Candice Holland, Deloitte & ToucheCandice Holland, Deloitte & Touche

One of the complications around CRM has always been the problem of who owns the data.

When it comes to CRM, who owns the customer data is one of those arguments that can take years to resolve. Each customer- interfacing department is going to claim possession of its data, irrespective of any other departments’ rights thereto. IT, as the technology custodian, also has rights to the data, and certainly if something goes wrong, IT is the first department fingers get pointed at. In this month’s On the Spot, Brainstorm tries to clarify the issue, asking readers: “CRM – the domain of IT or marketing?”

? As attorneys, our view on this question is from a legal perspective. CRM is key to a number of business activities, including marketing, product development and strategy. Considering the recent new legislation, including the Consumer Protection Act and the Protection of Personal Information Bill, it is clear that all the CRM activities will need to function in a manner that is compliant with the legislative requirements. It is no easy task to maximise the CRM business benefits, while complying with new and far-reaching legislation. The complexity of this task dictates an effective use of IT. Thus while marketing is certainly an element of CRM, it is only one of a number of elements, all of which need to be applied for maximum effect, and in compliance with the law. This multifaceted approach is best achieved through IT.

Konni Hoferichter, LaserComKonni Hoferichter, LaserCom

Candice Holland, senior manager: Corporate and Commercial, Deloitte Legal, Deloitte & Touche

? CRM belongs in the domain of marketing, but responsibility for CRM data should reside with IT. The problem arises when IT perceives CRM to be its domain and will not permit easy, unfettered access to customer data. Similarly, the billing department guards its customer data jealously. This is not isolated: it is common in most large corporations. Such tension between IT and marketing means new marketing initiatives are often hindered. To resolve this tension, enlist the services of an over-arching executive champion who can cut through the internal politics.

Heath Turner, IS PartnersHeath Turner, IS Partners

, MD, LaserCom

? CRM is not so much the domain of only marketing, but more so the domain of business, and how business users manage interactions with customers, partners and suppliers. Any CRM implementation has to be aligned to the overall business strategy and should never be seen as an IT implementation of business processes.

Dr Nicola J. Millard, BT Global ServicesDr Nicola J. Millard, BT Global Services

, CRM director, IS Partners

? CRM strategy needs to start from a deep understanding of the customer, one of the primary functions of the marketing department. The CRM data can be used powerfully to understand the nature of customer demand, improve service while reducing costs and change and personalise the way that business is delivered across all customer touchpoints (whether face-to-face, contact centre or web). That, however, goes beyond the remit of marketing alone and requires co-ordination across market insight, high-level corporate strategy, product development, operational deployment and IT infrastructure. This is why many companies have created a coalition of these functions to deliver CRM, led by a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) whose job is to orchestrate all these strategic and operational elements into a coherent and consistent customer experience strategy.

Dr Nicola J. Millard, customer experience futurologist, BT Global Services UK Marketing