The times of manual managing based on organization directors’ intuition seem to be gone, even though some managers still underline the role their “nose” has in the business. In today’s multi-million companies the risk is way too high to depend solely on one’s vision. There are tens, hundreds or even thousands of competitors in each market sector. And they all are ready to overtake the part of the niche deserted by unsuccessful companies. To prevent such situation, most meaning companies use different IT systems that support their management tasks. These systems improve the efficiency of decision making and lower the risk through better analyzing the situation, the options, and their potential consequences.
There are many different applications which support different stages of managing process. They also apply to different aspects of management. For instance, CRM systems are being made to help organizations in their relations with customers. Business Intelligence on the other hand is more technical and focuses not on the customers, but on the company inside itself.
The question what CRM particularly is remains with multiple answers depending on who’s trying to determine it and what scale of CRM he thinks of. The fact about it is that customer relationship management – which, in its simplest understanding, applies to managing the relation between company and its customers – evolves years by year, month by month. Aspects which haven’t been included in CRM so far become its crucial parts.
Today’s CRM is not only what traditionalists used to see. In XXI century, it’s also about social media marketing which became one of the most powerful tools in creating the appearance of the company. And, regardless of what – in each case – CRM applies to, why is CRM so important?
Marketing orientation of today’s companies places the customer in the middle of all organization activities. It states that all the decisions need to be driven by customer requirements, from designing the product to planning the sales net. Whatever CRM does leads to increasing the performance of service, letting customers get what they want as soon as they want. It gives company managers arguments to sustain or change their decisions (whether they apply to the simplest aspects of particular operations or the company strategy as a whole) in the name of customer satisfaction.
Business Intelligence is also referred to as a process of transforming data into information and, then, information into knowledge. More or less, it also is what CRM systems are doing, so saying that CRM and BI begin in the same starting point may be true. What is this point? It’s a moment when company databases are getting filled up with data originating from mul-tiple sources, from sales points located all over the world to company main contact center. Both try to give more or less direct answer to one important dilemma – what to do next. The thing though is how each system answers this question.
Both, BI and CRM solutions are capable of gathering and analyzing data which is crucial to efficient company managing. The difference though applies to what’s going on with gathered and analyzed data.
In case of Business Intelligence, it’s left completely on user’s side. It’s his own decision whether he does anything with the reports he get, if he does, what it is, so on and so forth.
Opposite is CRM, which allows users to engage in any process of data analysis, but – in most examples – it automates the process. If, for instance, there’s a lot of sales data analyzed and some trends are easy to notice or maybe niches to use, CRM system doesn’t have to bother the analysts to decide where to forward the report findings to. It does it automatically and – in case of the example – forwards it to marketing or advertising department. It depends on the case.
Business Intelligence, focused mainly around gathering and analyzing data to make better forecasts, creates a great ground under Customer Relationship Management uses. Both base on data and data is the core of each computer-driven analysis. Moreover, so called Analytical CRM is exactly what Business Intelligence does or maybe even a bit more, however it still is focused strongly on customers. Analytical Customer Relationship Management operates on the knowledge about company clients to analyze their behavior, requirements, and needs to – after that – do better moves when making decisions about company future.