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CRM vs. portal tool

We are implementing a new lease and retail system. Our CIO has decided to separate the back end from the presentation...

layer. He has been talking about bidding to CRM solution providers like Siebel or SAP. He has been looking from the point of view (POV) of the Customer Service Reps as opposed to from the POV of how to best serve the customer. How can I change that view? Also, he's been calling the CRM tool a portal tool. However, in my reading, an enterprise wide portal like Plumtree or SAP seems to be something different. Are they different? Or are these areas merging? Thanks very much! 'Portal' and 'CRM' tools are alike in that the user interface of each touches the customer (online) or the rep (if applicable) - so from a 'front end' perspective he's somewhat correct. But generally what a Portal does is open up back-end systems - while a CRM application IS a system itself (in other words, one is a window into an app - the other IS an app). It's very hard to give specific advice without knowing more detail as to what you're trying to do and what your current environment is. I would say in terms of 'POV' that if the process generally involves the rep, then getting the rep involved is critical. If this is more of a self-service, web capability then the customer's POV is more critical. But they shouldn't be in conflict - it sounds to me as if you should try to encompass BOTH. In any case, why don't you send me a note with more detail direct via e-mail - there's too much I don't know but with more info hopefully I can give you a more specific answer.

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