CRM Architecture: Backstage Pass
Currently, businesses try to embed the customer-centric strategy into their functional framework. However, the diverse and multi-tiered client sets share only one feature, they demand personalized and close-to-immediate quality service.
CRM systems came as a remedy to these changing factors and requirements. Thus, this out-the-box technology is far from perfect and fall short of your expectation. Even organizations of the same industry or market have different business processes and approaches to the performance.
The question of implementation and system tailoring influences the mode of business running. Put simply, CRM architecture is the key to avoiding platform adoption failures and allows to meet specific organization’s requirements over the long term. Flexible architecture of the CRM solution determines customization, deploying, upgrading and integrating processes.
CRM Customization vs Configuration: What’s the Diff?
Usually, the opportunities and CRM architecture provided by the vendors are designed to comply with the general business requirements to the marketing, sales and support service activities. Also, they offer customization options. This very feature attracts organizations most of all. Thus, the notions of ‘customization’ and ‘configuration’ are used interchangeably despite the fact that they define different processes of ‘system tailoring’.
Configuration is the option provided by the platform that enables easy setting up of specific options.
- creating conditions for reports, filters and other business processes that make CRM work in the way you need it
- adding/editing/changing fields and values to capture the relevant information
- formating data elements on the screen, as well as a change of its visualization
Customization is a deeper technical engagement with alteration of the underlying application code.
- change the script for improving the mode of the processes and workflows running
- managing the application programming interface (API) for providing integration with other standalone applications or back-office systems
- modification of the templates through system level properties or coding
Zipping out to the main, the configuration changes are made by the non-technical users of CRM for tailoring some processes. Meanwhile, the true alteration in the system should be made by the technical users for managing more complex and critical changes into the CRM solution.
Value of CRM Architecture for Business Performance
In the choice of the best-fitting CRM solution, you should select a system capable of supporting your business model (b2b, b2c or b2b2c) and processes immediately with the time of implementation. It also has to be flexible and adaptable for scaling with the company growth and changes.
There are lots of CRM solutions that are supposed to be industry-specific, yet they are designed on the same principles of out-the-box application to meet the whole spectrum of functionality. That’s why you need a platform with a flexible CRM architecture to adapting the system to your processes instead of changing your strategy to CRM capabilities.
CRM platform with the pre-built extensive functionality complicates the end-user adoption and locks up the mode of business processes at the implementation stage. Such an incident usually prompts the CRM initiative failure.
Process and System Levels of Platform Architecture
The architecture of CRM may be divided into two levels - process and system. CRM solution helps to deal with clients requirements and data that is why customer lifecycle plays a vital aspect in service providing.
To be more specific, there are
- delivery process includes a direct contact with a customer due to marketing and sales management
- support process contains market search and loyalty management
- analysis processes involve lead management, customer profiling (scoring and segmentation), lead, feedback, performance management and multi-channel interactions.
System level of CRM consists of such layers as
- operational (manages marketing, sales and service automation, as well as delivery and support processes)
- analytical (stores and evaluates the customer information for better understanding need and behavioral patterns)
- collaborative (deals with customer interactions and communication channels)
To sum up, the successful CRM implementation, end-user adoption and further thriving in business performance depend on the architecture of your solution. In the choice of CRM pay attention to functionality, price and configuration and customization abilities as well.
P.S. If you look for a workable and practical tips for CRM adoption, the free ebook “Proven Reasons for CRM Implementation” is just the job.