Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Is Tomorrow’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Technology has come a long way but many sales people in the hardware and building industry still lag behind. Geoff Dart has the story…

The development of technology over the past decade has been nothing short of phenomenal, with even the mobile phone virtually evolving into a mini Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System, let alone a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. A decade ago, CRM programs like ACT and TRACKER were extensively used, particularly in the FMCG and Financial services sectors, mostly by sales staff for planning their call cycles and sales activities. Amidst the development of technology across many applications, stand alone CRM (M = Management, suggesting inertia) programs that can’t be integrated with an active data base appear to be fading. This is in light of Integrated Management Information Systems that are getting more seamless in the way they extend from resource planning, manufacturing, logistics, financial analysis and reporting, to human resource planning. The end result is better management and development of customer needs and requirements. The move toward integration, seamless and multi-functional capabilities is evident in several developments and acquisitions across the technology industry in recent times. One such example is Oracle’s purchase of PeopleSoft, essentially another step in the direction of Transparent Operating (manufacturing, supply, logistics, finance) and Marketing Systems (TOMS).

In addition, sales representatives today have a significant input into the direction of a company and its operational effectiveness through category management, revenue development and the management of trading terms, gross margins and profitability. The Sales profession has undergone a rapid development and emerged as a clear functional capability alongside marketing, operations (manufacturing and logistics), human resources and finance and the respective levels of education. Unfortunately, the hardware and building industries lag behind other industry sectors in this regard. A relative low proportion of sales professionals hold tertiary qualifications and this is now limiting their career progression.

Technology and its emergence and application across all business functions is now covered in most tertiary courses, not to mention the core subjects and course material expected in a degree, be it business, marketing, industrial engineering or commerce/finance.

Moore Stephens Progress Technology works with companies across a range of industry sectors, providing system assessment, design, implementation and project support. Please call Geoff Dart on (03) 8635.1908 or 0419 575252 for more information.

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