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Customer relationship management software guide for CIOs

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is essential to the success of any business. In this Executive Guide, you'll find the resources and advice you need to implement and/or manage an enterprise CRM system.

A customer relationship management (CRM) software strategy is essential to the success of any business. It allows the organization to manage customer relationships in an organized way and leverage shared enterprise information to improve the sales management process. In this CIO Briefing, you'll find the resources and advice you need to implement and/or manage CRM system.

This guide is part of the SearchCIO.com CIO Briefing series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date visit the CIO Briefing section.

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CRM projects fail because users say 'no thanks'

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Nearly one-third of CRM software deployments end in failure, according to new research from AMR Research Inc.

The bottom line is that sales representatives and, to a lesser extent, marketing professionals, just aren't using the technology, and that nonadoption is leading to failure.

"I do think we can point to the sales organization that's probably facing the most challenges with adoption," AMR senior research analyst Robert Bois said. "The same could probably be said for marketing as well."

The Boston-based research firm recently surveyed 190 IT and line-of-business executives and found that 29% of CRM projects fail. That's slightly better than the 31% failure rate AMR Research uncovered in 2006, but it's much worse than the 18% rate discovered in 2005.

Learn more in "CRM projects fail because users say 'no thanks'."

CRM: Ten questions to consider before buying

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As CRM infiltrates more small and medium-sized businesses, the options for CRM products and services are increasingly coming from smaller vendors. These vendors can now compete with their bigger counterparts, offering Software as a Service and best-of-breed products for specific CRM functions and industries.

Selecting the right CRM software and implementing CRM to deliver measurable business growth and profit improvement can present many challenges to IT professionals and business managers. But if it's done right, your efforts will be rewarded with significant competitive advantages and bottom-line profits.

Find out more in "CRM: Ten questions to consider before buying." Also:

Self-service IT helps companies help themselves

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The maxim of automated, self-service technologies goes something like this: Help others, help thyself. Whether it's an airline kiosk, employee-benefits intranet or Web-based customer support site, when users solve their own problems, big cost savings and greater efficiency follows for forward-thinking companies.

Self-service success stories speak for themselves. Take this case study: The internal help desk at Microsoft supports more than 105,000 clients -- employees, vendors and contractors -- with five international call centers. Two years ago, in an attempt to reduce call volumes, the company deployed a number of self-service tools, including an online support Web site that offered chat capabilities and access to knowledge-based articles. The result? Calls were reduced by 15.4 percent, at a savings of about $30 a call. These are hard savings that show the value of self-service, said Microsoft senior program manager Jeremy Eubanks.

Microsoft's story is not unusual. Research conducted by eVergance Partners LLC, a management consulting and systems integration firm based in Overland Park, Kan., shows that answering a question online costs a company from four to 40 times less than responding through a call center or help desk.

Learn more in "Self-service technologies help companies help themselves." Also:

Firms mull over blogs, but doubt business value

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A majority of U.S. companies are now at least considering corporate blogs, but there are still plenty of businesses not convinced that blogging has business potential.

Forrester Research Inc. surveyed 275 IT decision makers at U.S. companies with 500 or more employees and found that while 54% of those polled said they are blogging at some level -- or at least considering an investment -- 46% have no plans to invest in blogs.

According to the Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm, the reason so many of them have no interest in blogs is because they see no business value in blogging. It's a headache they don't want and many have more critical problems to solve.

Find out more in "Firms mull over blogs, but doubt business value." Also:

  • Blogging's ROI becoming clearer
    More than just a cool way to communicate, corporate blogging can actually save enterprises money, effort.
  • Blog etiquette for marketers
    Rapidly emerging as a marketing tool, blogs present a dilemma for companies wanting to communicate with customers. How much marketing is too much?

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