Book Image

The Art of CRM

By : Max Fatouretchi
Book Image

The Art of CRM

By: Max Fatouretchi

Overview of this book

CRM systems have delivered huge value to organizations. This book shares proven and cutting-edge techniques to increase the power of CRM even further. In The Art of CRM, Max Fatouretchi shares his decades of experience building successful CRM systems that make a real difference to business performance. Through clear processes, actionable advice, and informative case studies, The Art of CRM teaches you to design successful CRM systems for your clients. Fatouretchi, founder of Academy4CRM institute, draws on his experience over 20 years and 200 CRM implementations worldwide. Bringing CRM bang up to date, The Art of CRM shows how to add AI and machine learning, ensure compliance with GDPR, and choose between on-premise, cloud, and hybrid hosting solutions. If you’re looking for an expert guide to real-world CRM implementations, this book is for you.
Table of Contents (15 chapters)
The Art of CRM
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My history with CRM

some 20 years ago, I started my small Customer Relationship Management (CRM) business in Vienna. Since then, I have been involved in a number of CRM implementations across the globe and in various roles. My first role was within a small company in Vienna, where I was delivering CRM solutions to banking clients together with Hewlett-Packard. As my career developed, I spent a period of time being a mentor and trainer, teaching CRM classes across Europe.

Before long, I was working with Microsoft International as a CRM senior architect in both a sales and delivery role for the EMEA, APAC, and LATAM regions, which took me across the world, working with people from multiple countries. As a CRM architect, I've participated in a number of CRM implementations, at some 200 companies, in both pre-sales and delivery roles as the lead architect, designing both some very successful solutions and some not-so-successful designs; solutions of each category will be detailed throughout our journey.

Most of the companies I was engaged with were global companies with operations in multiple countries and continents. Within these companies, I've acted primarily as the CRM lead architect, but sometimes the focus has been put more on a dual role as the architect and/or the project manager.

In a nutshell, all these CRM implementations had common elements, including improving process efficiency and reducing operational costs, along with improving customer interactions and experience across the company, and often across different markets. But these engagements also had some differences. As you will learn in this book, every organization has to implement its own unique sales process based on its vertical, products, industry, culture, strategies, and market position. The one key element we need to know before we start is that what works for one company will often totally fail for another, and throughout this book, we will explore a wide range of good examples that reflect this idea.

I have worked with the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPDB), one of the largest banks in China. This bank specializes in commercial banking and operates as an international hub for the Asian region. Likewise, I've been engaged with Barclays, a British-based bank, and its CRM projects in the UK.

My experience also involves the retail sector, and both universal and private banking. This included working with the Société General in France, where I collaborated with both the corporate and investment banking arms on credit cards and wealth management business. My experience is not limited to just Europe or Asia; it also extends to Central America, where I worked with the Banco Industrial Guatemala, one of the largest retail banks in Central America with a network of more than 1,600 service points throughout the region.

This book is all about storytelling and sharing some of the best, and worst, experiences that I've encountered and learned from as an architect throughout my CRM journey.

You'll find that most of the stories are from the financial services industry, as this has been my primary industry focus for the last 10 years and most of my clients have been from the financial services sector. However, don't worry; all of these examples, as you will see, can be applied to other industries.

I will not disclose customer names or any confidential data in this book, for obvious reasons, but all the stories we explore are real, involving real clients, real customers, and real-world impacts.

The key ingredients for a successful CRM design

The work of a CRM architect is very much like the work of an architect that is designing the structures of a conventional building. This is perhaps the best way to describe what successful CRM design looks like. Much like a traditional architect, a CRM architect also needs to address elements such as security, usability, portability, performance, and regulations.

To highlight the similar elements of CRM architecture work and traditional architecture, I would like to compare two very famous historical buildings, both with very different architectural approaches. The purpose here is to evaluate the key design elements and the resulting outcomes for the Sydney Opera House in Australia and the Taj Mahal in India.

The case of the Sydney Opera House

In his biography, the architect of the Sydney Opera House, Jørn Utzon, talks about his Nordic sense of concern for nature, which, in his design, is emphasized in the synthesis of form, material, and function. His fascination with the architectural legacies of the ancient Mayas, the Islamic world, China, and Japan also enhanced his vision.

This developed into what Utzon later referred to as Additive Architecture, comparing his approach to the growth patterns of nature. A design can grow like a tree, he explained, saying, "If it grows naturally, then the architecture will look after itself."

The construction of the Sydney Opera House began in 1959 and was formally completed in 1973. In total, it ended up costing $69 million during its 15 years of construction. Much like any enterprise CRM project, it was built in three stages:

  • Phase one (1959-1963): Consisted of building the upper podium

  • Phase two (1963-1967): The construction of the outer shells

  • Phase three (1967-1973): Interior design and completing the construction

Yet, if we go back to the original cost and time plan estimate from 1957, the entire projected cost was AU$7 million, and the completion date was due to be January 1963. In reality, the project was completed with a 10-year delay and ended up coming in at 1,300% over budget.

There were numerous disagreements between the architect and the client, and in February 1966, Utzon resigned from the project. The newly appointed architect found himself with an enormous amount of work ahead of him. His task was huge, with many required aspects of the design, such as capacity, acoustics, and structure, having been completely unresolved by Utzon. There were countless issues that he had to face, such as the unexpected difficulty in diverting stormwater. This one issue resulted from construction work beginning before proper construction drawings and planning had been prepared.

Changes were made to the original contract documents, including one that meant the podium columns were not strong enough to support the roof structure, and thus had to be rebuilt, adding a delay to the completion date and more cost to the overall project. The curved shells of the roof also caused a number of problems because they were so difficult to calculate for.

With this project, it was often found that new architectural territory had to be entered and the problems faced were corrected as they were encountered. Through this approach, the design often had to be adapted to new realities on the fly. Years later, the complex geometry of the roof alone, which was redesigned over 12 times in six years, resulted in extensive renovation and redesign work having to take place after only 50 years, which is now due to take until 2021.

The case of the Taj Mahal

On the other hand, the Taj Mahal, which was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his wife, is a masterpiece of architectural design in regard to security, simplicity, performance, and usability. The tomb is the centerpiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house. All of this is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a fortified wall, such as that of a city or a castle.

The Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 and the construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643, after only 11 years. The entire complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653, at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees. Compared to the Sydney Opera House, this project was delivered on time and on budget.

The Taj Mahal has never had any major architectural deficiencies in the 400 years that it's been around. The complex surrounding the building has, over the years, changed its original purpose several times ever since its construction some 400 years ago. Originally serving as a mausoleum, before serving time as a caravanserais, bazaars, and markets, before now serving as a popular tourist site and mosque. Taj Mahal is today one of the major sources of tourism income in India, with some 10 million paying visitors attending each year.

32 million rupees converted from 400 years ago to the current inflation rate of India's currency is almost impossible to calculate. However, a Taj Mahal copy on a 1:1 scale was built by a wealthy private man in Bangladesh. Located about 16 km east of Dhaka in Sonargaon, the construction took five years (2003-2008) to complete, and the cost was reported to be about 58 million dollars, or over four billion rupees.

Will this replica be as successful as the original one? I highly doubt that, but going back to the topic of this book, the same idea can be applied in the CRM space. You cannot replicate the exact same solution by taking it from one company to another and expect it to be as successful. In some cases, as we will see, you cannot even replicate it in the same company if the company is operating across different markets. Each CRM system is built for a specific company and adapted to its culture, supporting the specific business strategies of that company.

The examples in this book will give you a great range of material to support your CRM design. While I'll be highlighting critical success factors, it's important to remember that, as I've stated, these designs are not universal, and they will not work exactly the same outside of their original design; for example, they will not work in another business context. However, the same ideas can be applied outside of their original design.


Throughout this book, we will be exploring the key elements of how to build successful CRM solutions that are highly configurable, while being able to satisfy the security, usability, portability, and performance requirements of a business. At the same time, the systems we will be building will still provide a good total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) ratio, very much like the Taj Mahal example we explored in this chapter.