Q

Is there a future in CRM?

I have been working as a Developer on a Siebel CRM Project for Motorola for the past 6 months. I have no previous IT/ CRM experience. In fact, this happens to be my first job after college. Although I am not averse to making a career in this field, the recent slump in CRM industry and its bleak future have forced me to rethink my career options. Do you think it would be wise to switch over to a new field or should I place my faith in...

CRM? This is a great and very interesting question, but where to start? I am not much for giving career advice (I started out as a biochemist!) but I have always found that the old saying is true: Do what you like and the money will follow, unless of course your horizon is limited to catching a wave, but there are jobs in that too, Dude. As for the future of CRM, which is what this question is really about, I don't share anyone's pessimism about the future of this industry. A down economy hurts everything and the reverse is usually true except for buggy whip manufacturers (see a pattern emerging?). The truth from my parochial perch is that companies will always need customers and that the trajectory of the business world is that customers are becoming ever more sophisticated about their wants and needs as well as likes and dislikes and that is where CRM comes in and where it will play an expanding role. I'd recommend taking a look at a new book The Support Economy which is somewhat mistitled since it's about a lot more than support. The authors Shoshana Zouboff of Harvard Business School and her CEO husband, Jim Maxmin, point out that the business model of the 20th century was based on a manufacturing paradigm – and coincidently early CRM was built to support that paradigm. The model of the 21st century looks much more like a web or an ecosystem, there are lots more variables to consider and more balls in the air. This more complex world will require computer automation to keep everything in balance and that's why I think CRM has a lot of job security in it, even if we ultimately change the name to reflect 21st century realities. Best of luck!  

This was first published in February 2004

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