Posted: August 8, 2007 in CRM
The front office computing market continues to impress me despite the fact that I have been covering it for so long. Early solutions evolved into suites that covered what we once thought were all of the niches possible but the surprising thing is that all that coverage simply initiates many new niches. Today we talk about the customer experience but increasingly we also have a growing sense of how important it has become to integrate the front office with the back office.
Front to back integration has been on a lot of radar screens for a long time though initially it referred more to the idea of bringing together production systems and sales. For example, sales data can and does perform a lot of useful work up the supply chain to help tune production and delivery. Increasingly though, we’re seeing a lot of focus on the reverse trip — back office numbers influencing the ways that front office workers operate.
Some of the more interesting front-to-back integrations these days might really be classified as back-to-front for the ways that centralized data is transforming the front office. Some examples include compensation management, sales effectiveness and configuration-pricing-quotation.
We’ve looked at compensation management before but what’s interesting to me is how many organizations zipped through the idea that compensation management is important for calculating commissions and went straight to using it to influence the behavior of their sales representatives.
You can’t say enough about getting sales and finance people out of their spreadsheets and into a database driven application. The database enables things you can only dream about with a spreadsheet, like reporting and customizing plans to meet organizational needs as well as to spike performance. That’s all good back office thinking but the fact is that when you take the...