Customer relationship management (CRM) is gaining more acceptance in both the IT and business arenas. And it’s predicted that CRM spending and use will increase, despite the current economic climate.

According to Gartner, a Stamford, CT-based consultancy, “Worldwide CRM software and services spending will reach $76.3 billion in 2005, up from $23 billion in 2000.”

But despite those predictions, CRM is still a conundrum for many organizations. CRM can piece together a complete picture of your organization’s customers, including their purchasing habits and their loyalty to your business. Yet, historically, CRM has been costly and time consuming. If not handled carefully, CRM can zap your organization of money and other resources.

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CRM doesn’t have to be a mystery. We can help. TechRepublic has reported on CRM for many months, and our archives contain a store of information that can help you make decisions about CRM.

Here are the links to the most recent articles and opinion columns about CRM. Feel free to browse through the selections below or conduct your own TechRepublic search by typing CRM in the Search query box above.

Customer-friendly initiatives
CRM compiles customer data to provide a clear picture of who your customers are and what they need from you. Then, in theory, your organization can use that information to increase both customer loyalty and sales.

But compiling and using this information can be costly. According to Charles Zug, the vice president for interactive marketing for Brown-Forman Corporation, CRM initiatives are worth the investment for any company that wants to develop an enterprise system that provides a snapshot of its customers.

These articles offer a background of CRM, CRM terms, and market catchphrases. Here’s what you need to know to stay informed about CRM.

Keep your head above water
CRM initiatives benefit from careful planning and a structured implementation environment. Yet even with forethought, CRM plans can experience bumps along the road to implementation. The following articles offer advice on keeping your CRM initiatives afloat even during the most adverse situations.

  • “Five myths about CRM projects”
    Managing expectations and debunking misconceptions is crucial when you begin a CRM implementation. Take note of these five false CRM statements that you may encounter along the way.
  • “Planning tips can help ensure CRM success”
    Implementing a CRM system is an expensive process, and in these economic times, businesses need to get it right the first time. These tips from Gartner analyst Beth Eisenfeld can help you properly plan for CRM.
  • “Top 10 do’s and don’ts for CRM”
    Many of the problems that rip apart CRM projects have little to do with technology. This article offers a list of 10 key points that are critical to a successful implementation.
  • “Wanted: Clear standards for CRM”
    Gartner said that the lack of CRM industry standards for vendors and enterprises hinders the CRM market. Find out how in this Gartner report.

What’s next for CRM?
If you find someone with a crystal ball, make friends fast. While the CRM market is expected to grow, there will be a gnashing of teeth in the CRM arena before the market settles and the top vendors emerge. These articles take a look at the future of CRM.

  • “What’s in store for CRM?”
    How does the economic climate affect your CRM plan? What kind of database architecture is best for CRM data? A Gartner analyst answers these and other questions from IT professionals.
  • “Despite doubt, CRM adds value to ‘old economy’ enterprise”
    CRM can be labor and capital intensive, and the results of CRM efforts may not be immediately measurable or even evident. But according to one interactive marketer, it’s a gamble you have to take.
  • “CRM in 2001: Vendors must adapt to survive”
    This year, CRM vendors are paying attention to their customers and creating solutions that are easier to use. Here is a look at how CRM vendors are adapting their products to help their clients.
  • “CRM in 2001: A bright but tight future”
    The year 2001 will prove the merits of CRM software. But the hype about CRM is dying, and untamed spending is declining. Three industry experts give their take on what will happen to CRM.

What do you know about CRM?

Have you implemented a full CRM suite or a component of CRM? What problems did you encounter? E-mail us or start a discussion below.