Collaborative CRM

By Heather Baldwin

If relationships are built on two-way communication, doesn’t it make sense to give customers an equal partnership in the customer relationship management effort? Absolutely, say Intraspect and Onyx, which just released a collaborative CRM solution combining Onyx’s CRM capabilities with Intraspect’s collaboration software. The application gives users a view of their customers that includes not only traditional CRM application information, but also a history of emails, reports, collaborative projects and other documents. At the same time, it gives the customer a workspace on the Web from which to access much of that same information.

Intraspect’s specialty is creating collaborative workspaces on the Web where all the people involved with a project can work, regardless of their geographic location. For instance, instead of a report being maintained on the computer of a single person who then emails it to each member of the group for input, the person can post that report at the workspace for editing, and everyone can view the changes/suggestions made by others in the group. Bob Schoettle, Intraspect’s vice president of marketing, says an ad agency uses workspaces to post its latest drafts of print ads for clients. Each customer can go in and view the work and provide feedback, and a record of every communication is maintained in the workspace.

Onyx and Intraspect took that concept of workspaces and applied it to CRM. A user of the new collaborative CRM product has access, via the Onyx portal, to various workspaces where he can interact and collaborate with a customer. When a salesperson needs to call on that customer, he can see far more than just that person’s buying history – he can actually read the emails and view the documents the customer has sent and worked on. If the salesperson handling that client’s account leaves, no problem – the replacement can go into the workspace and view the entire history of the interaction with that customer.

Intraspect’s agreement with Onyx is not exclusive, and Schoettle says his company is in talks with “a number of enterprise application providers” about linking collaboration capabilities.