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Monday, August 26, 2013

Developing CRM Systems on a Global Scale


The world is abuzz with products and services from nearly every corner of the globe. High saturation requires changing Customer Relation Management (CRM) techniques from a product-centered to a customer-centered approach. Fundamentally, organizations attempt to develop strong relationships with customers in order to maintain a level of connection to customers and product identity to foster future sales. Research by Kumar, et. al (2011), helps to show how CRM systems are copied and adopted in North American, Asia, and Europe.

CRM systems have acquired a mixed bag in their effort to move from local to global in their customer development. A majority of those who attempt to make this move often fail and have to find alternative approaches to establishing CRM related relationships. Despite its difficulty companies realize that it is a worthwhile pursuit in order to gain a sense of understanding and data feedback about customers. 

Large distribution systems that span multiple countries and economic blocks will also need methods of managing customer’s data. Some firms have been successful in developing frameworks for Global Custer Relationship Management (GCRM) to help them manage regional differences between customers and their regions. Such systems encourage higher levels of product sales and management. 
The researchers conducted interviews of top marketing professionals in NY, Singapore and Italy. They also attempted to assess the use of CRM on a global level and focused on large multi-national firms. Questions were geared around understanding the nature of global CRM are and what direction companies are moving strategically in their adoption plans.

Through the interviews they found that North American had some of the largest uses of GCRM systems and has been tapering. Asian and European firms focused on benchmarking North American firms in their attempt to determine whether or not their own systems are appropriate and what direction they should be taking.  They used similar firms as theirs to benchmark. Executives believed it is beneficial to have a CRM system that works across multiple regions. At present, Asian and European firms are afraid of failure of implementation but acknowledge North American persistence in this area.

The quantitative portion of the study helps to understand that availability of information on CRM systems impacted the learning curve of adaptation in other world regions. The more structural similarity between organizations, geographic distance, economic similarities, and market similarities between two regions the more learning and adoption took place. Organizations are still actively seeking Global CRM opportunities.

There is little doubt that the growing complexity of the supply chain network and increased movement of products and service across the globe will create more complex systems. Global CRM systems are needed to manage the multiple regions and nations in order to help spur future growth. As such systems are costly and difficult to develop those systems that appear to work well are being adapted by others organizations without having to put in the research investments and time to do so. 

Kumar, et. al. (2011). Analyzing the diffusion of global customer relationship management: a cross-regional modeling framework. Journal of International Marketing, 19 (1).

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