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The hybrid approach

What are your thoughts on the "hybrid" or "toolkit" approaches some CRM vendors are taking? Examples include: JDEdwards (thru acquiring YOUCentric), Optima, S1 (to some degree). For companies with highly customized and silo-specific sales processes but an interest in a common platform, does this present a solid model? Also, it seems to promote customization while maintaining co-development with a vendor.
I'm wondering if you're talking about an "enterprise-wide" approach when you call it hybrid. What I mean is that there are two basic strategic systems that you find in CRM; enterprise-wide offerings that actually cover considerably more than CRM e.g. PeopleSoft or SAP or JD Edwards who are building full suites that handle pretty much all corporate functions (e.g. finances, human resources, sales, marketing, customer support, inventory management, and any other humanly possible function. The other is more "point solution" focused or "best of breed." This consists of a singular solution that usually represents some niche CRM need such as Sales Force Automation. Most of the latter have some form of integration toolkit. The former are more frequently (and more robustly) coming out with toolkits to basically make sure that their enterprise suite integrates with existing platforms and other applications.

For example, the vendors such as PeopleSoft who have internet architectures are also providing enterprise integration points that are designed to map to third party applications that can reside on disparate platforms, though the preference is full integration on a common platform. Siebel has developed a universal application network (UAN) that is designed to allow Siebel to integrate with other applications on a common platform. Integration strategies for CRM are essential at this time because of the disparate applications, architectures, etc. that exist from company to company.

Is this a solid model? Well, actually, it is one of the very few models really available if you are thinking long term. For example, if you are only interested in sales force automation working on a common platform with other applications, you've automatically taken the consideration out of that single silo to the universal platform you want to work with. Plus, it is common these days to try "pain point" cures and then realize that there are significant other things that have to be done that need to go far beyond the pain. So the optimal strategy for a siloed solution is to define that solution within an enterprise strategy, bite the bullet a little bit and customize the application to your liking. However, at the architectural level, the internet architectures and the common platforms are becoming increasingly standard so that the cost will be held down. But CRM is rarely, if ever, cheap.

If that doesn't answer your question, please send me more clarification on what you're looking for and I'll go back to the board. I can be contacted at paul-greenberg3@comcast.net

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