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Brent sets CRM pace for councils

The London Borough of Brent expects its e-shop Pathfinder project to provide an affordable customer relationship management (CRM)...

The London Borough of Brent expects its e-shop Pathfinder project to provide an affordable customer relationship management (CRM) option for local authorities.

Brent's scheme, which is being developed jointly with Onyx Software, Deloitte & Touche and six other London councils, is designed to provide low-cost, easy-to-install CRM for local government.

Bernard Diamant, director of corporate services at the council, said, "The idea was that we would work with a commercial provider to develop something that is cost-effective and tailored to the needs of local government."

Brent expects the basic package of seven concurrent CRM licences, minus hardware, to cost about £33,000.

The system is scheduled to replace the customer tracking system at Brent's seven contact centres and one-stop shops in March or April this year. The system, which is currently in the development stage, will eventually be integrated with its back-office systems.

Diamant said, "The CRM system will handle the primary contact with the council, whether it be via a one-stop shop, telephone, e-mail, letter or over the Web." It will eventually manage customer contact with over 100 services, he said.

Major local authority CRM deals have been grabbing the headlines as councils try to meet the Government's 2005 target for getting services online. Last year Liverpool City Council signed a £6m CRM deal with Oracle to consolidate 220 IT systems and more than 500 databases.

Experts said Brent's project could enable more local authorities to reap the benefits of CRM.

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