Technology and processes

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CRM is essentially gaining the most information, and ultimately knowledge, about a client. Data gathering is central CRM requirement, and as important are the integration of processes that gather that data. CRM is inclusive of the whole organization including its internal and external environment and 'key processes must be internally integrated and externally aligned with the corresponding processes of the firm's customers' (Day, 2000), which suggests technology and processes are also central requirements of CRM.

The technology and processes in an organisation can be seen as three distinctive requirements streams: the front-end systems, the back-end systems and data-handling technologies. These three streams present their own challenges of discovery, analysis, documentation, design, and of-course maintenance, before they can be tied into a CRM project. Data warehousing, data mining and knowledge management may have been around in some form or another for some time, but today their direct reason for being is born out of the CRM paradigm. CRM cannot exist without the data-handling technologies of data warehousing, data mining and knowledge management. CRM is essentially gaining the most information, ultimately knowledge, about a client, and central to these requirements is gathering data. All the information about a user can make up the data. Customer service automation does not do this alone. Customer service automation is basically the process of automating the services that interact with the user. Data is collected on the transaction history with the customer in various forms (Schroeck, 2001). Every time the user interacts with our organisation there is some data collected. In paper-based systems the details of the candidate is collected using registration forms, but with automation information can be collected through direct communication and interaction channels, such as EDI, e-commerce, Internet, or even a mixture of manual and automated systems.

Organisations have begun to invest in and automate their collection of data, which is central requirement of CRM (Berson et. al., 1999; Brobst, 2002) and 'the most effective way to create an integrated CRM environment is by implementing a customer data warehouse' (Schroeck, 2001). However, organisations also need a way of sorting and interrogating the data as well as making sense of it. These are the data-handling technologies of CRM. These core technologies include: data warehousing, data mining and knowledge management. There is a fast developing body of knowledge and industry reports discussing these technologies. Essential for CRM systems to operate data needs to be collected in to a central repository or a data warehouse. Data warehousing is a mix of technologies that manage data on two or more databases allowing the data to be used for strategic purposes (Rud, 2001; Berson, et. al., 1999). Data mining provides the tools and techniques used to automate and manipulate data for detecting relevant patterns in a database (Berson et. al., 1999). Interpreting and using data is knowledge management, using the collective knowledge of the client.

A high level of data integrity about a user cannot be achieved if the back-end operations are not working effectively; they feed into CRM like the front-end systems and data-handling technologies. A good overall CRM strategy can provide organisations with opportunities to integrate existing applications and technologies (Petrissans, 1999).

Here are some of the technological features compatible with CRM that we are implementing in the Ultimate Recruitment website.

User Interfaces

The user interface can be divided in to two.

For Candidates.

  1. Candidate Registration Area: In the candidate registration area, all the details of the candidate are inserted through a registration form. Required field validations are also incorporated in this area.
  2. Attachments and supporting documents: Our application allows candidate to attach resumes, cover letter, academic transcripts. There will also be a feature to upload the video resume of the candidate. This is an added option for the candidate.
  3. Search Engine: There will be a functionally rich search region to search for the suitable job for a candidate. There will also be an added feature to search the job specific to different regions as well.
  4. Automated subscriptions: This allows candidates to subscribe to automated job email alerts, personalised to individual job requirements and interests.
  5. Application History: History keeps a log of previous applications that can be accessed online.
  6. Resume Management: This is a special feature for the candidate to help them create, store and share resume online.

For Recruiters:

  1. Job Posting: Recruiters can post the job openings to the website through this area. Details of the jobs and requirements can be added through this area.
  2. Screening Questions: Application is able to filter, screen, score candidates according to the application responses.
  3. Acknowledgements: There is also a feature to send automated email acknowledgements for the relevant steps in the recruitment process.
  4. Interviews: Additional feature is provided to manage all interviews online. Candidate can also book themselves into pre-determined schedule.
  5. Communications: Application will manage all candidate communications and messaging through email or sms. The application will store the information sent and received in a centralised database. Then the application integrates and synchronises with Microsoft Outlook to send the emails. This same feature will be provided for all the hiring managers as well.

Hardware and software necessary for building the application is summarized below.

Hardware Interfaces

  • Computer/processor : Dual 1.8 GHz Pentium (Xeon P4) or better
  • Memory (RAM) :1 gigabyte (GB)
  • Server : Windows Server 2003
  • Hard disk : 20GB
  • Network card : Dual 10/100/1000 Mbps
  • Internet Information Services : Version 6.0 (included with Windows Server 2003)

Software Interfaces

  • Platform / Operating System : Windows XP and above
  • Front End. / GUI Tools : Visual Studio (Visual C++), Adobe Flash AS3 (Action Script 3)
  • RDBMS : Oracle 10g
  • Reporting Tool : Crystal Report 10

References

  1. Schroeck, M.; 2001, "Customer Analytics Making the Difference in CRM: Customer Analytics Amplify the Value of Integrated CRM Solutions", DM Review, September 2001, DMReview.com, viewed on 05-10-09.
  2. Berson, A.; Smith, S.; Thearling, K.; 1999, Building data mining applications for CRM, McGraw-Hill, USA, viewed on 04-10-09.
  3. Petrissans, A.; 1999, 'Customer Relationship Management: The changing economics of customer relationship', IDC and Gap Gemini, white paper, accessed on 04-10-09.

4Day, G. S.; 2000, "Managing Market Relationships", Journal of the Academy of Marketing Sciences, Vol. 28, No. 1, viewed on 06-10-09.

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