Implementing essentially to be the two elements of

Implementing a secure cloud-based
ERP/CRM focussing on document management systems for Law Firms



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Customer Relationship Management (CRM)


concept of customer relationship management (CRM), which first emerged in 1956
(e.g., the

of discrete customer groups), has played a vital role in the business world
over the past six to ten years (Nairn, 2002). With management concentrating on
the two aspects of relationship marketing (specifically one-to-one marketing

(Peppers & Rogers, 1993; Peppers et al., 1999) and

orientation (focused on collecting, analysing and disseminating large

customer data), CRM technology has become an important element.

It has
experienced rapid growth owing to three principal reasons: (a) intense
competition for customers among businesses, (b)

economics related to retaining customers (i.e., life-time value) and (c) advancement
in technology

2004; Goodhue et al., 2002; Karimi et al., 2001; Ling & Yen, 2001; Winer,


concept of CRM has been given numerous definitions at different levels, for
instance functionally and managerially, as well as technically (Doherty &
Lockett, 2007; Ngai, 2005;

Pan, & Raman, 2002; Wright et al., 2002). Managerially,

CRM serves
as a vital business

approach and philosophy, given the fact that the concept is
immanently pivoted on the customer (e.g., Almquist et al., 2002;
Beckett-Camarata, Camarata, &

1998; Chang, Yen, Young, & Ku, 2002). Academics specialising in the field
of marketing perceive “CRM as

concept that adds practical value to the meaning of customer orientation”
(Wright et

2002, p. 340), which assists in the operationalisation of MO and in the
creation of marketing value (e.g., Aspinall,

& Stone, 2001; Reinartz & Kumar, 2002; Rheault & Sheridan, 2002;

Srivastava, Shervani, & Fahey, 1999). Meanwhile, the main interests of researchers
who specialist in information technology – in relation to CRM – seem essentially
to be the two elements of technology and implementation (e.g., Chalmeta,

Cooper, Watson, Wixom, & Goodhue, 2000; Gefen & Ridings, 2002; Romano

2001; Wells & Hess, 2002).


CRM Definition


et al. (2002a) argue that CRM cannot easily be defined by business managers and
directors. Greenberg (2002) cited ten definitions by top executives from

business corporations which were all different. In its early phase, the concept
of CRM was defined as one that was predicated on two aspects: the attraction of
customers and retaining them in the long term (Ling & Yen, 2001; The Data
Warehousing Institute,

Wyner, 1999). As a business approach, CRM has also acquired a widely accepted
definition according to which “CRM

is an
approach or business strategy which provides seamless integration of every area

that touches the customer” (Sathish et al., 2002, p. 545). According to other
definitions, CRM plays a role in maximising profit, whereby “economically
valuable” customers are won and retained and “economically invaluable” customers
are eliminated

& Lee, 2003; Romano, 2000; Romano & Fjermestad, 2001). Some researchers
have followed a more all-inclusive and integrative line towards the concept,
attempting a definition that would encompass CRM’s link to technology and its
role as a business approach (Bose, 2002; Buttle,

Dibb, 2001; Goodhue et al., 2002; J. Kim, Suh, & Hwang, 2003; Sathish et

The Data Warehousing Institute, 2000). This definition helps create a better
awareness of CRM’s dual aspects that ought to be considered when appraising
whether executed applications of CRM succeeded or failed. The assessment of
each aspect separately will likely lead to an incomplete understanding. In
their definitions, Vendor (e.g., Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP, and

and specialist magazines (e.g.,, CRM Magazine, and

Today) chiefly concentrate on the profit that the applications of CRM
technology can potentially produce. For instance: “CRM…is a company-wide
business strategy designed

reduce costs and increase profitability by solidifying customer loyalty”


another perspective, CRM technology serves as a “glue” between “front

(i.e., sales, support and marketing) and “back office” (i.e., ERP and/or order

applications in relation to sales and marketing, by providing instruments for
thorough analytical examination and

in addition to technology infrastructure, with the aim of flawlessly creating a
single customer facing unit that is characterised by

and comprehensiveness (Buttle, 2004; I. J. Chen & Popovich,

The concept of CRM is currently perceived more in relation to the utilisation
of technology and information in the management of customer relations. Based on
existing literature, the aspects and factors that define CRM technology
concentrate generally on the utilisation of IT for four purposes: attracting
customers and retaining them in the long term; devising a lasting business
approach; assisting in the application of CRM processes; and boosting profit in
the long term.


this study, the more all-inclusive approach towards the concept of CRM is adopted,
which reflects the perception by Gummesson (2004), and Ling and Yen (2001) of CRM
as a business strategy that is focused on customers, shaped through the
company’s market orientation (MO) and executed through the utilisation of information
technology. CRM specifically involves a process where adequate relationships
with all customers, of benefit to both sides, are identified, accepted and

(i.e., RM) by employing technology with the aim of maximising value for both
the company and the customers.



Introduce CRM and e-CRM from different perspectives


The concept
of CRM has been interpreted differently by many researchers, with some viewing
it as procedures adopted by firms for the management of their communications with
existing and potential clients. From this perspective, CRM is intended to build
and preserve lasting relationships with both existing and potential clients, a
process where information about the clients is gathered, kept, retrieved and
analytically examined (Bose, 2002) (Chou et al, 2002) (Kotorov, 2003) (Arndt
and Gersten, 2001) (Schellong,

(Levine, 2000) (Swift, 2000) (Rigby et al., 2002) (Ryals and Payne, 2001)


to other researchers, CRM is only an IT process of enhanced value, through
which the different capabilities of the company are identified, enhanced,
integrated and focused on, in line with the actual needs of clients (Dafoulas
and Essawi, 2006). These researchers are also of the view that CRM should involve
providing a profitable long-term value to well-established current clients as
well as potential ones by employing software, and usually internet capabilities AA1 (Starkey
and Woodcock, 2002) (Xu, et al., 2002) (Frow and Payne, 2004).

that it views CRM as a mix between

information technology and marketing, the latter definition appears to be
better, as it illustrates the important role played by CRM in ensuring lasting
and mutually beneficial relations with clients. CRM is a customer-focused business
strategy whereby customers can be given bespoke treatment by tailoring the offers

their actual needs.


Thus, the
employment of advanced

is likely to boost profitability. The Electronic Customer Relationship
Management (e-CRM), which has been developing, appears to be the upcoming
trend. E-CRM is a combination of methods employed automatically with the
purpose of collecting, preserving, effectively utilising and analytically
examining customer information (Steinmueller, 2002) (Turban, 2006). Said
differently, it is a method where internet is employed for the creation of fruitful
relationships clients, vendors, staff, investors as well as any other stakeholder
(e-CRM Group, 2003:2).


Forrester Research,
2007, defined e-CRM as an internet-focused strategy

is unclear.