CRM started its journey early in the late 1950s as a simple Rolodex perched on the desk of most offices. Believe it or not, this device still exists in offices today.
Inspired by the advent of Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMSs), developers started creating applications such as booking management systems, inventories, and product management. These systems eventually gave rise to salesforce management systems. Siebel was perhaps the most popular provider of salesforce management systems. During the late 1990s, the concept of CRM was developed. However, following several failed projects and negative publicity, CRM software became known as a glorified address book with a database. Due to the negative publicity and the advent of more sophisticated Enterprise Resource Planning ERP systems, demand for CRM decreased.
The increasing rate of growth in business, and popularity of internet, spawned a new market for web based Content Management Systems (CMS). CMS capitalised on the concept of customisation and configuration of a database through the application front end – via an admin user. Additionally, being web based meant that there was nothing to install on client machines. Web based applications were easy to manage and control centrally through the use of meta-data. This was a much-welcomed trend in comparison to managing fat clients scattered across the organisation. This reduced total cost of ownership, provided a flexible platform which could be moulded and shaped by the general user without the need for a developer.
The then basic CRM concept (limited to salesforce automation and service management) transformed into the evolved concept of XRM (“X” refers to any business process). Today CRM is one of the cornerstones of the business. It provides a customer-centric way to operate which is at the centre of everything and with social capabilities of CRM, companies are becoming more collaborative with their customer. In conclusion, CRM has evolved, and it now holds a well-deserved place in an enterprise solution continuum.