When Case Management first experienced the resurgence of interest we are seeing today, it was just as likely to see platforms such as Siebel and MS Dynamics proposed for Case Management as it was BPMS solutions. That had undeniably waned in the last 3-5 years with the growing awareness of and interest in using BPMS platforms for data-driven applications and most notably Case Management. Yet more recently, CRM has once again emerged in discussions, RFPs and proposals as an appropripriate platform for Case Management. Do you believe CRM-specific products and frameworks a viable platform for Case Management? Why or Why Not?
Most CRMs today are just sales ERPs or just sales DBMS with a slightly more focused interface. Their main purpose is to spew funnel reports to upper management. They are so far away from what salespeople really want as help in their daily jobs that they are probably the most hated piece of software ever, neck-to-neck with ERPs.
Case Management is an entirely different approach - it listens to events, it serves the data to the users (not the other way around) etc.
But, with the right cosmetician and the right amount of money, you could put lipstick on a pig... I have seen 6 years ago a PPM implementation done in MS CRM... I still wake up screaming in the middle of the night, cold sweat running down my spine.
No they are a compromise. Case management crosses silos of these old hard coded systems . The adaptive capability is essential as is the ability to build custom applications. Sure this could be about use of frameworks that removes need to recode the required business logic.
Those creating those RFPs need to dig deep and understand how this new approach to software actually works and not be sold that compromise.
Look closely at a CRM system, and you will see it is a case management system. Each sales prospect is a case. The sale is the goal of the case. How the salesman gets to the goal can be very different depending upon the specific details of the customer needs.
The process is not fixed: e.g. first do A, then B, then C -- at least not to any detail. Some sales can be closd in one phone call, some take 100 calls. Some require visits, some require demos, some require a proof of concept or a proof of value. It is the expertise of the salesperson that guides the sale, not a fixed concrete process.
But the question was whether a CRM products and frameworks make a viable platform for case management.
A good CRM product will be a good case management platform in the sales and customer relationship space. Whether that can be generalized to other domains is an open question. Certainly it is not always so, but it is quite conceivable that it could be. Case management depends upon good information management, good communications, good reminders, and capabilities that help coordinate interaction. These capabilities are commonly needed in supporting human interaction in any domain.
So ... if the specific product is flexible enough, it seems reasonable to say that a CRM product might be transformed into a case management product for a different domain.
For the case management purists this is not going to go down well. But for most companies software decisions are at best a compromise;
There are a lot of vairables, but not all are equally weighted and every company will have a different skew. There is good a reason why SAP, Oracle and now Salesforce, have grown to be so successful in penetrating large organisations and become the standard. Their customers have decided the last 3 criteria on my list are more important than the first 3. But the last 3 are IT decisions. The first 2 are business decisions.
If the entire reason for a company being dominant and differentiated is their laser-like focus on case management, then CRM will not be good enough. But for the vast majority of companies there are a host of other factors and the sequence is "first lets gets some customers and then we can worry about supporting them". So CRM leads.
The challenge for every company is to get the right balance - but first they need to understand what the compromises are.
CRM is a sad missed opportunity. Like BPM it was handicapped by the lack of vision of first generation IT.
Imagine you receive an enquiry from a company. Perhaps only the intern. But you know that for a decision on your product, you need COO, CIO and CEO. So the CRM immediately finds those for you. Initiates an awareness and nurturing programme to all three. When the meeting comes round and the intern presents the idea, everyone knows about the opportunity, the product and the bits which interest them.
And the CRM goes a stage further. It says - if they like what you're doing, then these companies probably will too. Clustering around type of company - size, sector, employees - and need. And it goes yet another a stage further. It finds out that companies who buy products like yours often migrate from ACME Model 3s. So it finds all the companies with Model 3s. Tells you how long they had them, who authorised the purchase and where he/she is now if they've moved on. And it tracks purchasers of your product too. Finds where they've moved and sends them a quick email to remind them that the clever product they put into their last company could work in the new one too.
Once trained it becomes intelligent. Tells you who to contact, likelihood to buy, ways to persuade and key people to influence (and who can positively influence them). It makes selling a thing of the past. Connection becomes all you need.
Inside the company CRM could be cleverer too. It could automatically pop up cards on people who come on the phone or onto email to tell you their history, the management structure at their company and the reason for the most recent call. This could cut call times in half and reduce miscommunication. It can also qualify, telling you the company size, position and likelihood to purchase. Separate prospect calls from service calls and reroute or involve others. Automatically record the conversation and turn it into bullet-points.
Don't have a CRM like that? Stuck with a stupid one, whoch can only dredge up the stuff you put in there?
Well then, don't base anything else on it. It isn't a platform, but a legacy and a liability!
This is a terminology issue. What most CRM vendors call case management isn't what BPM and Case vendors consider to be case management. If you are only looking to raise and track customer cases then CRM applications will probably do the job. If a company is looking to address SLA performance, reduce service cost, improve first contact resolution, transform customer experience CRM isn't enough.
I think Peter is absolutely spot ont, most CRM packages are simple tracking systems and lack the capability to manage SLA's, complex rules, and adhoc processing. A few Packages such as Pega or Sales Force have solid CRM frameworks that can handle this sort of complexity, precisely because they address the problem from a process/ rulesrather than a data perspective. On the whole CRM packages don't fare well with complex case managementand need to hand off to a BPM solution.
Typically, an CRM tool is a set of BPM / CM applications for a particular business domain, i.e. marketing. For example, many CRM tools are good with a classic "client incident" process.
The richness of current CRM tools is based on parametrisation of a monolith program, similar to ERP-like architecture. Current BPM-suite tools are mainly based on a different architecture – an BPM/CM application is naturally decomposed into various components and they are defined in, primarily, declarative manner. Thus, an BPM/CM application is a dynamic assembly of microservices. Such a composite architecture provides indispensable flexibility which enables the business agility.
This is an example how a good application architecture supports business architecture under the umbrella of enterprise architecture.
1. "TECHNOLOGY": CRM = Case. Stated several times above. I agree that delivered CRM products are built on a case model. This means that "cases" are first class citizens of the data, process and UX models that comprise the system.
2. "BUSINESS NEED": Sales = Case. CRM products are based on case models because "sales is sort of oriented to case work". I agree, sort of.
3. "THEORY": Sales = Case? However proposition No. 2 above is not the whole "story". CRM software, case-oriented or not, is not very good at helping reps sell. Because support for human work around cases leaves out important aspects of case work. In the world of sales, the most important thing that reps need is support for "story" or "narrative".
So, CRM isn't bad as case software, as measured against what we expect case software to deliver today. However, case software generally falls short of delivering what case workers (including sales reps) need a lot of. Case capability is a beginning, and only a beginning.
Let's look at an example of how things could be different.
Here's a very interesting video discussing "cases", "narrative" and "software". Note that the "case" here is a legal case for lawyers and prosecutors, so it's not exactly the generic "case" (although legal cases are not so-named by accident). Flatrock Systems' founder Chris Hoyer has some very interesting things to say. What he has to say sound about narrative and case could apply very well to a sales environment, as well as to any kind of general case management environment. (I have not looked at the actual software itself.)
I suspect that case software generally will be dramatically enhanced as narrative technology ("text mining" is one small corner of this field) is more widely adopted.