I was reviewing some of the available CRM content off various websites and I was amazed to see that, for the most part, IT professionals are still talking about traditional uses of CRM. By traditional, I am referring to Contact Management, Sales and Pipeline Management, Marketing Campaigns and Customer-Service type applications. All are extremely important, however, I find there is a lack of ‘new’ ideas being introduced. We are left reading different spins on the same old concepts.

What I enjoy reading about are non-traditional applications of the CRM platform as a way to address and resolve business challenges. This is what really gets me ramped up about coming to work with my team every day. CRM is a feature rich platform, but it takes a creative mind to truly expose its power.

Navantis has several great examples where our teams have taken a client’s need, something that doesn’t necessarily fit into one of the traditional CRM applications, and designed a solution utilizing the underlying capabilities of the product. Our Peopleworks solution for Associations and Regulatory Bodies, for example, is not an out-of-the-box CRM application. It required industry domain knowledge combined with deep product knowledge.

I know Microsoft attempted to put a label on this type of non-traditional CRM application development by calling it xRM- the x representing anything (not just the customers). While the premise was solid, it may have been confusing to some. Discussing the concept of xRM with a client was sometimes challenging due to the technical nature of the conversation, however, we have learned that the key is to discuss the vision of what the end product might be, such as Association Management, Conservation Demand Management or Stakeholder Management.

Navantis will continue to focus on our target industries and the business issues our customers face. Uncovering their obstacles to success will push our teams to discover new ways of using the CRM platform. While we are at it, we will focus on utilizing the strengths of the other Microsoft platform products such as SharePoint, Lync, System Center and Office to enhance the CRM experience. IT has traditionally been the domain of the technical wizard, but with CRM, there is definitely a place for the creative mind.