Business Process Change and CRM

John Eccles, 08 September 2011

Business Process Change and CRMProcesses are at the heart of any businesses.  These processes need to change in order to be more productive and more competitive.  CRM can be a part of that change. The principles of Business Process Redesign can be applied to the design of CRM and XRM systems.


Principles of Process Redesign

The following theory and principles are taken from chapter 3 of “Redesigning Enterprise Processes for e-Business, El Sawy, Omar A. (2001)”

Principle #0: Remove waste, simplify and consolidate similar activities. 

This is common-sense management that should be the starting point of any change to Business Processes.  For a CRM system, this principle implies that we should minimize clicks, minimize number of screens and remove unnecessary information from the screen.

Fundamental Approaches Business Process Change and CRM

There are three fundamental approaches to improving Business Processes outlined by El Sawy: 

1. Restructure and reconfigure the process

Do things in different ways in order to be faster and/or more flexible and/or more efficient.  For example, change from a batch process to a continuous process. 

2. Change the information flows around the process

Collect information once and make it available as required.  Provide the right information at the time it is needed in the process. 

3. Change knowledge management around the process

As the process runs, information can be collected and used to be more effective.

The 10 Principles of Business Process Redesign

These approaches can be further divided into 10 principles and each principle can help us with a CRM or XRM system: 


Application to CRM/XRM

1. Lose Wait

Eliminate or reduce waiting time in a process.  In traditional processes, products and services are receiving value added only 5% of the time!

Make processes faster
Input data only once
Automate responses
Automatic workflows
Use continuous systems rather than batches

2. Orchestrate

Partner with other enterprises to utilize their skill or speed of execution

Facility to integrate with other software at other enterprises

3. Mass-Customize

Flex the process for any time, any place, any way

Provide 24/7 customer access via a web portal
Provide for customers to customize their order online

4. Synchronize

Synchronize the physical and virtual parts of the process

Integrate with bar-code scanners to track physical movement of products through a process.

5. Digitize and Propagate

Capture information digitally at the source and propagate it through the process

Shift data-entry to customers where possible
Aim for paperless
Make information easily accessible especially to decision-makers

6. Vitrify

Provide process transparency through fresher and richer information about the status of the process

Provide on-demand tracking information for customers – perhaps via a web-portal
Process dashboard and reports
Access to information for partners

7. Sensitize

Fit the process with the means to feed-back problems and changes


Provide a means for customers to comment on the process – perhaps via a web portal or perhaps a response to a system-generated SMS message
Collect and monitor pertinent external information – such as competitor pricing

8. Analyse and Synthesize

Provide interactive analysis and synthesis capabilities around the process to generate value added

Dashboards that provide “slice and dice” data analysis capabilities to detect patterns
Integrate with other systems to provide pertinent data

9. Connect, Collect and Create

Grow intelligently reusable knowledge around the process through all who touch it

Provide a forum or knowledge sharing spaces  for process users to communicate and learn from each other’s experience
Provide for a FAQ database

10. Personalize

Make the process intimate with the preferences and habits of participants

Record preferences of customers
Insert business rules (perhaps workflows) that are triggered based on the preferences of a customer
Personalize offers


These are just some of the applications to CRM / XRM systems that came to mind.  Any further ideas would be appreciated.