Monday, September 24, 2007

Week 10 Design - Importance in CRM

Design - Importance in CRM

In the lecture Rob spoke about the importance of design thinking in CRM. How does it make its presence in CRM and how does it determine the success rate of CRM. The three core processes that depend on each other for its success.
1. The New product development (NPD), 2. Supply chain management (SCM) and 3. CRM.

The video presentation by Timothy Brown at MIT was real insight how innovative design will be more useful for better customer relationship. He also pointed out that designers miss the focus by trying things to look beautiful. I agree with ideas that innovative and creative design can be used to tackle range of business issues. I think its putting you in customers shoes and if one is able to get the customers idea and solve appropriately, then its success. He also mentioned that how People, Technology and business interact and that was really interesting. I believe it’s getting the basics right to the road of success.

I think when developing a new product, it is very important that the interaction with customers is as important as anything else that we would do to make it success because customers are the one who are going to use it and determine its success. Tim said this lead to functional innovation, using technology that is attractive to people. In business making prototype that is emotional innovation as he mentioned. I was impressed how NIKE’s marketing team proposed a design to management by story and how they were successful. I wonder if management can be convinced by this style, so well can be the customers

The supply chain management in business perspective is more important as to coordinate with the different departments of business. The success of wall mart in supply chain as he mentioned, is an example of the importance of SCM. I would like to relate this with the previous topic discussed by Sawhney to synchronize the business to function effectively. This in turn will lead to effective CRM in the process that meets the expectation of the customers and Employees. This can be justified by the examples of the multinational companies which had their success like Motorola, Microsoft, P&G, General Electric Corporation and much more.

Design thinking as Tim states “is human centered approach to innovation “ and this in one sentence answers the importance of design and innovative thinking in success of CRM.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Week 9 Strategic relationship:

Week 9 Strategic relationship:

We had Rob speaking about the strategic relationship theories namely, Agency; Transaction Cost Economics; Resource Dependency; Social/Relational Exchange and Interaction
I think each one of them is as important as others. The agency theory – utility gives more insight about how to have better relationship with the other agents. The concept of strength of preference which Rob discussed n lecture explain how this has its impact. As he also stated utility is subjective, there lies major challenge for an organization to correctly identify the need of the customer rather that going general which I think will not impress the customers. Another important factor I believe is the social relational exchange theory – this is most appropriate discuss direct relationship to the customers. It’s how well the organization has rapport with the customer will determine its success. Building trust and relationship is the most important factor in success of the business. I think Organizations broader perspective of the customer needs first theory will directly reflect how well they are successful and how the relationship is maintained with customers, third party vendors, other institutions and managing them all in organized manner.

The second part of lecture was in to the real time issues in implementing the CRM in an organization. The factors mentioned in the lecture will surely be the most important and challenging for the organizations to handle. I completely agree with that as its more commonsense rather that a strategy failure. Organizations know there and the question is are they trying to do something to rectify this and have better relationship with customers or are these being ignored in the context of the growth.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Week 8 Synchronization = better customer experience:

Synchronization = better customer experience:
The two case studies in this week’s reading bring out a clear picture how important is synchronization for a organization to have better customer relationship and its own costs management. I was more impressed with Sawhney’s article which mentioned about how important is to synchronize to have better customer relationship and also how would it affect the company’s cost if proper synch is not done.
I think this more of a common sense rather than any technological aspect or any high end process involved. In customers perspective it’s fairly simple: Their satisfaction is the first priority. It has to be as simple and clear as possible. Organizations cannot expect people to understand their process and accept the outcome. People are not concerned about the internal process and I would like to mention the example Michel gave us in his guest lecture. How Telstra didn’t have the synch with its phone and internet departments. Being a customer I myself will be annoyed to be asked to call different departments of the same company to sort this issue if the company staff can’t handle this. And an issue as simple as moving places is not shared in a common database; I only wonder how the company handles the complex problems. In company perspective synchronization is as important as anything else. Apart from customer dissatisfaction, it increases the running cost, delivery issues, and source duplication as Sawhney mentions. I could understand that company has too many issues to face like different departments operating hours, geographical locations, people involved and many other issues but justification of not synchronizing with common database and platform cannot be acceptable as end of the day the customer relationship and their revenue is what is affected.
The technology synchronization is what I believe more important in Sawhney’s article. This is where I believe the data mining and data integration component come into play. Consider a sales or marketing department in an organization, if we don’t have accurate data or the latest trend information, the chances of launching successful product in the market will only be history. In Michel’s lecture Customer centric enterprise is defined as “ empowering employees with customers data and insight through end to end business process to ensure BEST decisions are made for BOTH the customers and the company “ I think this cannot be achieved without proper synchronization.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Week 7 Event Based Marketing

Week 7 Event Based Marketing

Starting off with the basic Rule “Rubbish in Rubbish out rule” Daniel explained how the data to be gathered in the process of evolving a Good CRM for an organisation. The step by step development of the CRM process and how the analytical and operational CRM should coordinate to achieve best result was in depth and practical knowledge of how and efficient CRM to be deployed in an organisation.

The marketing strategies used by organisations are interesting and could prove to be beneficial to organisations, I personally believe that Event based marketing depends cannot be depended up on too much as its response will differ with the same customer based on their current situation. It was interesting to know that banks target customers making large deposit to attract them to change it to high interest accounts to gain the trust to push the business down the line. I’m still not sure if the banks are doing it for their profit, or understanding the customer needs. Taking example given by Daniel Tehan, banks first call the customers to change their money in high interest accounts and target them for a home / car loans and any other product which the customer wouldn’t have taught of. I believe this provokes the customer to take some attractive product (remembering the seminar by Barry Schwartz in week 3 – more choices worsening the lives) just because it’s offered, rather going by his own plan. Customer might have deposited the money for another purpose or simply saving the money to buy a car/ home in later stages
Of course organisation eyes for potential customer and for its profit but the question here is are they doing it having the interest of their customer as first priority?
As explained by Daniel, banks know who the individual is. What are his commitments and how much money coming in and going on regularly and what product can we offer the customer.
To get very accurate information banks have access to every detail and financial situation of an individual. My question here is where does the individual privacy stand here I believe this lacks some ethical issues as well. Thought the banks would have got the consent of the customer to access their personal information, this doesn’t simply allow the employees to access another individual’s information.

Like I mentioned earlier, this strategy may be of great help for the business to understand the customer behaviour, analyse the best product suited for the customer and increase the revenue, it may prove to be a great success but are the customers needs and good will considered in the long run? This question needs to be answered

Monday, August 27, 2007

Week 6 ---- CRM in Organizations.

Week 6 ---- CRM in Organizations.
Lecture this week discussed about CRM in organizations. How important is to integrate the data mining tool with the business and how important is to implement it effectively. We also looked at how an organization should select the appropriate right CRM software for its functionalities and needs.
Two case studies which described how a CRM project can fail did give more real time knowledge. In the case of Birmingham city council it was obvious that it wasn’t going in the right track but interestingly IBM was another company that had issues with CRM. If a company of that nature has had issues with implementing right product for its own use then no wonder the city council had issues as well. In my opinion the companies which want to use CRM software first should understand customer needs and behavior, the type of process that they use and how can they be substituted to be achieve more customer focused relationship. As the IBM case study disclosed user commitment is the most important factor for a company to succeed. In the case study of the council the main objectives of CRM - that is integration for better performance – was not achieved.
An article – CRM: An organizations best friend. An organization must wisely choose CRM to be effective in using that. It explains how CRM is making positive changes in the company and in turn increasing revenue. Another interesting aspect is that the companies outsource the CRM aspect to a third party vendor. The organization should consider the reputation and credibility of the vendor before accepting or giving them the job to do.

To conclude I think CRM is very important in a company’s perspective and in today’s competitive market a company can survive only with its present customer database and to maintain and improve customer support and loyalty the company should display the same to the customers. CRM can be a mediator between the organization and its customers and it relationship depends on how well an organization uses CRM


Monday, August 20, 2007

Week 5 – Data Mining and Neural Networks

Dr. Ilona spoke about the various techniques about data mining that including decision trees, neural networks it was really interesting to know how companies use them in real time to improve or maintain their customers database. Many approaches are used but in the end it seems they get to almost same result.
It was quite interesting to know that they are used in financial industry where credit provided based on its decision and humans. I still wonder the accuracy of the neural networks and if they are down to earth rather than following the written algorithm. Although these system are thoroughly tested, at a one point of time depending much on neural networks seems too “technological “rather that really understanding and assessing customer needs. The example given by Ilona where Mobile Phone Company uses to segment and identify what customer needs are and try changing approach, in this example the company uses it for back end monitoring and analyzing results and not to decide the customer’s ability. Artificial intelligence as the name states it is Artificial and not natural. The companies as of now at least relay too much on computers. This also leads to fraud creeping in. and again I believe AI or neural networks can’t do anything to prevent them unless a human identifies and corrects it. I do agree with the video that discussed some ethical issues like invading privacy. If companies get to access all the information (though customer’s consent is obtained but I believe that is just too good) in the past and predict the future, then that is inacceptable. A simple example of this if a customer applies for credit of company X and declined, he applies at company Y and approved, what justification does this give?. I assume either one fo them should be wrong or both the companies might be wrong.
To conclude using AI and neural networks should be balanced and used in such instances where it will help to get the most positive influence in customer rather that just adopting for all the processes. This in a long run will help companies to understand the customer’s needs and serve them better which will lead to strong relationship with customers.
Venkat 20105169

Monday, August 6, 2007

Week 3 - Are more choices making life worse?

This weeks lecture covered topics that are more into the designing aspects of effecient CRM.

Data ware housing architectures , the ETL process , customer data base design. The end users are not, to be quite hosnest, bother about what we poeple ( at leats subjects perspective) design as long as they get what they want and satisfied.

But the scenario which was beautifully explaned by Barry Schwartz, are peoples life made miserable with more choices. I would like to point out in this instance the Doctor - Patient example that he gave in his seminar. This is one situation where a patient cannot afford to choose an option. If people are left with difficult choices like this choosing right medication,nothing worse can happen by more choices.

His main idea was that more choices leads to dissatisfacation. Its very true ( at least in mycase ). The moment I pay for a product i get an impression the other one might be better that what i just paid for. How many of us are content with what we have? . I believe the answer " yes " to this is very less. Barry also mentioned this leads or fuelles suicidal tendency.

Now how many companies are concerned about this and customers perspective. They in the name of "giving more choice to customers make our life harder". In my understanding companies cash in the oppurtunity at the cost of customers. Let me give you an example here - have any one found or baught a laptop of their intended configuration. Trust me you cant. If you look for high speed/configuration either its screen size will be larger or you wouldnt get enough storage - if some one looks for more multimedia kind of a system you wouldnt get enough speed - some thing or the othr should be compromised in this instance. My question here is if a company can manufacture a system with different configuration why cant they build a system that has everything in it?.

One more thing I wanted to mention before I conclude is that more choices also puts financial pressure on individuals. Of course we wouldnt be buying two laptops for use but the example Barry gave us that we may be provoked to buy two Jean's - so it adds financial pressure or mental pressure if we cant afford to buy two of them. This in case of kids and children is much more dangerous.Either parents are put under financial pressure if not the kids are affected.

To conclue I strongly agree with Barry Schwart's argument that More choices definetely make life worse and I would like to add a saying that " Honey over and above he limit becomes poision " and tha is what happening at the present time.

Please post you comments and we will have an healthy discussion about this