• February 1, 2008
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Grow Up!

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Scott Nelson, a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, has once again left an indelible mark on the CRM market and on the pages of this magazine. More than five years ago, his concerns regarding high CRM failure rates prompted our July 2002 cover story "The Truth About CRM Success and Failure." This much-needed wake-up call for the industry encouraged CRM project leaders to demand more from CRM vendors -- and the vendors subsequently experienced a three-year growth spurt. Nelson now has a different message -- a less alarming one, but far more insightful. Essentially, it's Gartner's CRM maturity model, which freelance writer Jessica Sebor examines in this month's cover story, "CRM Gets Serious."
We first reported on this five-stage maturity model more than two years ago in our online story "The Current and Future State of CRM" (Nov. 2, 2005) -- and yet the model still holds true. Back then, most companies were between Stages Two and Three of the maturity model, according to Nelson. What's interesting -- and a little disturbing -- is that despite all the buzz around CRM 2.0 and Web 2.0, companies, on average, have been stuck there ever since. Read Jessica's story to find out how each stage is defined, where your company stands, and what it must do to move to the next stage. Advancement in this maturity model requires the ability to share data across multiple departments, using multiple communication channels. Multichannel CRM is no longer merely a nice-to-have capability -- it's now a must-have. Barton Goldenberg, president of CRM consultancy ISM, addresses this need in his column ("Multiplicity Means More") and his feature ("Always On"). He posits that today's digital clients demand that a company not only communicate with customers through the channel of their choice, but also recall any relevant customer information from previous interactions. While it's important to cater to customers' changing needs, sometimes employees require the same care. In many organizations, a clash of internal corporate cultures can lead to turf wars. In "Rumble in the Office," Senior Editor Marshall Lager identifies the common roots of conflict and offers some solutions for a harmonious working environment. There will always be differences of opinion. Sometimes all you can do is reach a resolution that satisfies most. If a colleague still whines about not getting his way, tell him to be mature and go cry in the car. **** We have some introductions to make for 2008. This issue marks the launch of our Scouting Report column, where Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG Consulting, will offer targeted analysis of different markets. Scouting Report will alternate with another new column (launched last month), called Connect, authored by consultants from BPT Partners and by James Kobielus, Forrester Research's senior analyst for data warehousing, covering such issues as data consolidation and social networking. Also, this issue's The Tipping Point column marks the first of several contributions this year from J. David Lashar, an associate partner in the CRM practice of IBM Global Business Services. And please welcome our new editorial assistant, Christopher Musico (cmusico@destinationCRM.com). Christopher, who recently received his BA from Seton Hall, will cover customer service and contact center strategies. I look forward to working with all of these new, very bright, and talented colleagues in 2008. David Myron Editorial Director dmyron@infotoday.com
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