The Future of CRM – Part 1
February 19, 20203 min read

The Future of CRM – Part 1

CRM technologies are decades old and much of traditional core functions, such as sales, marketing and customer service, are now becoming a commodity.

Written by Eurico Frade

Current installed CRM solutions are a myriad of features and functions which are, functionality-wise, rarely used to their full extent.

Figure 1 – CRM evolution

As any technology, CRM-related technologies are going through a high pace of evolution and each year there’s some new flavour, supporting technology trends and paradigms (e.g., microservices, cloud, etc.), with new vendors and apps constantly entering the market.

The objective of this article is to provide an overview of Celfocus’ vision for the future of the CRM typical domains in the new-generation architectures.

What is the market demanding now for the CRM domain?

CSPs are being pushed for a Digital Transformation to be able to face new market challenges, to tackle OTT competitors and mainly to focus in selling experience and not just technology. The transformation drivers can be divided in the following groups:

  • Fast Delivery: based on Agile delivery methodologies, which technology should support;
  • OTT Web Experience: Digital applications need to perform efficiently, as users expect digital applications to respond quickly to their requests. Supporting systems (such as CRM) need to expose its functions with high performance;
  • Omnichannel-enabled: Maintain consistent behaviour and process across channels;
  • Continuous Improvement: Real-time and predictive analysis capabilities.

CRM systems are being requested to comply with this transformation journey by primarily supporting the new digital channels and layers, at the same time they support the required business processes’ automation. But what it is being verified is that the current installed CRM solutions, technologies and related delivery models, put some constraints to the mentioned digital transformation drivers.

What is the trend?

Today, in the demand for agility and digitalisation, the CRM domain is being fragmented to better support end-to-end business processes and CRM sub-domains are being sliced and specialised, starting to be delivered by smaller applications. These new applications and solutions, which can be from a single vendor (pre-integrated) or from multiple vendors, are complementary to standard CRM systems, not only covering the traditional sub-domains functions, but also augmenting CRM systems with new capabilities across the overall customer lifecycle journey.

Due to the dimension and business critical processes that today’s CRM systems handle, this move will necessarily be a multi-step journey. The trend is to define a step-by-step approach where CRM sub-domains and functions are moved and migrated to new applications and technologies, while the core CRM foundations continue to be delivered by the current CRM systems and technologies, and later replaced, if applicable, at the final step of the transformation journey. This is justifiable because current CRM systems can continue to act where they are still strong, i.e., handling customer information management, and latest technical version upgrades make them able to comply with the new delivery models focused on agility.

Nevertheless, CRM is still a core foundation for a digital transformation, working in tandem and leveraging channels and digital layers. So, it is also important that CRM domain systems support the needs of customer experience (CX) trends and business process automation, by being a robust, scalable and integrated platform to backend processes. This means that the new CRM domain systems should be designed primarily with API exposure of its capabilities in mind, instead (or at the same level) of their own GUIs. Following this approach, we can easily leverage on omnichannel and digital platforms to deliver any customer facing experience.

In a sentence, the strategy for moving and revamping a traditional CRM system is a hybrid and integrated augmentation phased approach.

Get to know Celfocus’ vision and the required technical upgrades soon, on Part 2 of this article.