CRM Software: Under Whose Umbrella?


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I have been given the glorious task of becoming the “guru” of the CRM software my company adopted a couple of years ago, but has yet to fully master and capitalize on.

My degree is in Public Relations, with a minor in Writing. Software is not my strong point. People and words are. I’ve bought as many books as I can get my hands, been through countless hours of training, and yet I still don’t feel totally comfortable with the software.

So I pose this question…should the operation of CRM software fall underneath the Marketing umbrella, or should it fall under IT’s area of responsibility?

I welcome your input.

Ginny Wiedower
Ginny Wiedower is a young public relations professional, currently within the technology industry. Her past endeavors have given her experience in health care marketing and agency PR work. She is also a freelance writer and editor.


  1. Hi Ginny,

    Its a joint responsibility of both departments. The “piece of code” and maintaining it is responsibility of IT but how it is tailored what changes are made in which priority order with what timeline is a responsibility of the business (not just Marketing). CRM is a common ownership of customer relations, Marketing, sales, service and business strategy departments (by what ever names they are called in your company). Each piece of CRM in turn becomes responsibility of the business group / department whose needs it caters to. e.g. Marketing Product is owned by Marketing Dept, Service and Call Center is owned by Service and Customer relations dept.

    The key to keep in mind is IT is an enabler for the business needs of the organization. Many times, the IT department is too strong and literally drives the strategic decisions in conjunction with the Finance dept by forcing business users to use some softwares that are not always optimal but are less expensive and less cumbersome to maintain.

    I know i have not given you the “exact” answer you are looking for, but you will realize that we don’t live in a perfect world and there is nothing like a perfect answer ;).

    Hope this helps you in achieving your ultimate goal.

  2. Thank you for your input Yogendra. I, too, agree that both departments need to work together to lead to a successful CRM software implementation.

    Ginny Wiedower
    Public Relations
    Writing and Editing
    [email protected]

  3. Ginny … if you have not already secured the top down blessings from the top floor suits (i.e, CEO, President), I’d revisit that path.

    Since CRM is really more of a business model than a technology, there are bound to be political turf wars.

    That way, you will be able to speak with the blessings of the king/queen over issues of ownership, budget, time, priority, compliance with useage, etc.

  4. Ginny, I agree that IT needs to be involved. Someone has to make it work. However, do you really want IT to be responsible for bringing clients in to your company and staying in contact with them? The skill set is just too different. It’s almost the same as having Marketing doing product development…

    What I would suggest is a partnership. Find an IT guy/gal who will take on the implementation aspect, and allow you to come up with the creative writing and campaign steps.

    Oh, the 1st question should be what are you trying to accomplish with CRM? As Garry mentions, if it is to become the company business model, then the dna needs to change. If it’s a sales tool, then you just need an IT person to help set it up.

  5. Hi Ginny

    Its great that you took the trouble to buy so many books and tried to get comfortable with the software. Here it is important to realize what your comfort level is. You do not need to be an expert, your expertise in with ideas and then you interact with IT to translate those ideas into actions.

    Of course, do consider the points mentioned by Garry. They are pertinent.

    Piyush Bakshi

  6. Hi Ginny,

    It’s such a simple question, but the answer could be bewilderingly complex. You ask, “Should the operation of CRM software fall underneath the Marketing umbrella, or should it fall under IT’s area of responsibility?”. If marketers are the only users and they use out-of-the-box functionality, and there are no systems/data integration or configuration issues, then you can probably keep CRM in the marketing department. If there are other users, such as the sales team or customer service department, and/or there are systems/data integration or configuration issues then you’ll probably need IT’s involvement.

    Users should define the functionality they require to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. If you are using ACT! or GoldMine or some similar sofware that works out-of-the-box than you can probably survive without IT’s involvement. However, as a precaution you may want to negotiate service support from IT. If IT refuses to service the CRM users’ needs then you are on your own.

    Good luck being a guru! I hope you read my book 🙂

    Francis Buttle


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