Origin of CRM - The History of Customer Relationship Management Software

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How Old Do You Think Is The Concept Of CRM

How Old Do You Think Is The Concept Of CRM

In Palaeolithic times accounting helped in survival and improvising, advancing and expanding over tha ages, accounting has become the language of business. With the onset of New Stone Age/Neolithic times, the human understood barter system of business, moving to new places for trade and retaining old customers is very important for survival and growth. Now, where theire is trade, there is accounting. A database was always maintianed starting from the great natural memory book, the human brain. The clients, the items, the inventory, the barter account and then later the cash account was all maintained somehow somewhere.

So, we see, a CRM / customer relationship management system has always been there, operative! 

Walking back to the era we would understand better, an era before the facebook, linkedIn, digital address books, an era before cellphones, lets start from the pre 1950's. That was the time of paper address books, in which all addresses and important information was written with a pen or pencil.as new contacts kept adding to the list, the earlier ones used to look worn out due to cutting and overwriting also and then it used to call for writing down a fresh new address book to retain whats needed.

In 1950's came the very famous Rolodex. Every office had to have one and it was such a valuable piece that it used to even get stolen alongwith the contacts and information stored in it. Rolodex reigned till the early 1980's. A Rolodex is a rotating file device used to store business contact information and can still be found on Amazon and the like ecommerce sites.

The early 1980's saw the introduction of digital database pioneered by Robert and Kate Kestnbaum. They worked on a system that analysed the customer database statistically to identify which customers would be most likely to react to a marketing campaign.In 1986, ACT!, a digital Rolodex, introduced the business world to contact management software, allowing efficient storage and organization of customer contact information. This was invented by  Pat Sullivan and Mike Muhney. ACT ,a short for "Automated Contact Tracking" as it was known early in its product life, it could well be regarded as the first automated CRM.

Following these pioneers and advancement of technology and explosive growth of computers near the close of the decade and in early 90's, early innovators like Brock Control Systems were working towards Sales Force Automation(SFA). It marked the first major step toward a true CRM software. 

SFA picked features of database marketing, automated them and combined them with contact management. This proved very beneficial to businesses with much more useful customer information at one place, even assisting in inventory control, and sales tasks like customer interaction tracking. For major features of a CRM developed by software development company India, MegaSoftwares, read here  

As far as we know, the term CRM/ customer relationship management was invented by Gratner and Tom Siebel, as the term for front office applications, somewhere in 1995. In late 80's and around 1990,companies like Goldmine and Maximiser had been providing off-the-shelf software that was affordable for small businesses, but had enough features to be able to serve large multinationals also. But after the early 90's, the CRM took to new heights by companies like SAP entering the market as a unique research and development company that focused on emerging applications.

By the end of 1990's, big names like Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft released their own applications which were know to and used by big companies of that time. There wwere also mobile apps but with limited features.

The early 2000's saw the Software giant Microsoft enter the CRM market with Dynamics CRM. ANd after every few years a new name with advanced features could be heard in the big market. With names like Legacy Systems, Sugar CRM and Oracle acquiring Siebles, by 2010, the world was introduced to cloud CRM and it was then that this and such applications took over each and every industry, big and medium and trying to penetrate into and influence small businesses too. Many professional web and software development companies started building their own apps and custom softwares. Choosing the best vendor wisely became and still remains a challenge for the customer.

ComcastCares introduced social CRM that was more focused on interaction than transaction and following it came up the very famous Facebook and Twitter strengthening social CRM all the more. Since then and up to the present day, cloud-based application development and SaaS solutions continue to integrate advanced features like customer service and social CRM. Cloud-based and SaaS CRM solutions continue to gain popularity in this turbulent market, because of the amazing benefits they offer to all undustries and businesses.

It is amazing to peep back and try to understand the way data was stored. Its all the more amazing to understand how technology brought that system to this cloud based CRM solutions.

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