Customer management technologies for SMEs

This second supplement advises on customer relationship management systems. If you already have your information and...

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This second supplement advises on customer relationship management systems. If you already have your information and communications technology infrastructure in place, the next step is working out how to slot in your ideal CRM system with the minimum disruption and downtime.


Introduction: Get the best from CRM

Having established a robust, reliable and expandable information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, the challenge is on for your business to reap the benefits that such an infrastructure can support. Right at the top of any list of potential benefits is improved customer management.

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Get smart: get closer to your customers

It’s vital that your business better manages the relationship with your customers. Yet how do you go about doing it? Customer relationship management (CRM) technology could be the answer, but how do you go about implementing such solutions effectively? Gary Flood reports.

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Business strategy must come first

One out of every two SMEs does not have an ICT strategy, according to research by Computer Weekly in association with BT. To stand any chance of capturing the potential improvements that a CRM system can deliver, you’ll need to develop a solid business strategy. Sally Whittle explores how you can devise one.

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Getting the right fit brings CRM nirvana

You may decide that CRM is what your company needs, but one question you have to address is how the new system will fit in with your existing technology. Ross Bentley discovers it is vital that you work out what applications you want to integrate.

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Blueprint is key to successful roll-out

According to research from Computer Weekly in association with BT, more than half of the UK’s SMEs do not have a formal IT strategy. This number does not include Daryl Industries. As Joe O’Halloran discovers, a rigorous, well thought-out strategy was the foundation of a very successful CRM implementation.

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It pays to go to the host with the most

Even though research from Computer Weekly in association with BT says SMEs are indifferent towards hosted services, there is increased activity towards providing CRM functions using these services. James Rogers assesses how attractive hosted services could be for your company.

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Big players set their sights on growing market

The spectacular growth of the outsourcing market over the past 20 years has transformed the way companies run their IT systems and departments. CRM is one such function that can be outsourced; but is it appropriate for SMEs to do so? Nick Huber weighs up the pros and cons.

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Suppliers latch on to mobile possibilities

You would no doubt be very keen for your company’s representatives to be equipped with technology that allowed them links back to your customer information database. However, despite the fact that, technically, this scenario is possible, is it right for your business? Gary Flood reports.

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Vendors fighting to beat image problem

To make CRM work for your business, you will need to manage relations with your technology supplier, as well as having a robust strategy and effective technology. What should you know to get all what you need to support your business requirements? Karen Gomm reports.

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CRM: a valuable gift for Red Letter Days

For Red Letter Days, a provider of gift experiences for corporates and consumers, a CRM system was essential to give it market leadership. The company has strong opinions on process planning, education, training and, in particular, the role and limits of the technology supplier. Joe O’Halloran reports.

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Click here for Part Two of the SME supplement >>

Click here for SME supplement homepage Part One >>

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