The CRM: the New “Brick and Mortar”

I just read an article in Campus Technology about Cal Poly’s 10 year experience with their CRM tool. The article is an interview of James Maraviglia, Associate Vice Provost of Marketing and Enrollment Development.

What interested me the most is the unexpected impacts the CRM had on the business operation. The CRM “helped us navigate through… Dire budget cuts” he says. He also stares that Cal Poly no longer has to spend a lot of man hours “on traditional paper and phone based out reach”.

I understand that more efficient man hours clearly goes leads to greater productivity; always a goal of work at home and ework programs. I wish, however, Maraviglia had gone into more detail on how the CRM helped tackle the tough task of cutting budgets and reducing expenses. I can make some guesses based on my experiences and the trends I’ve seen with other learning institutions. Reducing real estate costs by virtualizing the workforce is one of those trends. Most emerging technologies support or allow for work anywhere on any device. A good CRM is no exception. I wonder if the virtualization of Cal Poly’s admissions group was one of the cost savings he’s referring to

The CRM, in some ways, is the new brick and mortar of the operation. It’s a key ingredient, along with network and technology, in the workforce virtualization recipe. The information, files, intelligence and collaboration that used to dwell within a companies physical headquarters is now accessible through and delivered by the CRM.

Another important fact that came out of the article was the CRM’s enablement of analytics. Analytics around activity and productivity go a long way towards addressing the fear many middle managers experience when they can no longer see the employees they’re managing. Maraviglia says that they have “the ability to measure everything that they’re doing”. Even better, they’re using the CRM to key in on certain milestones and events to ensure the right follow-up occurs. This further allows management from a distance.

I’d like to get your feedback about your experiences with CRMs and they may be enabling new work methods in your organization. If you’d like to read the Campus Technology article click on the link below. I look forward to your feedback.


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