I'll take CRM for $500, please

Steve LeSueur

Answer: A technology, a product, a solution, a strategy.

Question: What is customer relationship management?

This issue we look at CRM, which at various times has been offered as any one of the above answers. Perhaps it's all four. After all, some beers are purported to taste great and be less filling.

Staff Writer William Welsh talked with integrators who are taking CRM to the federal market. Many of them view CRM as a strategy that can help agencies fulfill the growing requirements for government-to-government transactions and information sharing. Their enthusiasm is shared by market forecasters, who predict 18 percent annual growth in the federal CRM market over the next five years.

If you want a CRM success story, David Molchany, the chief information officer of Fairfax County, Va., can tell you how CRM has helped improve government services, from libraries to traffic tickets to tax payments, in his county. Managing Editor Evamarie Socha interviewed Molchany for our "Survival Guide" interview in the back of the magazine.

Finally, columnist Thomas Davies offers a more skeptical view, saying CRM companies have not effectively educated government customers about what CRM is and how it can serve government's unique needs. "Get more than two or three people in a room, and you can spend all day debating whether it's a technology, a product or
a strategy," Davies said.

Let the debate begin.

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