Bridging the worlds of PLM and CRM
July 9, 2007
I believe in the future you will see more and more software solutions bridging Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM/ALM/SLM).
Your customers will be involved more in your product requirements planning/prioritization/feedback process, and you will be collaborating more with your customers and listening more to them. Well, that is if you want to give your customers what they want, be competitive, and stay in business . This aligns really well with the “agile” product management model (short release cycle and frequent customer feedback), which there is so much hype about already.
Today’s CRM is very one-sided – just your view of the customers (log of calls, contact information, sales forecasts). But you also need to know their view of you. Companies like SATMetrix and IdeaScope preach about that 2nd side of the relation with your customer trying to create a new market for themselves. They call it Customer Experience Management (CEM).
To get that precious feedback, guidance, and loyalty from your customers you need to give them something first, right? That something is your product, your enhancements that are relevant to customers needs, your services that are relevant to their goals. So the way I see it is that your product as a focal point of your business really requires all those pieces working together: CRM, CEM, PLM.
So you will probably see CRM, CEM, PLM solutions integrating more with each other or overlapping more in terms of their own functionality. You already see CRM trying to provide project management capabilities, or PLM trying to provide customer support capabilities, or CEM trying to do product requirements management. Here is a good example where things are going exactly the way I expected: