The lowdown on CRM

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CRM for citizens

What is it? Customer relationship management combines strategy, process and technology to manage customer interactions.

What does it include? Most CRM packages include at least one of the following:
  • collaborative CRM, which covers voice calls, fax, e-mail, collaborative browsing and Internet chat

  • operational CRM, which covers front- and back-office data systems and IT infrastructures and consolidates disparate databases and systems

  • business process CRM, which provides automation rules for transacting business

  • analytical CRM, a collection of tools where data is combined with logical rules and turned into business insight.

How much does it cost? It's impossible to accurately measure the cost until agency requirements are measured and the system has been tailored to meet those requirements. An integrated CRM system could cost hundreds to thousands of dollars per seat.

Are government and private sector CRM requirements the same? No. Commercial CRM typically is designed around market and sales requirements. CRM programs for government generally focus on collaborative CRM tools, but the other three features listed above could also be present.

Must-know info? CRM requirements in the government vary from agency to agency, and there is no 'one size fits all' solution. One challenge for the government is to integrate legacy systems with new CRM programs. Another is to choose in-house or outsourced CRM solutions. Electronic CRM will likely come on strong in government circles during the coming years.

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