Implementing Karimi et al., 2001; Ling & Yen, 2001;

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

 

Literature
Review

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

 

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

segmentation
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

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

market
orientation (focused on collecting, analysing and disseminating large
quantities

of
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)

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

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

2001).

The
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;

Sathish,
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, &

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

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

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

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

2005;
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,

2006;
Cooper, Watson, Wixom, & Goodhue, 2000; Gefen & Ridings, 2002; Romano
&

Fjermestad,
2001; Wells & Hess, 2002).

 

CRM Definition

 

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

development
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,

2000;
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
of

business
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

(Pan
& 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,

2004;
Dibb, 2001; Goodhue et al., 2002; J. Kim, Suh, & Hwang, 2003; Sathish et
al.,

2002;
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

Siebel)
and specialist magazines (e.g., destinationCRM.com, CRM Magazine, and

CRM
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

to
reduce costs and increase profitability by solidifying customer loyalty”

(destinationCRM,
2002).

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

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

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

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

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

2003).
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.

 

In
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

established
(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,

2003)
(Levine, 2000) (Swift, 2000) (Rigby et al., 2002) (Ryals and Payne, 2001)

(Greenberg,
2002).

According
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).

Given
that it views CRM as a mix between

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

to
their actual needs.

 

Thus, the
employment of advanced

Technology
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 that transforms
CRM transactions into the internet so as to coordinate customers interactions
within business events and communication channels. A further piece of research
undertaken at e-World Research outlines e-CRM as being a business strategy that
is undertaken via the Internet. This incorporates a range of tasks for evolving
and maintaining customers by enhancing their sense of loyalty and commitment,
which consequently enhances the sales revenue of a business (eWorld Research,
2003). Furthermore, e-CRM was defined by the e-CRM Group in 2003 as being to
regulate associated correspond via communication channels within the company, resulting
in effective interaction between customers and workers.

 

Having
examined the contrasting e-CRM definitions that have been proposed, it appears
that it is becoming more common for CRM and e-CRM to connect varying elements
of customer data and consequently make it more straightforward and accurate to
undertake everyday business process. A variety of services are offered to
customers online by E-CRM, including the ability to make orders, request
supplies or file complaints. E-CRM customers are provided with an effective
form of access to acquire regulation over their accounts; this access is
anytime, anyplace. It is for this reason that CRM is predominantly regarded as
being a value-added method.

 

CRM IT Operational Model

 

At its
core, CRM functionality comprises of contact manager software that is
responsible for obtaining, preserving and recovering customer data within an
individual configuration, such as Microsoft Outlook – Contact application
(Zikmund et al., 2003). Additionally, CRM is comprised of a range of
complicated, incorporated IT aspects including information warehouse and marts,
and analytical devices that are employed to obtain and scrutinise data from
various inbound touchpoints, with access to various outbound touchpoints also
available, such as MySAP and

Oracle)
(Turban, McLean et al., 2003). The most intricate processes incorporate alternative
functional aspects of the organisation, such as integrating ERP) (Greenberg,
2002; O’Brien, 2004).

 

There
are three core elements of CRM that can be utilised individually, introduced gradually
or incorporated from the start – analytical, operational, and collaborative
CRM.

 

CRM Strategic Model

 

The
CRM strategic framework is premised on the perspective and beneficial and
advantageous CRM stems from synchronised cross-functional strategies and
actions in a business (Payne & Frow, 2004, 2005, 2006). There is coordination
between the five business processes – the control of information, the
examination of performance, multi-channel integration, the establishment of
value and the progression of strategy – that link to present the most
significant benefit to customers and shareholders. There is indication in Figure
2.5 of the association between the varying processes involved in business,
stressing the interrelated and iterative nature of CRM.

 

CRM Process Model

 

This
part outlines a conventional CRM approach and emphasises the prospective
disparity between the CRM process and the strategy of relationship marketing.
CRM process are a significant element of the development of information
technology to sustain an enhance business operations and their interactions
with customers (O’Brien, 2004; Turban, McLean et al., 2003). CRM technology is
a form of IT application that is is comprised of three elementary subsystems –
an input element, a data base element, and a delivery element (Goodhue et al.,
2002; Zikmund et al., 2003). Amongst the other aspects that might be relevant
are campaign management and analysis mechanisms (Ling & Yen, 2001; The Data
Warehousing Institute, 2000). There is written discourse on this subject that
forms a distinction between CRM and e-CRM (electronic CRM) (e.g., Fjermestad
& Romano, 2003; Romano, 2000); other writers regard e-CRM as supplementing
CRM technology within the e-commerce field, as opposed to being an alternative
application or tool (Greenberg, 2002; Turban, McLean et al., 2003).

Figure
2.6 presents a strategy concept of CRM. This firstly entails obtaining customer
data at frequent intervals and secondly utilising such information to regulate
customer contact via processes such as marketing strategies and direct sales
offers. The third aspect is the evolution of business and marketing approaches,
the fourth Is the advancement of marketing strategies, and the fifth involves
assessing success, whilst improving the customer database (M. L.

Roberts,
2003; Zablah et al., 2004). The main perspective for this approach is that the organisation
undertakes the compilation of data frequently, improving this database and
using the data gathered effectively. This enables information regarding the
customer to be compiled, maintained and presented to individuals contacting
customers. This handling of customer data enables more marketing programmes to
be established and undertaken. Responses are acquired from the marketplace,
with customer information being modified and improved, whilst new data and
strategies are also formed. This is an iterative and regular CRM process and is
akin to the approach of the knowledge management systems (KMS) (e.g., Alavi

&
Leidner, 2001; Shoemaker, 2001; Zablah et al., 2004).

The
concept has similarity with the foundation point of market orientation referred
to beforehand. This is because the core elements of an MO organisation are its
constant compilation of customer information, its collection of data related to
the performance of its opposition, the distribution of data across different
elements of the organisation, and the use of the data to enhance customer benefit
(Kerin et al., 2003; Kohli et al., 1993; Narver & Slater, 1990). Yet there
are various limitations to this process including the lack of direct connection
to other aspects of the organisation such as operations, finance and IT, and
the emphasis on the organisation instead of the consumer (cf. Kapoulas, Ellis,
& Murphy, 2004). The conventional marketing product emphasis, devising
benefit propositions from the 4P marketing mix concept, (i.e., process c in
Figure 2.6), indicates a shortcoming in the research. The conventional CRM
concept does not sufficiently allow for the broader aspects of relationship
value and the possible influence of the organisation’s MO referred to
previously (Grönroos, 1990).

 

Current CRM Use

 

Currently,
CRM is predominantly utilised by sales, sales support and customer service
personnel (including call centres and telemarketers) to present a united and
strategic contact point to consumers. Additionally, it is utilised as a
marketing strategy in an attempt to target distinct consumers, assist with the
progression of marketing strategies, and help in monitoring the actions of the
customers (Ling & Yen, 2001; Shoemaker, 2001; Speier & Venkatesh,
2002).

CRM
depends on the close cooperation of the IT, and sales and marketing departments;
the advantages of CRM will otherwise not come to full fruition. However, this
has not always been the situation (Ryals & Knox, 2001; Yu, 2001).
Furthermore, and compliant with the MO outlook, CRM compiles, regulates and
implements extensive consumer data and therefore is possibly a significant
element of the knowledge of an organisation (Alavi & Leidner, 2001;
Davenport & Klahr,

1998;
Kerin et al., 2003; Richard, 2003; Zablah et al., 2004).

CRM
technology benefits the organisation by increasing the ease with which
individuals can conduct business, placing the emphasis on the end-customer for
the goods and services offered by the business, changing business activity to
comply with the end-customer’s perspective, establishing an extensive,
developing business structure, and increasing the loyalty of the customer base
(Turban, Rainer et al., 2003). Additionally, CRM processes additionally have
the capacity to become a crucial aspect of “business fulfilment,” enhancing
advantage to the consumer by incorporating all the aspects of the company,
including sales, distribution and invoicing (Markowitz, 2002).

This
said, as indicated extensively below, there has been varying responses to the
utilisation of the CRM system, within both the academic field (e.g., Karimi et
al., 2001; Ling & Yen, 2001; Speier & Venkatesh, 2002) and popular
writing (e.g., Arnold, 2002; Casselman, 2003; Le Pla, 2002; Markowitz, 2002).
One of the difficulties faced by the CRM Industry is the “overpromising and

underdelivering”
according to the PeopleSoft Chief Executive and President Craig Conway.
Consequently, it is regarded that CRM insufficiently fulfils the business
requirements of the modern day environment (Markowitz, 2002).

 

CRM Issues

 

Whilst
CRM is compliant with marketing theory in some key ways (Abbott, Stone, &
Buttle, 2001; Kotler, 2003; Ling & Yen, 2001), is effective for an organisation
(Buttle, 2004; Greenberg, 2002; Zikmund et al., 2003) and widely accessible
today (Turban, McLean et al., 2003), there are still significant problems that
it encounters today (Adebanjo, 2003; Arnold, 2002; Davids, 1999; Nairn, 2002;
O’Brien, 2004; Raman & Pashupati, 2004; Rheault & Sheridan, 2002; Turban,
McLean et al., 2003). A number of popular business magazines (Le Pla, 2002; Markowitz,
2002), in addition to commercial research groups (IDC, 2002), have produced
critical reviews regarding the utilisation of CRM technology, emphasising the
limited commercial advantages acquired from extensive CRM investment. Effective
CRM technology utilisation and employment necessitates apparent, organised and
long-term senior management involvement and substantial changes in the company
if all the potential advantages are to be enjoyed (Bohling et al., 2006;
Casselman, 2003; Fleischer, 2002; Ling & Yen, 2001; Yu, 2001).

The
underpinning objective of CRM technology is to ensure the loyalty of consumers
and to increase overall profitability. Yet, it is asserted by the META Group  that “55% of all CRM projects don’t produce
results” (R. Davis, 2002; Seligman, 2002). Research into 1,500 organisations
indicated that 91% are considering or have used CRM resolutions but 41% of
companies with CRM projects had encountered substantial difficulties with
utilising this (The Data Warehousing Institute, 2000). R. Davis (2002) asserted
that as many as 70% of firms has not accrued any advantage from using the CRM
technology or have not succeeded in fulfilling the elementary objectives of the
organisation, such as ROI. To some degree, this might indicate the problems in
detecting and synching the suitable CRM investments and

returns
(Ang & Buttle, 2002). Further research suggests that 20% of senior
executives stated that CRM strategies had not succeeded in providing profitable
growth and there were instances where harm had in fact been caused to
relationships with customers that were already held (Rigby et al., 2002a).

CRM
vendors have responded to these criticisms by conducting improvements,
emphasising the need for further features, efficiency and advantages (Songini, 2002).

CRM
“success” is not suitably defined within writing related to this field. To some
extent, this can be considered to reflect the problems in coming to a consensus
regarding a definition of the term; the alternative strategies used in CRM
research are also contributory factors. The predominant emphasis of the IT
research is on measuring and providing an awareness of the difficulties
encountered with utilising the CRM system (e.g., Brown & Vessey, 2003;

Goodhue
et al., 2002; Plakoyiannaki & Tzokas, 2002), major success elements (e.g.,

Bose,
2002; H.-W. Kim et al., 2002; Romano, 2000), and enhancing the implementation
of CRM (Ahn, Kim, & Han, 2003). The effectiveness of CRM has been
calculated by other scholars in terms of the aspects of the quality of the
information and the systems, the feedback from customers, and the adherence and
utilisation of the DeLone and McLean IS Success Model

(DeLone
& McLean, 1992, 2003; H.-W. Kim et al., 2002). Brown and Vessey (2003, p.66)
outlined the IT viewpoint regarding the effectiveness of utilising CRM by
referring to: “an up-and-running system with agreed-upon requirements delivered

within
schedule and budget.” There have only between a limited number of empirical
research that has tried to directly connect the effectiveness of CRM with the
performance of a company or relationships, using measurement tools such as
retention or market share (e.g., Croteau & Li, 2003; J. W.

Kim et
al., 2004).

This
conflicts with market research, which has predominantly emphasised the
influence of CRM upon customer relationship aspects (e.g., Day, 2000; Garbarino
&

Johnson,
1999; Lemon et al., 2002; Reinartz & Kumar, 2003). This does not suggest
that marketing researchers have overlooked the prospective elements of CRM
relating to the company’s performance; they have discovered, for instance, that
CRM technology generally favourably impacts upon business performance and
aspects relating to customer satisfaction (e.g., Gummesson, 2004;

Raman
& Pashupati, 2004; Reinartz et al., 2004; Srinivasan & Moorman, 2005).

The
aim of CRM marketing research is to more directly connect success to
organisation performance indicators, whilst additionally reviewing the overlap
of RM utilisation and IT efficiencies (e.g., Gummesson, 2004; Lemon et al.,
2002; Peppard, 2000;

Reinartz
et al., 2004). The management literature seems to take a more overall
perspective of CRM “success”, placing emphasis on the way in which CRM can be
utilised as a catalyst for change to initiate the progression of a company
(Rigby & Ledingham, 2004; Seybold, 2001) or to assist with organisational
processes aimed to be of benefit to the customer (Reinartz & Kumar, 2002;
Winer, 2001; Zeithaml, Rust, &

Lemon,
2001). The literature present states that CRM “success” can stem from effective
utilisation of the CRM system (Brown & Vessey, 2003; Ling & Yen, 2001),

the
capacity of CRM to assist with the customer facing elements of an MO
organisation process (Gummesson, 2004; Raman & Pashupati, 2004), and
enhancing economic results (Reinartz et al., 2004).

It is
clear that the disappointing results outlined for CRM utilisation can to some
extent by attributed to the contradictory CRM concepts and associated research.
Some elements connected to CRM success are the failings to distinguish, examine
and scrutinise CRM technology aspects aside from CRM strategic, organisational
and business elements, to accurate distinguish CRM investment, and to observe
and assess the dependent variables, such as loyalty, profitability and
retention (Ang & Buttle, 2006; J. Kim et al., 2003; Reinartz et al., 2004).
Studies into CRM have generally focused on enhanced profitability and
performance, and figures relating to customer retention, with limited emphasis
on assessing relationship progress(Aspinall et al., 2001; Hirschowitz, 2001). The
scarce reports regarding CRM achievement have largely placed emphasis on the
effectiveness of project management, enhanced data quality, and strategic
preparation for CRM utilisation (Bohling et al., 2006; Bose, 2002; Kennedy, Kelleher,
& Quigley, 2006; Nguyen et al., 2007; Yu, 2001). Other writers contemplate
the foundation of CRM evaluation and success as a customer intimacy aspect that
believe that customers ought to have the capacity to identify some quantifiable
growth as a result of effective CRM technology utilisation (e.g., Payne, 2006).

The
difficulties with CRM utilisation have been contrasted with the initial stages
of ERP utilisation, suggesting that soon the aspects making CRM technology
effective might be better understood and quantifiable indications of success
might be achieved more consistently (Brown & Vessey, 2003; Sheng, 2002;
Woodcock & Starkey, 2001; Yu, 2001). Most studies into CRM, whilst placing
emphasis on what has to occur within a company for CRM to be utilised
effectively, (Chalmeta, 2006; Nguyen et al.,2007) do accord with the MO aspects
and business concept referred to previously. Some of the essential elements in
CRM utilisation, referred to extensively in the upcoming sections, incorporate
a culture focused on the customer, a strategy connected with IT management, an
executive commitment, and the incorporation of individuals, strategy and
technology.

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is unclear.