The hot ticket at the Internet World event in New York this past December was the eCRM part of the show. The forum featured speakers covering various topics including the missing pieces in a CRM solution, legal advice for CRM vendors, real return on investment measurement guidelines, and understanding Internet analytics, to name a few.
In his presentation, Anthony Palladino, senior account executive at Evolve Software, pointed out that a company's workers are the most undervalued assets on its balance sheet and CRM applications focusing on helping automate their jobs can save a company a lot of money and time.
Many eCRM solutions "do not leverage the largest untapped asset, and that is the workforce," Palladino says. "E-CRM is perfect for a product-focused organization [or a] services business."
Palladino cited two case studies revolving around Evolve's offering: one with consulting giant Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS) and another with Fair, Isaac, and Co. (FairIsaac).
EDS rolled out an eCRM solution globally to its E-Solutions group with plans to have 120,000 users eventually utilizing the system, according to Palladino. At the consulting concern, the sales department's systems were not tied into the service department's and now the company is much more efficient, he says.
As for FairIsaac, it was up and running on Evolve 4 in just 90 days for 1,600 users, with the eCRM offering acting as "the glue between Oracle financial and Oracle HR systems," Palladino says.
Also, there was plenty of advice on analytics, a discipline that is gaining a lot of interest, says Jonathan Becher, senior vice president of corporate development at Accure Software.
"Web sites are a technical beast. Think of your Internet presence as a laboratory. To optimize your presence you are going to need various forms of Internet analytics to measure where people are going, so you can make the adjustments that your site or CRM initiative may need," Becher told an audience during an educational track at the eCRM portion of the trade show.
For one thing, analytics is not easy, because there are so many different ways to measure Web site "stickiness" or abandoned shopping carts. But no matter what methods a company may decide to employ to capture data, the most important thing is to make sure to capture all the data, Becher advises.
On the big picture view, Michael Cappellas, chairman and CEO of Compaq Computer Corp., one of the keynote speakers, says the IT utility concept model will pick up more steam and that the increase in content will spur a big need for the distributed content delivery platform. "There is a huge amount of data in all of our companies. We want infrastructures that will be able to handle rich content," he says.
To cut through massive mounds of data, Cappellas suggests enterprises are going to have to do supercomputing not by buying a supercomputer, but by clustered nodes.