CRM Software: Trends, Challenges, And The Future

Q&A With Capgemini’s Javier Florez

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Steven Lerner

As companies undergo digital transformation, there is a great emphasis on enhancing interactions with customers, including potential ones. To meet the demand, enterprises have largely embraced customer relationship management (CRM) applications and platforms, most of which are cloud-based today.

To understand more about the current state of CRM software, Enterprise Digitalization interviewed Javier Florez, a senior digital transformation lead with Capgemini. Florez works with enterprises across several industries on their cloud solutions, including the use of CRM software.

Enterprise Digitalization: What are some of the biggest changes in recent years to CRM software?

Javier Florez: One of the biggest changes is the fact that the flow of integration with the CRM is definitely faster. There is a high demand to have better quality data available for customer contacts, accounts, or anything that connects to it; even if it's a potential lead. Other changes are the different tools that are being used to implement a solution of interaction, such as omnichannel. There are also more channels of communication, and those need to be centralized. Recently we’ve seen the collection of data from the CRM going into an analytics dashboard, and with the quality of data better and more reflective. When I say analytics, I mean basically a dashboard at the fingertips of any user. The other thing I see is that the concept of omnichannel moving from silo channel, multi-channels to cross channels and eventually omnichannel, is more embedded within CRM solutions. A few years ago, the licensing of platforms involved buying a whole package. Today, you can buy a subscription: you can get probably cheaper licensing and more functionalities than what you used to get five years ago. The platforms are more open. You have the ability to integrate more, and they are more cloud-based.

ED: How can a CRM solution improve productivity and employee satisfaction?

JF: By the ease of use. If it is a system that is fully-integrated, then it is easy to learn. It’s the ability to have the most critical information on one single view.

ED: What are the biggest challenges with regards to CRM solutions?

JF: Some of the industries that struggle with CRMs are heavily regulated, such as insurance and financial services. The reason they struggle is because of all the structure of regulations around the data of the customers, such as the HIPAA regulation and medical records. It is anything that is sensitive and, as a result of that, it impacts some of the interactions with the customers. Even though a customer has the ability to go to a portal and start a chat, there are things that need to be blocked, such as social security numbers. Medical records cannot be emailed. The customer needs to be authenticated and validated multiple times to make sure that this is the person that we really think that he is. Some companies put fraud protections to validate the customer in different ways. They have AI that would accurately match either that customer’s fingerprint, voice, and other pieces of information, such as an account number, to make sure that it is the correct person, and then send an email to validate. That authentication process takes a lot from interacting with the customer.

ED: Why are some organizations lacking when it comes to CRM software?

JF: I'm not sure what the statistics are. I haven't come across a company that does not have a CRM. Some companies, I guess, maximize the value more and invest more into it than others. When we think about CRM, a lot of companies get confused. The things that come to mind are platforms like Salesforce. CRM is more than that. Salesforce is just a platform. There are different options when it comes to customer relationship management software. Management is the ability to plan anything around the customer. It's hard for me to think that there are not companies out there, especially these large companies, which do not consider the CRM to be an important aspect of a business model.

ED: What do you think the future holds for CRM software?

JF: I don't have a crystal ball, but when you look at different companies, I think CRMs will continue to be about customer relationship management, but just evolving in different flavors. In terms of applications, it will be more of a combination of micro apps. The concept of sales, service, and marketing is something that will be more accessible to commerce. Customers will create different channels of communication to companies. Companies need to adapt to it, rather than dictate the direction with the customer. It will evolve from what we know it today as back-end solutions. It will be more subscription-based, and there will definitely be micro apps that anybody can download to their mobile devices.

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