Friday, December 23, 2005

Relationship Capital Management Software and CRM

The term “Relationship Capital Management” has traditionally applied to the development and management of clients and prospects of an organization. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have been in place for a number of years, originally designed to increase customer loyalty and thus allow for better opportunity and account management. However, these systems do not allow for identifying and managing all potential relationships within the company ecosystem that may affect an organization: customers, prospects, competitors, partners, influencers, media, human capital (or talent), and other third parties.

Traditionally, the focus of CRM initiatives has been on driving down costs and creating richer customer data. As organizations gear up again to drive top-line growth, the need for CRM solutions to focus on customer intelligence and account development increases.

Where relationship capital management has potential to increase the utility of CRM / SFA solutions: by improving sales effectiveness, via identification of broader range of contacts that may affect the sales process; and consequently, the identification of best practice strategies & processes to develop high value customers and market segments. For example:

  • Extend the reach of customer care solutions by incorporating more comprehensive business development intelligence gathering; especially important in the development of vertical - specific applications (for the services industry, for example)
  • Broaden the network of contacts beyond just prospects, and make inclusive partners, competitors, and other third parties
  • Utilize customer intelligence to provide insights into prospect and customer – specific value propositions and appropriate communication strategies

Coming up: some strategies to fully leverage a relationship capital management system....

Read more!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Advent of Relationship Ecosystems

Is the tech world moving away from a hierarchial partner relationship model, to a networked relationship system? In discussions with both start up software firms and the larger ISVs, I have seen the evolution of partnerships and alliances moving from '1 - 1' partnerships to 'Many - Many' relationships.....

(this is not "Manny being Manny" as they say in in Manny Ramirez, slugger for the BoSox)

Certainly SAP has stepped out in front with the relationship ecosystem concept: "Industry Value Network" refers to the SAP / partner ecosystem designed for complete and integrated solutions into specific vertical markets. How is a industry value network different than a ISV partner program?

Core areas include:

- Strategic Alliances with key platform & technology vendors
- Niche and vertical specific vendors fill in core white spaces
- Go to Market strategy is completely aligned
- Most importantly, there are inter relationships developed among partners, so that the partner ecosystem in networked and not hierarchial

Obviously, the challenges of developing and managing such an ecosystem are higher in the initial recruitment and developmental phases, and do require a more global and inter-networked management model. For smaller ISVs, the key is to identify those specific white spaces in the business solution and what specific tier 'n' partners to develop, and not worry about obtaining a direct relationship with the 'gorilla' . Read more!