Response to Graham Hill’s Article: What comes after CRM and CEM?


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Submitted by dhenchy on December 31, 2007 – 18:46.

Hello Graham,
Thanks for you article, it is certainly an interesting question to pose. There is a lots of organisations and individuals that have a keen interest in what is next after CRM and CEM. Certainly the process of developing these capabilities in an entire industry in itself, so no doubt the many consulting groups, IT vendors and the swathe of analysts and project managers are keenly looking to explore where they should invest their time over the next 5 years.
One would have to assume that the rise of ‘what’s next’ wil occur in a pattern not dissimilar to the advent of CRM and CEM. Like “Personnel to HRM” or similiar movements relating to suppliers, the next customer centric/oriented philosophy would be due in 2008/9 (for early adopters) and 2010/11 for mainstream/industry based adoption (i.e. large scale investment in processes, people, technologies)
You have suggested a candidate, which is a logical extension for the current state. It is one that involves a degree of recursive thinking. Specifically, organisations enabling(!) customers to be part of the organisational process of managing themselves.
Of course, there are the notions of relinquishing a degree of control to customers, a ‘leap of faith’ to a greater possible profitability. The concept of partially or wholly self managing, empowered customers being more profitable, would be a challenging one for many CFOs, Sales Directors and others, who have to date, staked their careers on their ability to (sort of) control revenue streams through the managing internal processes and people.
To me, the most likely candidates to pursue this avenue would be public sector organisations, perhaps those in the public health area. The value sets of both parties (the organisations and clients) may be more conducive to “customers in the driving seat” where the concept of profitability is not a strong influence.
Saying that I would also like to see other candidates explored for a world after CRM and CEM, and what influence factors that are currently at play would shape TNBT (the next big thing).
The candidates might be:
1. As you have put forward. Customer’s organised individually or as groups and equipped with tools equivalent to or better than existing organisationally based ones, where the group or community dynamics is the market driver for a given product, service etc
2. Organisations further develop analytical models and informational systems to more precisely know the treatment strategy for a given customer or group, on-the-fly. This is what I would see as “living the CRM dream”, which is an extension of the current model to a more homogeneous, globally consistent one, i.e. futher optimisation of CRM and CEM
3. A regression from the current intrusiveness that is curbed by state or citizens. For example there is currently a position that have been taken by the European Union through the parliament to review potentially excessive TV advertising in Italy. The basis of this is that this is causing an adverse social effect. The outcome could be that the E.U. enforces the set of advertising rules that government marketing campaigns on publicly accessible television. Recently of course in the US, the ability to opt out of telemarketing is another example.
4. That the current state of the global economics is such that the system(s) of marketing, sales and service have grown so substantially in the last 15 years, and with the likely further introduction of seriously large markets (China, India, Africa) capable of purchasing mainstream products with thier middle class incomes will drive further growth (expansion) of CRM. This will result in a system of marketing/sales and service that is too large to possible change to any significant degree. (Think of the current global investment/dependency on oil and all it’s peripheral infrastructures (ships, pipelines, gas stations, cars, industry, etc) as a comparison.
Some of the interesting factors to consider might be.
1. The stratification of wealth in what we have previously thought of as poor countries, and how this wealth will be spent on consumables
2. Climate change and the movement, politics and regulations that will ensue (Australia, the only other main country (apart for the US) has agreed to ratify Kyoto). Experts generally agree that there would be at least a short term impact on the global economy
3. Oil production peak. The point at which the consumption of oil (or at least the rate extraction) declines relative to the projection of how much is left. This leads of course, to price fluctuation that affects manufacturing, and distribution costs of products pretty quickly, leaving left in the coffers to spend on marketing, sales and service(apologies for the gross over simplification!)
4. Sub Prime mortgage crisis. I guess we will find out first Qtr 2008 when the banks disclose more. The recent investment by the European central bank in the propping up loans in european, and moves buy the Congress in the US are attempts to curb the potential collapse of middle and lower income mortgage holders. We’ll see how successful they were in early 2008, but this will be a cash drain on organisations who have invested BIG in CRM/CEM to date. JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, CitiBank, ING, Abm AMro etc. All this affects construction, house prices, bank’s liabilities, pension funds.
Apologies if I have painted a less-than-optimistic picture! I am actually quite positive and excited about what is next specifically because it is going ot have to be so compelling, have such cut through, so as to overcome some of these challenges. Going back to my opening remark, I think that those administering the implementation of TNBT (the next big thing), which have the characteristics of being “super” consultants, analysts, IT vendors. With that in mind it is an exciting time for all involved!
Daragh Henchy

Daragh Henchy
Daragh lives in Sydney and is working with The Customer Experience Company, a management consulting firm with a strong competence in innovation & design thinking around the customer. As an Associate Director with the company, he focuses on design thinking,& end-to-end experience design for customers. He runs the Experience Design practice area. Daragh has lived and worked in France, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA, Germany, the UK & Australia. He has worked with local and global clients in Australian & Asia Pac from 1999 - 2012 with CapGemini, Ernst & Young, IMS Consulting (& Skura consulting)


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