Customer Databases


Set up a CRM system

There are a number of practical issues to consider in terms of introducing a marketing database or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system:

  • you will need to estimate the likely scale of the system
  • you will have to strike a balance between your requirements and your available budget
  • you should consider the need or the benefit of integration with other company systems

Learn about the benefits of CRM.

There are a number of choices when setting up a computer-based database. You could create a simple system yourself, perhaps by using a software package such as Microsoft Access, which could fit in with your current computer systems. This is the least expensive option.

Buying off-the-shelf software, perhaps one of the leading CRM packages specifically designed for smaller businesses, is another option. Software companies like Oracle, Navison, SAP, Peoplesoft, Microsoft, Onyx and Pivotal offer applications that integrate with existing accounts and transaction processing packages.

Scaled-down versions of off-the-shelf software, offered by most of the major application providers, may be suitable for smaller businesses. See the page in this guide on how to choose a supplier.

You could commission bespoke software. Consultants and software specialists can customise or design a software solution and integrate it with your existing software and/or your website. This is more appropriate for larger and more complex businesses.

Or you could opt for a managed CRM solution. Rather than buy a software package, many companies offer a service where they own the software and you buy the use of it, normally for a period of time. The supplier, often called an Application Service Provider (ASP), would normally provide expertise to develop and maintain the database. Some suppliers also provide specific CRM services such as data mining – the analysis of patterns and relationships of data within a database.

Learn more about ASPs at the Achieving best practice in your business section of the DTI website.

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