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Web-enabled CRM touted for companies with decentralized operations

Christine M. Campbell, Assistant News Editor

A growing number of companies are decentralizing their operations, making it necessary to find ways for their workforces to access critical customer and enterprise data. In this situation, companies need integrated, Web-enabled CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to fight for their competitive survival, according to Cal Yonker, chief executive officer of consulting firm Crestone International.

The fact that companies are moving toward a distributed workforce, complete with virtual offices and remote workers, presents a unique management challenge, according to Yonker. The way to meet this challenge is to implement an integrated CRM/ERP system that, with a single URL, allows customers, employees and partners to view critical data, he said.

With a properly implemented system, companies can reduce costs and increase productivity by allowing employees and managers to access company resources from any standard Web browser. Employees can also administer their own benefits. The Web integration also helps generate revenue by enabling real-time information capture on prospects and clients, one-to-one prospect and client marketing and simplified communications between employees, partners and clients, he said.

"Companies will need a Web-based system just to remain competitive," Yonker said. "The faster they identify their implementation partner and move their system onto the Web, the more competitive they will be."

Since the concept of a Web-based

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system is relatively new, many companies lack the experience necessary to get the software up and running, according to Yonker. The deployment is easy, as it is simply a matter of e-mailing a URL to employees, but the hard part is to find the right software and implement it, the company said.

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Crestone International

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