Here's an interesting piece of information that got lost in the hype surrounding Salesforce's biggest deal ever. Apparently, the acquisition of MuleSoft in March for $6.5 billion was met with skepticism by senior management, until they were gently informed by a financial services firm of the importance of connecting data that is stored in disparate systems.
The co-CEO of Salesforce said he had "some healthy skepticism" about buying MuleSoft before his company's largest deal ever. "We looked and said, this is integration software, what does that have to do with CRM?" he asked in an on-stage interview at CNBC's Capital@Work Summit in San Francisco.
For us at NexJ, this report generated some amusement, given how we have always placed integration at the heart of our vertical-specific CRM products.
What makes integration important?
This question, presumably only just being asked by established CRM vendors, is fundamental to how NexJ builds its solutions. Without the integration of enterprise data sources, applications, and external data sources such as social media and news feeds, you cannot incorporate intelligence into customer management. In other words, if you treat integration as an afterthought, you are doing everything in your power to make sure your CRM project fails.
Let’s say tactical products such as siloed CRM solutions deliver intelligent capabilities. How can you be sure your sales and service decisions are correct, without a comprehensive understanding of each client based on the totality of the client’s relationship with your company? How can your client’s expectations for a personalized omnichannel experience be met? Every client-facing user needs to tailor interactions to each client’s unique needs because personalized service builds trust, and trust leads to a greater share of customer wallet.
In other words, without integration, you have no complete customer view and, to cut a long story short, not enough information to offer your customer the expected level of service.
Can integration boost productivity?
It can, it does, and it helps users of NexJ CRM do a lot more. In terms of increasing productivity, integrated systems can be monitored for key client events when they have access to back-office systems and intelligent capabilities like alerts. When users are alerted to events, they can take the right action and deliver personalized service at scale that captures more assets under management and drives more share of wallet.
Integration also enables firms to successfully incorporate machine learning into customer management. This happens with real-time data loading of structured and unstructured data into a data lake and semantic normalization of that data to create a consistent understanding of data conflicts (e.g. legal name, nickname, maiden name). This allows firms to quickly provision data to analytics and machine learning. Integration also enables firms to embed the results in CRM in the form of dashboards and alerts, allowing users to take action on them immediately.
Integration can boost user adoption
The successful implementation of any Customer Relationship Management solution depends upon user adoption, and integration improves adoption rates. This happens when users realize they are getting more out of their CRM than they are putting in. When done right, integration gives users access to massive amounts of data in one view, empowering them to deliver superior client experiences.
Why NexJ CRM takes integration seriously
As I said earlier, we place integration at the heart of our CRM solution, not as an afterthought. Our products are open for integration and have many ways of configuring integration with other systems, from secure API access to contract-based web services to integrate with client enterprise SOA standards. Our goal is always to provide the most flexibility for custom service development which, in turn, allows us to offer customers powerful tools such as our Integrated Desktop.
NexJ’s Integrated Desktop allows users to quickly and effectively leverage enterprise data and applications to better understand, sell to and service their customers. This sees substantially higher productivity than the use of multiple systems, stand-alone CRM, or CRM with limited integration, by turning users into net receivers of information. Our users don’t need to toggle through systems and re-key data, because all the information they need is readily available.
The importance of context
A key aspect of NexJ's Integrated Desktop is its ability to integrate enterprise and third party data sources creating a powerful, customized, context-aware system. NexJ CRM services automatically manage all communication and context passing between NexJ and third-party portlets, enabling everything to work together as a single integrated system.
Another important differentiator is our comprehensive customer view that incorporates more than the regular CRM data that our competitors deliver by adding data from other sources such as accounts and holdings. While it may appear that competitors have access to this data, they are integrating at the UI layer alone. This means their solution displays data, but cannot use it for processing, decisioning or analytics. What NexJ does is incorporate that other data into a single, comprehensive customer view, enabling a deeper understanding of the customer.
We provide world-class tools and techniques to best support enterprise integration because that’s what we started out with. Data is the beating heart of our CRM and we will be more than happy to tell other vendors why they should start giving it the kind of importance we always have. They know where to find us.