CRM, in some form or fashion, is on the project list at almost every bank in 2004. This is true despite the fact that most banks don’t yet have a fully developed big picture of what CRM systems and delivery will look like. What they do know is that there has to be better access to customer information, front line employees need better sales and fulfillment tools, compensation needs to be tied more closely to sales and service, and systems need to be better integrated to accomplish this.
The vendor market has not been unaware of this nor has it been idle. As we have discussed previously, most every core vendor has invested in some CRM solution. Several have purchased stand-alone CRM systems that they are now integrating into their delivery systems (Metavante/Onyx and Jack Henry/Synapsys are two examples). Some have focused more on internal design and development, but even here it has usually been with a separate toolset, database, and design team than is used on branch, call center and lending delivery systems (e.g., Fiserv/CSCS, OSI/cView).
Now, there were valid reasons CRM and delivery systems were designed differently. At the risk of oversimplifying, CRM systems were designed with marketing campaigns, sales tracking, and customer analysis in mind. Fulfillment systems (loan origination, call center, branch new accounts) were designed with decisioning, closing, and documents in mind. They were designed by and for different parts of the bank, by different vendor teams, and at different times.
But here’s the rub. It’s now 2004, and before banks can really be successful at CRM, all of these these systems have to mesh and work together. To a large degree, they don’t – yet. And banks and vendors haven’t really negotiated the tough details of how they will.
Now, some readers, particularly vendors, will immediately claim that I’m on one of my 1969-era Berkeley flashbacks (they don’t happen that often any more.really). But let me tell you, based on our involvement in dozens of system selections last year and me planting my rear end in the seats at demos with bank users, what the buyers see:
In summary, the proposed solutions still look too disjointed for banks to base their long-term relationship strategy on them.
The net result, most of the time, is that people like some of the features of both systems, but they don’t really feel that either is yet designed with a viewpoint of what they really do all day.
To be fair, this may be the point at which we should expect to be, given that large-scale design of CRM sales and delivery systems is still in the early stages. Regardless, we have hit the point where sales management workflow and fulfillment workflow need to be seriously and specifically negotiated as one big discussion. For example, let’s take the issues already mentioned. I suggest that any future design of integrated CRM systems address these questions:
No system design would be complete without some Gonzoesque spin and flavor, n’est pas? Oui. So, here are three practical design principles I suggest be factored into the next phase of CRM:
My point is that there may be a classic 80/20 rule here – getting the right 20% of groups on a single design may provide 80% of the integrated sales and service benefit. Let’s aim the next round of design at that.
The theme is clear – if the right blend of relationship management tools, fulfillment capabilities, and practical workflow exists in next-round design, everybody wins.