Management in organizations may prove to be an uphill task if the various portfolios within the organization are not properly coordinated. The same will be the case if one of the portfolios does not perform its duties well. For an organization to have a good management system, support departments should particularly perform their duties with extra care to ensure that decision-makers are given reliable and timely information when need be. One of these departments is the Information Technology (IT) department.
This is because the Information Technology (IT) department in any organization provides managerial information to other departments. The IT department is particularly linked to the department dealing with customer relations in an organization because of its responsibility in information systems management. This paper is an in-depth analysis of the role played by information systems management in customer relationship management.
Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management refers to all activities and organizational aspects related to customer relations as well as the management of data and information related to customers (Ganapathy, 2007, p. 1). Customer relationship management, therefore, covers all activities that an organization undertakes in a bid to give better services and/or goods to their customers. An organization will, ordinarily, have a module within its information system that deals with customer information. This information is normally used by the organization to make customer-related decisions to ensure more customer satisfaction. From this definition of customer relationship management, it is apparent that customer relationship management is closely related to information systems management.
Information systems management
Information systems management refers to the activities undertaken by an organization in a bid to ensure that the organization reaps maximum benefit from its Management Information System (MIS). Information System Management may thus involve activities like maintenance of the information system, customization of certain modules within the MIS to ensure that the MIS serves to achieve the strategic objectives of the organization, management of data entry and/or capture in the MIS to ensure its integrity, relevance and accuracy or even checking and adjusting the MIS to conform with the policies of the organization (Baker, 2005, p. 116).
For instance, if the organization has a policy of employing at least twenty percent of staff members from each gender, the MIS, through information systems management can be used to track the status of gender diversity within the organization and analyze the relevant data to give proposals for subsequent hiring. In this paper, we will concentrate on the aspects of information systems management that are related to customer relationship management.
Relationship between customer relationship management and information system management
The best way to ensure that an organization serves its customer in the best way possible is, perhaps, through the use of Management Information Systems. As stated above, virtually all MISs have modules for customer-related information. Thus customer-related data is captured and/or entered into the MIS and analyzed later in the MIS depending on the information needs of managers. It is common knowledge that to make a good decision, there is the need to have extensive background information to back up the particular decision. It is for this particular reason that the MIS forms an inseparable part of customer relationship management.
An organization may, for example, need to make decisions on which markets it needs to focus its advertising campaigns in. This will require an analysis of customer location/address data captured in the MIS of the organization. To make a good decision on the markets to advertise, it is of essence that sufficient and reliable data is captured in the MIS of the organization.
This implies that during the day-to-day running of the organization, it must be ensured that sufficient customer data is captured accurately and reliably. This is one of the functions of information systems management, and thus it exemplifies the relationship between customer relationship management and information systems management. Another important aspect of information system management that will substantially affect the goodwill of an organization about its customers is the maintenance of accurate records of complaints and actions taken after the complaints (Barlow, 2008, p. 97).
The MIS of an organization should be able to capture data related to returns, the actions taken after the returns to avoid recurrence of the same, and data quantifying the frequency of complaints of poor service by the personnel of the organization. With such data, the management of the organization will be able to take corrective measures as early as possible. This will result in more customer satisfaction which in turn widens the customer base of the organization. This will lead to more profits.
As evidenced in the discussion above, information systems management has a lot of implications on customer relationship management. Poor information systems management in a given organization will almost certainly lead to poor customer relations management. It is thus of great essence that organizations employ experienced and knowledgeable information systems managers to ensure that the organization not only has better customer relations but also ensures that other portfolios in the organization are properly managed.
Baker, J., Shaw, M. (2005). Information Systems and e-Business Management. Journal No. 10257, pp. 107 – 123.
Barlow, J. (2008). A complaint is a gift: recovering customer loyalty when things go wrong. 2nd Edition. San Francisco, CA. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Ganapathy, T. (2007). Modern CRM Solutions. Web.