market, sell, and provide customer service for their products and services? According to (Ross, 2005) Yes! In fact, (Ross, 2005) describes and provides some of the main functions of most CRM programs. CRM has three essential responsibilities (1) Marketing; (2) Sales, and (3) Service and collectively these three functions can help an organization improve on the best ways to provide its customers with better and/or expanded relationships, which in turn usually result in additional company profits. CRM has been around for quite some time but over the last several years, CRM programs have continued to be one of the hottest segments, as they continue to evolve due to the growing popularity of the internet and new computerized toolsets. As a result of these advances organizations are continuing to use new CRM programs to create even more visibility of their products and services, while attracting, retaining, and enhancing new and/or existing customer bases.

It can be argued that sales is the most important function of a CRM program but how can this be when the program is not the one who actually makes the sale? Thus, (Ross, 2005) suggests that a salesperson’s role should become even more important than before, as CRM programs advance and more sales professionals develop more defined and mutually supportive relationships between their companies, with suppliers, and customers. This now changing sales force paradigm, assisted by CRM programs will more than likely continue to broaden both selling and buying habits of all small to large organizations in the years ahead. For that reason (Ross, 2005) further defines the major components and functionalities of CRM and Sales Force Automation (SFA)

(1) Contact Management- one of the first components of CRM, which enables a company to manage prospect information, while providing follow-up and tracking information
(2) Account Management- this segment allows employees and managers useful ways to effectively market products to that of customer wants
(3) Sales Management- this tool was designed to help employees keep track of a set of sales activities in order to promote sales, while providing reminders and greater productivity
(4) Opportunity Management- this segment is often referred to as the pipeline of potential customers that highlights a new opportunity, those involved, potential revenue, and proposed closing date for a product or service
(5) Quotation Management- this component assists individuals in the configuration of pricing, inventory, and process availability for a prospective customer
(6) Knowledge Management- tools that assist in the standardizing and automation of the sales process where information such as policies, presentation materials, contracts, etc. can be stored and used for further analysis and reporting

Once a company understands some if not all of these segments, which are important to their continued long-term growth they will be more equipped to handle any problems that may occur after a sale. Once considered a drain on profitability of a company’s revenues, customer service through investments in programs such as CRM has now become a necessity that creates growth, hence a vital link between an organization and other supply chain processes. (Ross, 2005) leaves readers with six metrics developed by (Giffler, 1998; Pechi, 2000):
• On average a company will lose half its customers over a 5-year timeframe
• If a company reduces defections by 5%, then they could boost profits from 25-85%
• An organization typically spends 5x more on customer acquisition than on retention
• 65-85% percent of customers who defect do so without being dissatisfied with their former supplier
• A completely satisfied customer is 6x more likely to make an additional purchase than a satisfied customer
• Happy customers tend to tell five people about their experience versus a dissatisfied customer who will tell at least 9

Over the last few weeks, I have continued my examination of CRM, which is an important element of SCM, enhanced business performance, and long-term growth. Much like the previous works examined (Ross, 2005) does an excellent job at defining some of the main reasons that leaders need to consider and develop this element when constructing a long-term strategic plan. In the changing landscape of business and supply chain processes technology that assists employees with buying, selling, etc. will do nothing but improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness, while providing additional resources that allow more interaction with customers and the marketplace. Therefore, CRM has and will continue to be my emphasis of analysis over the next several weeks, as I continue to develop a niche subject for business leaders to consider in finding a better way to manage and utilize collected data to their advantage, which is part of the larger part of my Doctoral research.

Of course any opinions, suggestions, or thoughts as to the importance of this or other supply chain concepts is also appreciated, as I continue to look for the most effective ways to build sales, increase awareness, and create additional long-term growth for SMEs and MNCs alike!

Ross, D. F. (2005). E-CRM from a supply chain management perspective. Information Systems Management, 22(1), 37.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Advanced Planning Systems (APS) as a Supply Chain Optimization Tool?

Throughout the last decade, organizational leaders have continued to look for the best solutions to help solve many organizational procurement, production, marketing, administration, sales, etc. problems. As a result of such exploration, many technological systems have been developed to help organizational leaders plan strategically for many unknown future occurrences. In a recent article (Jonsson, Kjellsdotter, & Rudberg, 2007) discussed one such process termed “Advanced Planning Systems (APS)” (i.e. often referred to as supply chain optimization software, as it helps create near optimal organizational plans); which, in turn, helps solve some of the organizational problems and supply chain issues mentioned earlier and in previous posts. By explaining the importance of advanced planning systems and/or software (Jonsson, et al., 2007) focused their analysis on five specific variables (1) Complex planning environment, (2) Design and planning model, (3) Data planning, (4) Organizational planning, and (5) Effective planning. From the five identified variables, a framework developed and a conclusion followed, which highlighted the effects these variables played on the long-term functionality of an organization and different supply chain channels. From the empirical evidence gathered, the identified variables, their relation to supply chain optimization, and the model, (Jonsson, et al., 2007) recommended, several further directions researchers could take in expanding upon their work in order to fill any potential gaps, which are as follows. (1) What possibilities do advanced planning systems play in different organizational planning activities? (2) How does the developed model optimize organizational performance? (3) Can the data collection process effect advance planning systems, what other methods might be implemented? (4) How can an organization achieve positive planning throughout the supply chain and integrate these positive approaches into their daily structures?

It is no secret that in today’s rapidly changing business environment, organizations are continuing to examine different ways that they can grow relationships and improve efficiency with suppliers, their customers, and employees. (Jonsson, et al., 2007) purposed Advanced Planning Systems as a concept and analyzed its effects in three model companies. Although the study focused mainly on supply chain effectiveness and procurement, after the research the authors were able to conclude that this concept is easily transferable and can be used as a support tool, or help solve other issues in other parts of most organizations. Therefore, it only makes sense that when leaders discuss the different ways to enhance organizational systems (i.e. SCM, CRM, ERP, EDI, etc) that they should consider tactical or strategic systems such as APS. In turn, those researchers that are interested in a model that will help develop strategic and/or tactical planning processes in software implementation throughout an organization they should also consider APS.

APS is yet another important tool available to organizational leaders in order to make better purchasing decisions, or forecasts, while developing better ways to plan and schedule throughout the supply chain. This is my first report on APS but like the other concepts (i.e. SCM, ERP, CRM, and EDI) that I have been discussing is an important topic for me to expand upon, as I continue to seek the most effective methods for supply chain optimization through technological innovations. Therefore, in the weeks and months ahead I will continue to dive into this topic more, well reporting my findings in hopes of other expert opinions. Nevertheless, if you have some please share, as this is the best way to learn! Until then and as usual keep smiling!

Jonsson, P., Kjellsdotter, L., & Rudberg, M. (2007). Applying advanced planning systems for supply chain planning: three case studies. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 37(10), 816.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) as a Complement for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Supply Chain Management (SCM)

Although many of the technological advancements occurring within Supply Chain Management (SCM) are still considered by many to be in their infant stage(s) (Bendoly, Bachrach, Wang, & Zhang, 2006) discuss how Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) advancements could lead to additional technological advancements in systems such as online ecommerce medians. As a result of this analysis, a new way could then help an organization secure additional vendors and system advancements in a process termed “e-procurement.” Describing e-procurement as a form of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Bendoly et al (2006) created a framework for those individuals that are involved in international purchasing decisions of their firms through online medians. Three benefits of EDI systems described were (1) the elimination of domestic market boundaries, (2) the introduction of new international suppliers, and (3) the ability to conduct transactions that are more efficient.

In order to substantiate the data proposed within past theories and concepts, Bendoly et al (2006) conducted a study by examining the different components of EDI systems, which they also found helped reduce material costs, while streamlining other organizational processes such as those found in ERP systems of many international supply chains. Bendoly et al (2006) examined 72 cases, which claimed e-procurement activities conducted online increased profit margins while decreasing overall costs. The results of this analysis combined with the previous literature showed a potential link between the benefits of implementing an ERP system and other emerging technological advancements. In addition, Bendoly et al (2006) showed that those organizations that utilized online e-procurement, EDI, or ERP systems and practices were the ones that could compete with like businesses regardless of the market or location.

The rapidly changing and evolving world of business technologies are giving way to additional technological advancements that are allowing many small businesses now to compete directly with their larger counterparts. Bendoly et al (2006) showed several of the evolving systems (ERP, EDI, and e-procurement) which are helping organizations compete on a global scale. Regardless of the system that an organization utilizes to build relationships and grow their business it is important to understand the tools available to them. As e-commerce becomes a normal part of any businesses long-term strategy, ERP, EDI, and e-procurement will become even more important to organizations. Since Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are usually late adopters, of most technological advancements, it then becomes even more important for these organizational leaders to understand how these systems or others (i.e. those discussed in previous posts such as CRM, SCM, etc) operate. This is where I come in, in each post, I have been discussing not only the benefits of such technological systems, but some of the drawbacks leaders’ face, as they decide which system is right for their organization. EDI is yet another spoke in a complex wheel of technological advances that leaders need to be aware of. With the help of many scholarly pieces, over the days and weeks ahead I will continue to report my findings in search of the best systems adoption for not only SMEs but also Multi-National Corporations (MNCs), as I get ready to conduct real world research into some, if not all of these discussed systems. In the meantime, any comments, suggestions, or real world experiences you can offer please take the time to comment, as this is the best advice we can give leaders faced with a major purchase decision or implementation such as ERP, CRM, EDI, etc.

Of course make sure to keep smiling, as this truly breeds success, as we all look to achieve more!

Bendoly, E., Bachrach, D. G., Wang, H., & Zhang, S. (2006). ERP in the minds of supervisors. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 26(5), 558.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Supply Chain Management (SCM) and other Technological System Relationships (i.e. CRM, ERP, eCommerce, etc)

Over the last decade, organizations and researchers have been looking at and evaluating the entire supply chain network in hopes of being able to predict future trends within the industry. As such,(Giunipero, Hooker, Joseph-Matthews, Yoon, & Brudvig, 2008) are part of those researchers that have chosen to evaluate past literature in hopes of determining what future development(s) may occur within the network. In fact, in their latest study they offer readers an extensive review of 405 articles, focused around current and/or existing trends along with the identification of any gaps in the literature. From this analysis, the authors hoped too later conceptualize the most studied categories, along with the identification of any relationships or links for later researchers to expand upon.

From the research Giunipero, et al. (2008) were able to identify a five year peek period from 2002-2006 that contained the most frameworks, challenges, and trends within the supply chain. From these identified frameworks, challenges, and trends the authors were then able to draw a correlation between two other variables (1) information technology and (2) e-commerce. It is this correlation between the (frameworks, challenges, and trends) and (information technology and e-commerce) that then becomes that much more important in helping solve global supply chain issues heading into the future.

Additionally, the conducted research also offered Giunipero, et al. (2008) a historical analysis of some of the shortcomings within the evolution of the supply chain network. The identified shortcomings or “gaps” and recommendation(s) for future studies fell into the following five categories

(1) Most of the reviewed research sample sizes were too small- the authors were able to determine that most of the studies had small sample size(s) and recommend that future studies examine multi-tier relationships, which then will increase future sample sizes.
(2) Most of the research studies were one-tie investigations- like small sample sizes, one-tier investigations between multiple suppliers, was not completely addressed, which means that future studies could place additional emphasis on examining internal and external multi-tier relationships to fully understand supply chain efficiencies and inefficiencies.
(3) There were limited methodologies used- several of the evaluated studies limited their data analysis through qualitative research and non-descriptive analysis, when perhaps a more practical approach would have been to use multiple regression or ANOVA, thus the authors recommend quantitative studies in future research.
(4) There was a lack of longitudinal research studies- several of the studies were conducted at a specific point in time, where it might have been more beneficial to spread the research out over different industries. The authors noted that although this type of research was more expensive it could help develop megatrends throughout the supply chain.
(5) Most of the studies were limited in International reach- upon review the authors were able to determine that most authors lacked the element of globalization. As companies in different countries continue to operate with one another this area will be one of the major avenues for future supply chain studies.

Giunipero, et al. (2008) extensive review of literature combined with several conceptual maps and a study showed several potential relationships that might exist between different variables throughout the supply chain network, which are invaluable for those researchers interested in this subject matter. In addition, Giunipero, et al. (2008) were able to clearly point out in this article any “gaps” in the literature and give recommendations and advice for the identification of feature trends, research, and analysis, which are of particular interest to me in my continued analysis of the supply chain and technological systems. Of which, several possible combinations and correlations were identified that would help contribute to additional work of past-future frameworks, challenges, and trends along with the continued advancement of information technology with e-commerce (some of the same variables of interest for my Dissertation). Finally, Giunipero, et al. (2008) stated that this topic should continue to “receive increased attention from academics” now and later, as information technology and e-commerce continue to revolutionize the supply chain. This is exactly the type of opinion; I seek, as I continue to examine the supply chain, along with other technological systems (i.e. CRM, ERP, etc) that I have/am continuing to report on in my BLOG, as well as in my other Doctoral work.

This is my first report on SCM but a very important one as CRM, ERP, and other information technology systems are key drivers in long-term growth and management of the supply chain. Of course, I am always seeking other opinions and advice, so if you got any, please drop me a line and let me know your thoughts, until then keep smiling.

Giunipero, L. C., Hooker, R. E., Joseph-Matthews, S., Yoon, T. E., & Brudvig, S. (2008). A decade of SCM literature: Past, present, and future implications. Journal of Supply Chain Management: A Global Review of Purchasing & Supply, 44(4), 66-86.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Do the Ends Justify the Means for an ERP Implementation?

Yesterday I discussed some of the reasons why Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) has helped many organizations achieve some of their International Strategies. Today, I am looking at how a company’s culture can affect Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) initiatives within an organization. Using a previous model that consisted of cultural and linguistic concepts developed by Antonio Gramsci, (Willis and Chiasson 2007) provide some helpful insights into why negotiations and debates that occur across organizational sub-groups can make it difficult to achieve technical or cultural change based on democratic participation. Since ERP implementation provides an organization with the opportunity to enhance their business and management processes and/or strategies through technical change, Willis and Chiasson implemented a case study that examined the positive and negative effects of normative and spontaneous grammars. In other words, since ERP, implementation is affected by an organizations culture, then the organization’s culture must change first before any type of software implementation takes place, which was the objective of the research.

By analyzing the different ways that groups within a company interact with one another during a major software implementation effort, (Willis and Chiasson 2007) found three normative phrases present in an ERP implementation project (1) a new way to manage, (2) best practice, and (3) professionalism.

(1) A new way to manage- an opportunity that surfaces as a result of the restructuring of an organizations systems (i.e. software implementation)
(2) Best practices- the unification of management interests with local practices or in this case ERP system implementation and employee satisfaction
(3) Professionalism- to move up the corporate ladder while maintaining ones personal interests with that of the company or threatening the sub-cultures of the organization through the implementation of an ERP initiative

Using these three narrative phrases (Willis and Chiasson 2007) were able to determine managers that expect change and prepare for change, while using best practices and professionalism would be the ones “organizations” that develop key negotiation strategies, which unite software implementation “ERP” with that of the corporation. Because of this strategy, ongoing negotiations taking place between management and sub-groups would be minimized and ERP implementers “management” would recognize the need to prepare their company culture(s) better before making such a software purchase.

As I continue to review different scholarly articles that deal with ERP systems (Willis and Chiasson 2007) describe yet another viewpoint of how ERP system implementation can have both positive and negative effects on a corporation’s employee culture, which makes this another important piece in the puzzle that I have and will continue to examine over the next several weeks.

And, as usual, any comments, questions, or suggestions are always welcome and remember to Keep Smiling!

Willis, R. and M. Chiasson (2007). Do the ends justify the means? A Gramscian critique of the processes of consent during an ERP implementation. Information Technology & People 20(3): 212.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why Companies are Aligning Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems with their International Strategies

With the continued globalization of economies and organizations throughout the world, many companies have or are turning to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to meet organizational goals, or are they? (Madapusi and D'Souza 2005) agree, but caution managers to be careful and not to mis-align the organizational ERP systems with their international strategies, as this more often than not will result in poor business performance. For that reason, the authors identify three important areas that executives should address when using these systems (1) “systems configuration, (2) information architecture, and (3) systems roll-out to reap the benefits of ERP systems alignment.”

In fact and according to (Madapusi and D'Souza 2005) those executives that correctly align new or developing ERP systems with their international strategies were found to outperform their competition, which ultimately lead to additional organizational growth. Therefore, once executives decide on an ERP alignment strategy, they must chalk out a future configuration for the system that touches on all three of the previously identified problems, while making sure that they will align properly with their international strategy and future growth plans. Based on this premise the authors recommend five strategies that managers should need to be aware of when implementing or advancing an ERP system.

(1) Make sure to appoint a senior level executive before rolling out any type(s) of program
(2) As much as people pretend to think that ERP systems are “magical” the fact is that benefits derived from ERP systems come from carefully configured system(s) that should be well planned out and implemented throughout the entire organization, plan, plan, plan
(3) Make strategic, tactical, and operational plans to fully leverage an international ERP system
(4) Any international organization that utilizes an ERP system needs to remember that successful alignment of systems will also require flexibility to allow for newly evolving systems
(5) Make sure that the company has the correct personal in the correct positions in order to leverage the entire ERP system on an international level

Madapusi and D. D’Souza, help readers understand the complex nature of international enterprise resource planning. As more and more companies, continue to compete on an international basis, these same companies will be forced to re-think the ways they conduct business. The fact is that conducting business on an international level requires most organizations to use these types of systems, as these systems help companies streamline their operations while providing real-time data. Companies that have a global business enterprise strategy in place before implementing a new system will be the ones to operate more efficiently. Enterprise resource management is not just a technological challenge it is an important change to almost all components of a business, so executives need to also make sure to ask what will be enhanced if we implement an ERP system? What will be diminished if we implement an ERP system? Etc. Over the last two years, I have continued to mine information on ERP systems along with the different ways these systems are helping Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) procure vendors while competing with larger organizations on a global scale. (Madapusi and D'Souza 2005) provide another view of some of the benefits and drawbacks that company leaders face with ERP implementation and this viewpoint is another good find into my continued analysis of the supply chain and technological systems (i.e. SCM, CRM, ERP, etc).

Of course, any comments, questions, or suggestions are always welcome and remember to Keep Smiling!

Madapusi, A., and D. D'Souza (2005). Aligning ERP systems with international strategies. Information Systems Management 22(1): 7.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as an Important Business Process in Supply Chain Management (SCM)

As mentioned in my previous post on Feb. 12th, 2011 (Wu, 2010) described some of the ways CRM has/is becoming a critical part of organizational and/or strategic planning, as competitive pressures increase and customers continue to defect from large and small organizations alike. Expanding on some of these same principles (Lambert, 2010) also examined some of the reasons why some organizations succeed while others continue to fail at managing this business process, especially in regards to Supply Chain Management (SCM). In fact, (Lambert, 2010) explains that CRM and SCM provide four important linkages (See Figure 1.3) within and throughout the supply chain, which all result in increased profitability of one or multiple customers over any given time.

(Figure is Omitted from this post but available at Figure 1.3. CRM and Supplier Relationship Management

As noted in Figure 1.3, the success or failure of a CRM process is growth and/or profitability and if harnessed correctly then CRM software could provide managers within a company the ability to gather more data from more customers, while providing customized products and/or services that should increase customer relationships and loyalty. On the other hand, (Lambert, 2010) also explains that there are also four main reason that CRM implementation could fail or decrease growth and/or profitability. The first is implementing a CRM system before a clear strategy is created. The second is implementing a CRM system before preparing and/or embracing the organization for such an advancement. The third is assuming that a CRM system is the answer (i.e. the more is better approach) and finally not understanding how to build relationships correctly or with the wrong clients. As far as creating a strategy for CRM implementation success (Lambert, 2010) identified five strategic sub-processes that are extremely valuable.

(1) Review corporate and marketing strategies- The CRM team should consistently review the corporate and/or marketing strategies to make sure that the company now and later continues to target the correct markets.
(2) Identify criteria for segmenting customers- This sub-process of CRM should help identify the criterion that is used to segment different customers in different markets.
(3) Provide a clear set of guidelines for product and/or service agreements- In this sub-process the CRM team should develop a set of guidelines that identify the revenue and/or costs associated with certain product or services.
(4) Develop a set of frameworks or metrics- This sub-process involves identifying the main areas of interest in regards to specific customers on the company’s profitability.
(5) Develop a set of guidelines to share- The CRM team should use this sub-process to develop specific processes that are being ignored, which could create win-win solutions for both the company and customer if solved.
In addition, to the five sub-processes (Lambert, 2010) also discusses seven operational sub-processes that closely relate to the first five discussed strategic processes, however Lambert adds (1) the need to continue monitoring customer accounts internally for any abnormal trends and (2) the additional need to measure performance by generating profitability reports for both internal and external analysis.

If an organization prepares properly by following some if not all of these strategic and operational steps described by Lambert in a CRM system implementation, then the chances of growing profits, relationships, and effectiveness in a Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Customer (B2C) setting are greatly increased. However, the ultimate measure of success in a CRM implementation across the enterprise and throughout the supply chain is the financial growth of the entire network as CRM systems should be a more effective way to migrate everyone to the most successful and efficient structures.

As discussed by (Lambert, 2010) there are many reasons that CRM implementation succeeds as well as many reasons why CRM implementation fails. Although the main people responsible for a success (i.e. information technology, sales, marketing, etc), there is no reason to suggest or believe that other organizational leaders in finance, logistics, research, administration, etc should not contribute to a successful launch or re-invention. As with any successful process, usually it is not only one person responsible for success but also the entire team as a whole. If more companies embrace this frame of thinking, then more companies will likely benefit from a CRM implementation or any technological advancement that an organization is considering in order to build, grow, and cultivate relationships that will last a lifetime. Relying on technology alone is not enough and those who embrace this frame of thinking will ultimately end up looking at the project in the end as what went wrong. Therefore, in order to avoid that thinking later, remember to strategically plan the work and work the plan. This is what I am doing now, as I continue to research and analyze the best and most efficient ways or systems such as CRM that organizations can utilize in order to create better Return on Investment (ROI), enhanced business performance, or additional long-term growth as I prepare to enter the applied research phase of my Doctoral work. This is my second report on CRM analysis, which is in agreement with the findings of (Wu, 2010), thus making this another important piece of my Dissertation, and as always I warmly welcome any comments, questions, or suggestions

Lambert, D., M. (2010). Customer relationship management as a business process. The Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 25(1), 4.
Wu, Y. (2010). Applying the strategic approach to assess customer relationship management. International Journal of Organizational Innovation (Online), 2(3), 186.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as a Strategic Approach

Throughout the last decade, organizations have continued to look for ways to create new strategies in order to retain customers, while improving service quality based on new competitive measures. One such way these organizations are creating, these new strategies are through advancements in technological programs such as CRM. (Wu, 2010) describes CRM as “a 360 degree projection which requires not only technology implementation but also strategic making and other integration in an organization” (p. 187). Additionally, CRM can be defined as those tools or technological advancements that help organizational leaders manage, develop, or assist employees in the day-to-day interactions with customers, suppliers, and other business partners. Wu quotes Giga (2001) who discovered that only 30.7% of companies worldwide actually consider CRM as a strategic tool that can help their respected organizations achieve some of their long-term goals, which in turn makes it very difficult for others to adopt this as a strategic initiative, hence why some 70% of companies overall fail to implement or utilize CRM correctly. However, if CRM is used correctly within an organization the research shows that companies are better able to build relationships (internally or externally), target new customers more effectively, and assist others by providing consultative solutions for a distinct product or service. There are four characteristics of a well-defined CRM system

(1) A CRM system that provides a 1-to-1 solution to a customer’s needs which will enhance communication, relationships, satisfaction, and service.
(2) A CRM system that provides a company’s sales force with a better way to track client interactions while providing useful information for follow-up, repeat, or future sales.
(3) A CRM system that allows employees to warehouse, mine, and customize data, which helps a company, stay ahead of its competitors.
(4) A CRM system that provides predictable sales demand, growth, and prospects in order to meet the needs of a company’s current and future clients.

(Wu, 2010) found that those organizational leaders, which understood the four main characteristics of CRM systems, would be the ones that could take advantage of its competitors, thus creating a competitive advantage within any given industry. However, before any CRM system implementation (Wu, 2010) suggests that these same organizational leaders also carefully analyze five important aspects referred to as “Porter’s Five Forces (1) Bargaining power of customers, (2) Threat of substitutes, (3) Threat of new entrants, (4) Extent of rivalry between existing competitors, and (5) Power of suppliers” (p. 195).

(Wu, 2010) provides readers with some of the reasons that CRM system implementation succeeds, while at other times fails because of the lack of understanding about what CRM actually is. The fact of the matter is many CRM system implementations fail because organizational leaders lack experience, knowledge, and a clear strategic vision of what they can or cannot do with such a system. Therefore, before a company decides to invest or re-invest in a CRM system it is clear that more organizational leaders need to develop a clear-cut strategy to adopt in order to avoid any potential risks that such a system implementation may cause. Although there are tremendous, amounts of benefits that CRM systems can provide organizations (i.e. reduced costs, increased customer satisfaction, along with gaining new and retaining other customers) a proper system implementation will only occur if leaders strategically plan for its integration and use. This is the beginning of my in depth analysis of one of the most important variables that make up the foundation of my Dissertation and I look forward to exploring this concept more and reporting my results in the weeks if not months ahead.

Wu, Y. Applying the strategic approach to assess customer relationship management. International Journal of Organizational Innovation (Online), 2(3), 186.