IT applications have become an essential part of almost any successful business nowadays. There are many examples when the implementation of a significant app has led to a company’s development and increased profit margins. Below, a case study obtained from the personal experience in the framework of the given theme – as well as a thorough analysis of it – will be provided.
I was employed in a company that was a beginner in the resale industry. We were focused on the resell of significant and luxury items – starting from Air Jordan and ending with Gucci. The firm faced the challenge of the over-concentrated power of the business owner. The company was growing, and it was important to implement a new approach to operational management and problem-solving, appealing to appropriate IT solutions. The latter ones were relevant, given the necessity of distant work due to the pandemic.
An entrepreneur is an important and necessary person at the start of a business, but with the growth of the company, he often begins to interfere. Trying to control and understand all the processes in the company, he often destroys his organization. After all, the owner is a person who is not under anyone’s control, who is allowed to change anything in the company, and the individual is not always structured and consistent in their actions. In addition, the business owner usually likes to close many processes on themselves, thus teaching employees that striving for independence and responsibility does not make sense.
After the startup period, it is essential to teach the company to work independently. For this purpose, it was essential for the firm to build an effective operational management function. It was desirable that the operations manager was not the owner. For a person to efficiently manage a company, he or she must have strict accountability. A business owner who runs their own company does not have such responsibilities because he or she is self-employed. Additionally, an entrepreneur is a creative person who generates ideas and is also a “starter” for many spontaneous decisions, which further complicates the process of operational management.
It was expected that the reselling company would demonstrate a considerable extent of organization, given its relatively small size. However, when the enterprise became successful and started to gain significant profits, it was crucial to grow and develop. The owner decided to adhere to the approach of the decentralization of power, which would result in an increased degree of independence of the departments and a smooth working routine.
Then, the client base increased as well, and we had about 20-40 requests per day. Hence, it was also important to process these requests thoroughly and promptly because the firm aimed to establish a good reputation and relationships with loyal customers. Within this scope, we had to provide all clients with high-quality services and constantly monitor our activities and customer feedback. It should be noted that all the staff members were qualified and experienced working force, but we needed to arrange the business in a different, non-centralized way.
Given the abovementioned factors, it became apparent that we had to figure out an IT solution that would fit the desired deliverables of the business process. This solution should have been applicable to our fast and continuous workflow, as well as providing us with the opportunity to be in touch with the client base constantly. A number of responsible individuals were asked to conduct research and come up with proposals. After a few days, we decided to implement a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
CRM systems are designed to optimize a business process for interactions with potential and existing clients. It is true that when it comes to communication and social interaction, people will never be replaced by computers or software algorithms (Salesforce, n.d.). However, CRM systems are not designed to move employees away in terms of the arrangement of communication with a customer. It seems rational to state that their main goal is to advance relations with existing clients, bring potential customers to the stage of payment and increase the efficiency of employees.
Attempts to make a product that would work significantly on the principle of “all in one” rarely end in success. Therefore, some CRM developers have taken a different path, implementing integration with other services, such as accounting, project management, or e-mail. This allows one to make the organization of business processes as seamless as possible and perform most of the work on a single platform.
Until recently, the main problem for the implementation of CRM in most companies was the high cost of boxed solutions and the need to deploy them on the basis of their own infrastructure. With the advent of cloud (SaaS) solutions, this problem, even for a small company, has lost its relevance. The use of such technological solutions in work is beneficial for both small and large businesses.
Many manual processes are automated, which significantly increases the efficiency of employees and the effectiveness of the entire enterprise. A critical aspect here is the ability to move away from the need to use a number of separate tools, such as task scheduling systems. In many CRMs, all this is integrated into a single system. In addition, the interaction between departments becomes more coherent, and the manager can always assess the overall picture of the work if necessary. In a B2B business, for instance, a customer’s life cycle is usually too complex for only one employee to evaluate (Suoniemi, Terho, Zablah, Olkkonen, & Straub, 2021).
Each company has recurring lower-level tasks, such as sending reports for the month, which can take a long time. Some CRMs provide the opportunity to configure them to run automatically without depriving employees of monotonous tasks. A good function in this framework is to make notifications – reminders of deadlines or the need to take action. Further, one of the main benefits of CRM systems that they provide to the company that uses them is the improvement of the overall quality of customer service (Suoniemi et al., 2021). The use of these systems increases the accuracy and simplifies the work on their segmentation.
All information of a particular customer is stored in one place, and if necessary, access to it can be easily given to another person. Tasks in automatic or manual mode are distributed among employees, and they clearly realize what they should do. It should be noted that cloud platforms provide secure and organized storage of customer information. All data is not only stored in one place but also available to authorized users. There is no necessity in paper cabinets and a file in Excel. Moreover, many tasks go wrong when people do everything manually. With the introduction of CRM systems, one is able to plan and monitor processes transparently (Suoniemi et al., 2021). If a failure or a problem that hinders the further implementation of the project takes place, it is not difficult to define what could go wrong and who is responsible for it, as well as how to avert the issue in the future.
The CPM system allows one to save data for disaster recovery if the company’s IT system crashes, is attacked by a virus, etc. Such backups have a relatively short storage period (usually a day or two, then they will be overwritten with newer ones), and the data can be accessed very quickly. Only the latest, up-to-date version of a document can be available in a copy for quick system recovery, and all past versions of a document can be stored in the archive (Rahman & Khan, 2017). It is possible to keep a long-term archive and make casts of the system for disaster recovery, especially if there is little data and the company’s IT infrastructure is simple.
The backup process significantly loads the server from which the information is copied, up to the failure of certain services and unavailability to users. In addition, it is highly desirable that no changes be made to the data at the time it is copied – this can cause various conflicts. It is better not to duplicate data “on the fly” but to create backups when no one is using the system or the load is minimal.
The most appropriate method for a CRM system is to store backups in the cloud in a data center (own or rent from a provider), sending data there and receiving it back through a secure VPN tunnel. The data rate, in this case, is limited by the bandwidth of the channel, but large amounts of data can be compressed using compression algorithms. Such an approach seems to ensure long-term support to the business process thought maintaining data integrity.
To conclude, the above case study is related to the topic of the modern IT application called the CRM system. The latter’s peculiarities, features, and capabilities were discussed in a thorough manner. It may be stated that the implementation of the mentioned app can bring a plethora of benefits to an enterprise.
Rahman, A., & Khan, M. N. (2017). An assessment of data mining-based CRM techniques for enhancing profitability. International Journal of Education and Management Engineering, 7(2), 30–40.
Salesforce. (n.d.). A beginner’s guide to CRM systems. Web.
Suoniemi, S., Terho, H., Zablah, A., Olkkonen, R., & Straub, R. W. (2021). The impact of firm-level and project-level it capabilities on CRM system quality and organizational productivity. Journal of Business Research, 127(1), 108–122.