A Forrester Blog post by William Band reinforces the point that a successful CRM implementation is where CRM serves as the hub of incoming and outgoing data.
I have discussed this frequently - and recently presented on the case for embedding (site requires free trial to access slides and replay) your core business processes around a CRM solution. With integration being one of my mantras for any technology platform - CRM is a natural application to place at the center and assemble the remaining tools required to feed, in some form or fashion, around that data store.
An excellent example in financial services is Redtail Technology. Built on a SaaS (software as a service) model, Redtail has engineered a CRM solution catering to wealth management. Additionally, based on the flexibility of a web-based framework - they also have deployed a web services model that enables them to rapidly build out integrations to critical tools wealth managers use. This has helped them establish a portfolio of partners around portfolio reporting, financial planning, forms automation, client education, document imaging and more.
In my opinion, the addition of a workflow automation tool within Redtail is the icing on the cake. This is where I focus on designing workflows to match manual business processes like:
- Handling prospective clients
- Conversion to active clients (client intake)
- Preparing for client review meetings
- Quarterly reporting
- Seminar planning and management
- Fee billing
These processes are ripe opportunities to build out the automated steps that a CRM system can automate. Thus the steps, once added to the workflow tool in Redtail, are integrated into the dashboard (home page view for all users on the team) as prompts to action on individual tasks. As a task is completed - the next workflow step is triggered. All activities are tracked as an audit trail and teams can report on workflow to look for status and potential bottlenecks.
Band's post on the Forrester blog talks about CRM becoming an "ecosystem" and as a hub for integration. Now is the time for business users to get serious about understanding and exploring how integration can benefit their processes - and for service providers to stay focused on evolving their architectures to support these needs.