Basic Tenets for Turbo-Charging CRM

By Iqbal Khan

CRM systems are bulging at the seams with increasing numbers of new Web technologies and hundreds of thousands of new users. This combination can place a stranglehold on CRM to the point major data bottlenecks are created during peak loads. Against this backdrop, three basic tenets are critical to developing a successful CRM system -- whether in-house, as a commercial product, or for use as software-as-a-service (SaaS). Those three tenets are:

  • high availability;
  • quick response time; and
  • scalability.

You want to make sure the system is always up and fully operational so that when sales, support, and marketing personnel need it, the CRM application is available. Otherwise, entire teams lose their effectiveness. Next, you want to conduct business expeditiously. This means making the user experience pleasant by creating an easy, prompt, and fast transactional environment.

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Third, scalability means keeping the same performance even during peak usage times, but many high-transaction applications are unable to scale and their performance grinds to a halt during those times. Scaling up the CRM application can be done by removing bottlenecks from the application. One common bottleneck in many CRM applications is an application that makes too many expensive database trips. Reducing these trips relieves the database load and allows it to handle more users.

Many CRM systems are Web-based, and Web applications provide them great flexibility. Your personnel can use them inside and outside the company, over the Internet, plus they can be provided as SaaS. But the best part about these Web-based applications is that they can be scaled up to efficiently deal with peak loads.

For CRM systems to operate at their best, this trio of principles can be implemented via distributed caching, a relatively new technology supporting Microsoft .NET Framework, ASP.NET, and Java-based applications. Caching is the process of storing frequently used data close to the application. This data is stored in memory, as objects, and retrieving data from memory is faster and more efficient than doing so from a database.

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