ZIFFPAGE TITLEBite, Chew, Swallow

By John Moore  |  Posted 2005-05-23 Print this article Print

Call 2005 the year of the add-on for customer relationship management.

Bite, Chew, Swallow

IHOP's Piccininno says the hurdles in rolling out a customer relationship management system aren't very different from those encountered in other enterprise applications. "You've got the typical stuff—the data migration does happen a little bit slower than you would have liked," he says. Integrating the way Oracle's various modules exchange data, for example, "has been a little bit of a challenge."

On the other hand, IHOP has yet to hit an obstacle that would cause the company to rethink its strategy. "We've implemented a lot of software in a very short amount of time," Piccininno points out. "We have been very consistent in our approach and, in general, things have gone very well."

But extending the core capabilities of a customer relationship management system takes more than just adding new software, according to Oakwood's Villarreal. Ultimately, he says, customer relationship management software is simply a tool that is part of a larger strategic goal: Villarreal sees Siebel's software as one element to transform the way Oakwood handles its marketing. To make effective use of the software, the company has hired consultants well versed in marketing analysis and strategy who know how to roll out campaigns, he says.

In general, Yamaha's Bergstrom and other technology managers say they believe an incremental approach provides the best path to effective use of a customer relationship management system. Salesforce.com provides a new feature set every few months, he says, and offers the ability to add customized applications.

The wealth of options, Bergstrom says, makes it all the more important to move forward one piece at a time. His advice: "Don't try to implement everything at once."

John writes the Contract Watch column and his own column for the Channel Insider.

John has covered the information-technology industry for 15 years, focusing on government issues, systems integrators, resellers and channel activities. Prior to working with Channel Insider, he was an editor at Smart Partner, and a department editor at Federal Computer Week, a newspaper covering federal information technology. At Federal Computer Week, John covered federal contractors and compiled the publication's annual ranking of the market's top 25 integrators. John also was a senior editor in the Washington, D.C., bureau of Computer Systems News.


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