Using Your IT Skills in the CRM World
by Paula Jacobs
If you are a skilled IT specialist and want to hop on the customer relationship management (CRM) bandwagon, now is the time. Market demand is high and there's a shortage of skilled labor. A recent Gartner Group Dataquest study found that the worldwide market for Internet-enabled services for CRM would probably reach $19.9 billion in the year 2000. With companies budgeting more than $1 million per year for CRM initiatives (a figure likely to double over the next 12 months), there are tremendous career opportunities for IT professionals who can retool their skills.
Transitioning from the traditional IT world to the CRM market space requires a combination of hard and soft skills. Knowledge of Java and XML, as well as SQL, Oracle, and IBM DB2 databases is especially useful. You should also become familiar with CRM software, which you can easily do by taking at taking a look at the many giveaway CDs on the market or downloading "demo" software from the Web.
Flexibility is also critical. Because time to market is tight, you must be able and willing to move quickly and adapt to significantly more aggressive implementation timeframes than in the traditional IT world.
But some experts say that successful transition to CRM may depend more on your attitude than technical background. That means honing your human relations skills so you can manage customer relationships
"Make sure that the customer is the most important thing in your eyes," says Richard Kramer, CRM Practice Manager in the Chicago office of ONE, Inc., a professional services firm that provides customer-centric e-business solutions.
"IT is not what drives the company," emphasizes Kramer, a 20-year IT veteran, who today helps customers deploy effective customer relationship management solutions. "It is what you do with that. You need to be very focused on your customers and listen very carefully to what their requirements are."
Paula Jacobs is director of The Jacobs Group, a Massachusetts business communication firm.
Did you like this tip? Rate this tip below.
Do you have experience with this tip's topic? We'd like to hear about it. We also want to know your feelings about this tip. Click on the right to send us your comments.
This was first published in January 2001