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What the 'No App' world means to CRM?

·3 mins

Intercom has a post about how notification windows, and cards are changing what an app means, and how it will change in the near future .

This is interesting in many ways. The primary takeaways for me were -

  • Instead of thinking a system where user has to open an app to view/do something, the action will shift to the notification window.
    I do this for emails, and have often longed for a system that can do a quick reply/delete/snooze emails from the notification bar in my Android. Same goes with Twitter, Facebook et. al., and also to do things like annotate your run,
  • Android cards are going to change this further by providing cards to hold and publish content
  • The new challenge then, will be to maintain context and provide the same value through notification window
  • Integrations between anything and everything will be part of the new frontier

While the app relegates to the background, the apps of today compete to “get the job done better”. You do not see a screen full of apps, but they will open when there is a need to do that thing.

If you have been a smart phone user, this makes absolute sense to you.

So, how does it tie back to CRM?

CRM today is often distributed amongst the various applications in the enterprise. Though we are all behind the mythical 360 degree view of customer, that often ends with the marketing material published by the product vendor. Instead what you get is a screen that shows you “some” information about customer, but would need user actions like drilling down on record to do anything more complex.

CRM has to change -

  1. CRM information is everywhere
    Take the same examples above. No matter what “app” you use, you should have contextual information for customer available at your finger tips.
  2. No matter what actions you are taking in any piece of application, it has to tie back into the CRM system
    You may be invoicing a customer and see an opportunity to reward the customer for all bills paid on time for the last 2 years, you are demonstrating your new product to customer on your Android tablet when you want to capture feedback and act on it, and a million other things. You should be able to quickly capture information that needs to tie back to the core CRM.
  3. Be intelligent to recognize the context
    CRM systems should “get” context. When you are talking about long term payment plans, know how customer payments have been in the last 1 year. When you are talking about how your latest medical surgery device can benefit the customer, pull in the information about how the customer business has been impacted by the lack of safety in the recent past. Pull that information in, regardless of the app that is responsible for aggregating news.
  4. Integration MUST follow “think, done” pattern.
    No developers, no waiting time, and no complex testing. Your business user sees a value in getting specific information from your invoicing system to add value to her customers - she gets it done then, and there. If there are “things” that can talk to your CRM system, identify the “thing” and integrate. That is where Zapier or IFTTT are doing, and there is no reason why it cannot be done within the enterprise.

It is all good to apply old school architecture principles and segregate business process and data, but it is not funny any more to isolate everything in pockets.