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May 26, 2005

Where's the good CRM?

The business world is rife with meaningless buzzwords, and among them is the ever-popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It sounds appealing, particularly to small biz guys like me who actually want to cultivate a _relationship_ with their customers. Except "Customer Relationship" is actually an industry codeword for "Money-Grubbing Sales Call". When you actually set out to find a readymade CRM program, you generally end up with some hideous pile of rubbish that's altogether obsessed with how much "potential" is in your "pipeline" and how many possible sales you've blown. Many of them even suck at allowing you to keep track of a customer's product needs. It doesn't care what your relationship with the customer is beyond "gives me millions and millions of dollars." I thought I might have found some way to keep track of my customers with a CRM package today, but nope. Not only was it the typical dreadful CRM software, but on top of that it was ungodly slow and required far larger browser windows than I use. And way too obsessed with its own ill-planned workflow that boils down to creating a person so you can create an association so you can create... it's like Lego bricks without all the fun and with a kick in the groin every time you snap two together. This suckitude, like many other things, brings me back to the solution I hate: make my own. While that solution usually works out well in the end (since I get something custom-tailored to my own needs and wishes), it's a horrible solution. There are only so many hours in a day, and every hour I spend on some internal project is an hour I can't spend actually improving a product or developing a new one or answering e-mail or photographing things. At any rate, I suppose it gives me an excuse to learn more about Ruby on Rails since that's what I've chosen to write the damn thing in.

Posted by Colin at May 26, 2005 5:39 PM


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