CRM held back by skills dearth

Customer Relationship Management implementations are being thwarted by a lack of IT workers with the relevant skills, says a...

Customer Relationship Management implementations are being thwarted by a lack of IT workers with the relevant skills, says a report from IT recruitment specialist Elan.

Customer Relationship Management implementations are being thwarted by a lack of IT workers with the relevant skills, says a report from IT recruitment specialist Elan.

According to Elan's business manager, Tim Chamberlain, numerous companies have CRM on their agendas but when they emerge from the planning stage, there is a dearth of skilled professionals to fulfill the integration process. "We are expecting the skills shortage to worsen, as more companies make similar moves to keep up with the competition," he says.

At present, Chamberlain says the most commonly requested skills are Siebel, Broadvision and Silverstream. Technologies, traditionally associated with telecoms, such as Vantive and Clarify are also becoming popular, especially for e-commerce applications.

He says that the lack of relevant know-how has meant experienced CRM -orientated workers can now command up to £900 per day as a contractor, or a wage of £70,000 as a permanent employee. Chamberlain predicts ITers working on ERP projects will be cross-trained as the skills required are similar to database programming skills. He also predicts that client/server developers and VisualBasic coders will move over to CRM projects.

Jamie Snowdon, research manager at industry watcher IDC, also recognises the CRM skills shortage and likens it to the paucity in ERP skills evident about five years ago: "The shortfall in SAP skills was very acute for about 18 months during the nineties but ITers got training in response to market demands. I see the same happening in the CRM field. What are really in demand are the higher end skills of specialist CRM contractors. Those who have a business sense along with technical expertise and who truly understand the implications of implementing CRM in say, the financial or retail sector."

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