Businesses are impatient to see a return on investment for customer relationship management (CRM) projects and will no longer wait 18 months, according to Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (CGEY).
Paul Cole, global director of CRM practice at CGEY, told vnunet.com that businesses won't wait for CRM to deliver promised cuts in cost or increases in productivity.
He explained: "Time is the new currency. In the tough economic climate companies don't want to wait 18 to 24 months before they see a return.
"There's new pressure to deliver value faster in more innovative ways. The old view of the long-term plan and roll out strategy is dying.
"They want it demonstrated that CRM is working in quick hits: faster, cheaper, better. It helps create momentum rather than inertia within the business."
CGEY is focusing on CRM showcases designed to give clients an idea of how the technology can work for their company before they make an investment. These use live scenarios, interactive demonstrations and workshops involving actors, photographers and artists.
"It's not the technology that stands in the way," said Cole. "Understanding how CRM affects the behaviour of the customer is paramount. We use the showcases to show a possible roadmap."
However, Cole stressed that, in the quest for quick hits, businesses should not be giving up on their long-term vision.
"They must get there in manageable ways," he said. "With the explosion in the number of ways of touching the customer, it's essential to get a consistent view of them. If you put information on the web, it's no good if it's not known about at the call centre."
Wendy Hewson, head of end user research at the Hewson Group, agreed that companies are rejecting long CRM projects.
"Most companies don't have deep pockets and the resilience [long CRM projects] demand," she said. "They are focusing on what they can do to add value to the company and want payback in three to six months."
She added that the approach is justified. "Long drawn out projects are risky and, with a 50 per cent failure rate, that is a long time to tie up the best people for what could be nothing," she concluded.
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