Your Open-Plan Data Plan

7 Oct 2016

One of the traditional hurdles that CRM was designed to overcome was the compartmentalisation of business data – taking it out of those nooks and crannies and placing it into an open plan environment. The bringing together of information that for years was stored in filing cabinets, old hard drives, address books and that pile of boxes gathering dust in the back of the manager’s garage. Granted, a lot of this will have been fairly mundane paperwork, but in amongst that are the invaluable customer statistics – contact details, current spend with your business, areas of interest – that make up the intellectual capital of your business.

Access All Areas

Once someone has painstakingly transferred that information into your CRM system, everyone has the chance to make the most of it. Sales can check client purchasing patterns, tech support can review previous faults reported and manufacturing can keep an eye on stock and order levels.

This nice clear open-door policy puts your clients’ database at the heart of your organisation.

However, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Whilst on the one hand it might make sense to make it all visible to everyone, there are a number of reasons to keep things segmented.

Restricted Zones

To start with, you want to keep things simple and user-friendly. For example if your sales people never need to see what the Helpdesk is up to and your Account managers may never need to view the Leads that your marketing and sales people are trying to convert to, as it isn’t relevant to their role. You can easily hide entire modules, so your users just see areas relevant to their work.

As well as hiding entire modules, you can hide specific fields from certain profiles. This enables you to store potentially sensitive details that for example your accounts team need to see, but that should not otherwise be common knowledge within the organisation.

Design It Your Way

There are some business models that rely on discretion, and partitioned data. Some sales organisations use a sales team that should only see records assigned to themselves – to prevent them getting distracted and looking too much into what their colleagues are up to. This can also easily be managed, allowing you to rest easy in the knowledge that the system is configured to meet your data security requirements, whilst also offering the transparency that you need at organisation level.

What CRM does for you is provide the open structure and framework within which you can build your business data – what you need to decide is where the walls, doors and windows are going to be positioned.