E-CRM or 'pull up stumps'

If your company is not doing e-CRM, you might as well pull up stumps, according to analysts and consultants Ovum.

According to Ovum, blue chip companies will fall by the wayside in the next five years if they do not embrace and implement e-CRM.

David Bradshaw, lead e-CRM analyst for Ovum, said: "It is sadly true that e-CRM's capabilities have been hyped out of all proportion. [However] e-CRM is not a fad invented by vendors to offload products."

"It has become an essential tool for business, and if your competitors have deployed it effectively and you haven't, you are on the way to being history."

Mary Harold, director information systems, South Australian Department Education, Training and Employment, said implementing an e-CRM strategy would be "helpful" with help desk systems.

However, it is low on her department's list of priorities.

"We may look at it for relationship management with students, but we don't really have the type of customers normally asssociated with CRM."E-CRM differs from CRM in three areas: it includes the e-channels of e-mail and the Web; it is enterprise ready rather then focused on departments or 'silos' like call centres; and it extends to cover partner channels.

"E-CRM enables customers to interact with organisations using their method of choice, whether that be e-mail, Web, interactive voice response, call centre or face-to-face," Bradshaw said.

Ovum predicts significant growth in this market, from $US170 million in 2000 to just over $US1 billion in 2005, for the Asia-Pacific region. Although market growth globally is currently slowing, the analysts still see an increase in e-CRM in 2002-2003.

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