"There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." (In the know, 2002). This statement by Walton makes clear that the relation a company has to its customers should have highest priority. Customer relationship management (CRM) software, which grew to a big part of the "industry-supporting" software field in the last decade, offers companies a way to collect and evaluate data about their customers.
Statement of Problem
The use of CRM software increases from year to year. The main problem many Information Executives (IE), who are the employees that are mostly working with these systems, see is that "too few companies are paying enough attention to the organizational challenges inherent in any CRM initiative, whether it involves delivering a new solution, fixing a foundering application, or tweaking a functioning CRM capability" (Agarwal, A., Harding, D. & Schumacher, J., 2004). Therefore the management question this paper addresses is "Do the use of CRM software and the data it collects support companies in building and maintaining a better relationship to its customers?" The answer to this question is divided in separate parts as the next section shows. It comprises a combination of the evaluation of different software products and expert-opinions of people working with these products.
Related issues and Sub Problems
The rather widely formulated management question will be answered by dividing it into sub problems. Some of this sub problems deal with hard facts and others evaluate the opinions and judgments of involved people.
The first sub problem entails getting to know the features and abilities of different CRM software products. The research question addressing this sub problem is: "What kind of data can be collected by CRM software?" Several different CRM software products and their features will be examined to solve this problem.
Using the results of this first sub problem, the next step is to answer the question "Can important conclusions about the customers be inferred from data collected...