A STUDY About DOMAINS:
How to get Domain knowledge?
Why Domain knowledge is needed?
What is Domain?
What happens if I am not a Domain expert?
If I do not know about domain – can I get a Business Analyst Job?
Usually these sorts of questions will be there in fresher business analyst aspirants. Need not to worry about this? Before we speak more about domains and acquiring domain knowledge let us know about domain and its importance.
Domain – In simple words we can say, particular area of work or specific area to be worked upon.
Here we need to understand one important thing that Domain can be understood in 2 ways, one is technical guys Domain and another is general domain (which is for business analysts/functional guys). For example:
If you ask any technical person like developers, what is your domain? The answer would be Java, j2ee or dot net or flash or php or cold fusion etc BUT let us not go by their way. Domain for Business Analyst will be like e-commerce, banking, finance, CRM, auctions, health care, logistics, supply chain etc….
Why domain knowledge is important?
Majority of software companies will not work on all domains. Companies will work on only selected domains. Very rarely companies work on many domains. If a company is working on multiple domains then you can assume that company is doing good and having more projects :--) (need not be true always, just a normal thought !!!). However, the important point is if a company is hiring business analysts and if candidate knows about domain which that company works then it will be added advantage because training program will be of short duration. BUT usually companies DONOT expect domain expertise from fresher’s but if candidate is having expertise then obviously that candidate will have advantage over other candidates and can be picked by employer.
Now comes the big question, how to get domain knowledge? My college never thought me about domain knowledge then how can I know? Yes that will be your question.
Not a problem, at this point of time you can gain domain knowledge without going to certifications/courses and classes. The best available option is google and other option is your friends who are working on some domains.
The very important thing you should keep in mind is – every piece of information about domain is valuable. Domain knowledge just means “knowing more” that’s all. For example, lets take example of Health Care. We think health care is about hospital and to build software for hospital. The common requirements we think are… patient & doctor but it involves many things like Lab, Insurance, in insurance there are different insurance like cashless, pay & reimburse, other services like MRI, scanning, Pharma (drugs), inventory (inventory of medicines, surgical equipments), government rules and regulations pertaining to insurance, drug control board, reports, administrator to manage software etc… so all needed is to know bit more. That itself is domain knowledge. To keep it even more simple – you buy a chocolate is simple, you buy a chocolate and read the text on wrapper like Manufacturer, distributor, registered office address, indigents , MRP, net weight and other specifications is something extra – you will have information about the product BUT if go beyond that to know something more like How it is manufactured? Who are the other companies manufacturing same sort of chocolates? from where raw materials are shipped? Competitors price, in which geographical location is it popular? Who are target people (like kids, young ladies etc) – we call it as knowledge about that product. (This was just an example)
On website making freshers domain experts may not be that easy but my try is to provide minimum knowledge so that it can be helpful. However just repeating ‘Fresher need not be domain expert but if aware of domain then it will be added advantage, like being an all-rounder than only batsmen or only bowler in cricket match :--)
I will take up some 2 domains for now. Since you are reading this information on website, let me take up “Website Design & Development” as a domain
1) Website Design & Development
So, what is website?
why website? – you know answers I believe or just google it you will find the answers. I will keep it short. Website will contain information/content and can be accessed though network. It can be on private network (intranet) or public network, popularly known as internet. Website can be built using html or flash or combination of both HTML and flash. Most commonly we will find HTML. Using HTMl tags/syntax web page will be created.
A website can be of one page or more than one page. Website is commonly used for publishing information or advertize. Website is one of the powerful tool for advertisement /promotion. Not only promotion but also e-commerce (buying & selling online), news websites like times of india, gaming sites needs website. In simple language we can say any business, anything in this world has a website. Some common elements used along with HTML are CSS (cascading Style Sheets), JS (java Script) and Flash (flash is optional). People prefer HTML compared to flash because flash page Loading time is bit long compared to HTML page. Web page usually ends with extension .html or .htm (other than.html and .htm there are .jsp, .aspx etc but let us not get too technical)
A website needs a domain name (note this is not the domain which we are talking – do not get confused) DOMAIN NAME means the website link name which will be unique always. Like www.google.com , www.youtube.com , www.yatra.com , www.musicindia.com , www.facebook.com , www.bangaloreliving.com , www.ebay.com etc
If you see here google.com , youtube.com, yatra.com are called domains. Domain name cannot be duplicated. Only one domain exists. There are some servicing companies and whoever wants website they should go to register DOMAIN NAME. Usually there will be some charges for registration and annual renewal charges as well. Not only .com’s there are different extensions like .info, .net, .tv, .biz, .org, .gov, .in etc these are also website domains like .com
Once DOMAIN NAME is registered, website needs hosting space, usually called server. There are so many companies which provides hosting service. We need to purchase some space from them like 50 MB, 1 GB space . Once space is purchase, after website is built we can host website.
Domain Name & hosting space should be pointed so that when people type www.example.com website hosted on server (hosting space) will display.
How Domain Name and Hosting are pointed? Let us not go technical again but for your information at high level, there will be some thing called name servers, we need to map the name servers of hosting account and domain account.
Some Domain registration service providers will also provide hosting space as well.
How does website project happen? Mainly what does business analyst does here? Let’s see:
In a software company which works on Website Design & Development there will be team usually;
· Business Development (BD) team / marketing team: These people get website orders
· Business Analyst – get requirements (what to be designed? How to be designed? What information? How should be the flow? Etc.
· Designers (Graphical Designers / UI Designers) – Create designs, slice HTML
· Deployment / Implementation Engineer: Deploy or host on server
· Project Manager: manages the project and delivers in time / on time.
You know about marketing people, they just get projects /orders. What does business analyst do in website design & development projects? Once project is awarded Business Analyst will start with requirements. Most common thing in website projects are sending initial questionnaire, where in client can answer in, Yes/No format for most of the questions. Questionnaire will be like;
- Project Name?
- Website name? or what name should appear on website?
- Does Domain Exists (note: This domain is different one). If yes, what is the name?
- Do you have a Logo? If yes, provide us in a Jpeg or Png format; If no, do you want us to design logo for you?
- How many pages to be created? And provide names for the pages. Like service, about us, contact us, Faq etc.
- Do you need Form for contact us page? Where in user can submit details and email will be triggered.
- Mention some of the reference websites and provide link.
- Who are your competitors? Provide some information
- What colors to be used for website (color theme)?
- Is it one color or two color? Or more than 2 colors? Name the colors?
- Who are the audience for the website? Like children, business people etc
- Brief about your business ?
- Do you have any hand-outs of your business? Like advertisements, business cards, brochures etc.
- Do you have any specific images/pictures of your business? Or you want to add any pictures on website? If yes, please send in jpeg or png format
- Do you need SEO (Search Engine Optimization) done for website? If yes provide Meta tags or key words.
- Etc (some more questions)
Sometimes client will answer all the questions and some time partially, business analyst will have a call or meet client to discuss on questions and finally have answers.
Once answers are ready business analyst will discuss with Graphical Designers about the concept and requirements. Graphical designers will create some sample designs (usually designs will be created using a tool called Photoshop which is an Adobe software)
Business Analyst will share sample designs in a jpeg format (having water mark – water mark will be some text or symbol embedded in the sample, so that client does not own it before completion of the project). Usually there will be some recommendations / changes from client and that will be done from designers. Once Design is finalized from client, Business Analyst will get sign-off on design. Designer will slice the design (Photoshop file .psd) into HTML. Usually Dreamviewer software will be used to slice HTML. Dreamviewer is also an Adobe product. Designer will adjust and tune designs by applying CSS and wherever necessary apply Java Script (for more information on java script, CSS – visit w3shools website).
Finally website will be ready for launch. Before launch website will be hosted on a test server and will be shown to client for final proof reading, testing will be done if any mistakes are there and same will be rectified. Once approved by client – deployment engineer or implementation engineer will deploy website on hosting server and website will be released.
Most Common erros / bugs in website:
Cross browser compatibility – like in Mozilla firefox website will look good but in internet explorer it may not and vice-versa.
Whats new/latest in website?
CMS website (Content Management System) – when website is launched and later if client wants to change some text or add new picture into website, client has to come back to designer or software company i.e. client will be dependent on software professionals. If website is built and powered by CMS then client himself / herself can change website content and update without technical knowledge, without HTML, CSS knowledge. With CMS enabled webpage will open in a editor just like MS-Word, whatever needed can be edited/inserted/deleted/updated and all needs to be saved that all. It is very simple. Most common editors used are FCK Editor, Wyswyg editor, Tiny MC editor.
Also some readily available frameworks in PHP are available where CMS will be default like Drupal, Joomla, Typo3 (lets not go in deep.. this is just for information)
So at higher level we have covered important part of website design and development.
Most commonly once website is done, SEO will be initiated (Search Engine Optimization). Lets not go deep into SEO because SEO itself will become a separate domain. In simple words making website searchable by search engines like Google, yahoo, Bing, MSN.
To make this happen lot of techniques are there like Meta tags identification, keywords, google analytics, google webmaster tools, submitting website for search engines, pay per click, link exchange websites etc.
After you read this – hope you have a fair idea about website design & development. What does your domain knowledge say now !!!!!! :--)
2) E-Commerce Domain
Now let’s learn something about E-commerce Domain. You might have studied about E-commerce in your MBA classes. So I will not go much deeper. If you search ‘Ecommerce’ in google you can find N number of websites which speaks and explains about ecommerce. So I will keep it simple.
What is E-commerce? We can simply split ecommerce as ‘E’ and ‘Commerce’. Being management students you all know what commerce is. Commerce is buying or selling goods or service for some value. ‘E’ stands for electronic. So it is ‘Electronic-Commerce’. To make it even simpler - Commerce over internet or commerce on internet. Or ecommerce is a market place in internet where people can buy and sell goods for money.
Ecommerce has no boundaries like we have in real time markets. Like Indian market, Europe market, Nepal, Australia etc. People can buy or sell goods from any part of the world (provided having access to internet :--) ). However there are some minor restrictions like if no transport facility then we cannot ship goods to that place. Fake items, explosives will not be shipped etc.
Lets see what all is needed for Ecommerce.
Important Note: Online trading (share market) is also ecommerce. As this ecommerce is huge and some financial knowledge is required to understand share trading I am not touching this part. Also for some services can be brought under ecommerce like Bus, Air ticket booking, hotel booking, and movie tickets etc. I am explaining about ecommerce for products/goods so that it can be easily understood.
First of all, in ecommerce there are 2 concepts – Single seller and multiple buyers and multiple sellers and multiple buyers.
For Single Seller, what is needed?
- A seller (company) which will sell goods on internet.
- Category list or catalog
- Product list
- Search function
- Shopping cart
- Shipping Calculator
- Payment gateway
- User Registration
- User login
- User profile
- Admin section with Reports.
Now lets see one-by-one in a bit detail;
[a] Seller : Seller will be the business owner, who will invest for making e-commerce software. Who will manage software, sell products and runs business.
[b] Internet : This is very much important, because without internet ecommerce will be nightmare. Even you all know how much important it is. Not only for ecommerce bit for life itself is very much important.
[c] Buyer: the person who will pay amount for the goods and buy from seller or purchases goods.
[d] Website: there needs a website where people can login and buy goods. Website link acts as place ‘location’ for ecommerce. Like seller will advertize in ads – logon to www.xyz.com to get 30% discount on washing machines. So people will come to know www.xyz.com is the place where discount is available on washing machine. Xyz.com acts as location.
[e] Catalog or category list: If seller is selling only one product then catalog may not be necessary but in real time life seller will not restrict himself by selling only one product. He or she will sell more products which may belong to different category. Like washing machine, shoes, slippers, socks, t shirt, golf stick, utensils, mobile phones, books, pen, water bottle, computer, lipstick, face cream, body lotion, scissor, chocolates, butter, ghee, meat, spices etc..
So if we can categorize above mentioned products into;
- Foot ware
So, under one category there can be any number of products but category cannot be duplicated. Category remains unique.
[f] Products or Product list: Goods or items that seller will list on website for sale. Products will be listed from administrator from backend. Product will have attributes (Details) like;
- Product name
- Cost or price
- Brief description of the product.
[g] Search Function: When products will be more, say for example more than 100 products or 100 products it will be difficult for users (buyers) to see search for the product. So there will be a function called search. Buyers can type or product name or partial name of the product – results will be displayed and makes search easy. If seller is selling products less than 10 or 15 then search function is not necessary.
[h] Shopping cart: You might have seen a cart (carry cart having wheels in shopping malls like Big bazaar, Spencer, food word, wall mart etc) – what exactly it does? You can pull products to you cart and move to other section to buy more products. Also at the end if you feel not to buy some products which you selected you can remove from the cart. Or if you don’t want any products you can remove all the products and come out of mall.
‘Shopping cart’ - function in ecommerce site does same thing. You can select products and continue shopping. Remove products from cart or empty shopping cart.
[i] Checkout: in real time scenario you go for shopping for a mall and select products you are going to buy from different floors, you will move towards cash counter for making payment. That scenario in ecommerce is called ‘checkout’ i.e. once you add products to your shopping cart and decide you are going to purchase that products you need to checkout.
[j] Shipping calculator: – this is not found very frequent in real time shopping mall. Or rarely you may find. This is something as simple as ‘home delivery’ in shopping mall. Sometimes shopping malls provide free home delivery for goods of purchase more than Rs. 5,000 or Rs.8,000.
In ecommerce for every goods or products you purchase there will be shipping cost involved in overall cost. Sometimes if seller wishes free shipping will also be provided. Sometimes like for Christmas festival seller will announce in website “free shipping to India Location from Dec 20 th to Dec 28 th or free shipping for all locations from xyz date to abc date.
If there is no ‘free shipping’ how does ecommerce software calculate shipping cost? Separate customized shipping calculators can be developed for ecommerce module where in there will be conditions given if distance (from seller location to buyer’s location) is between 0 KM to 100 KM >> Shipping cost will be $4, if distance is between 100 KM to 300 KM >> Shipping cost will be $7 (this calculation is for example)
There are other criteria’s to be considered during calculating shipping cost because shipping a notebook (writing pad) and shipping a refrigerator or television to 100 KM are not same. Shipping one T.V may involve more cost considering safety and packing. But for shipping one Harry Potter Novel (book) will involve less packing and safety as well.
So shipping calculator will consider Distance, weight, height.
However there are some readily available shipping calculator softwares available which can be integrated with ecommerce site which reduces developing a customized shipping calculator. Like Uber cart, Druapl’s in-built shipping calculator. (this is for your information only – no need to go in depth).
There are some other logistics services can be integrated with ecommerce like Fedex, UPS.
What does Fedex and UPS do? Fedex and UPS are the companies which provides logistics service. They have shipping calculator and GPS tracking as well. By this service buyer will know when product was dispatched and currently at which location it is? And when product will reach?
There are more logistics service providers are there. Fedex and UPS are the most popular service providers. They take care of shipping goods in time and also safely.
[k] Payment gateway: To compare payment gateway with real time shopping mall and ecommerce is simple. As simple as pay and own goods. In real time shopping malls you can pay by cash, food coupons, credit card, debit card, and redeem gift coupons. In ecommerce how do we pay? Most commonly ecommerce payment will be done though credit cards. However in ecommerce also we can redeem e-coupons but for now let’s concentrate on credit card payments. There will be a function called payment gateway where we need to enter credit card number, expiry date and 3 digit CVV number. (I guess you will be familiar with booking movie tickets online by making credit card payment). In ecommerce also it is same. BUT we need gateway service providers. Most commonly found and used payment gateways are;
· Google checkout
· CC Avenue (this gateway is used more in India as the currency will be in rupees instead of Dollars)
These service providers will take care of credit card validation (checking Credit card number, is it a fraud card or not etc). How do PayPal , authorize.net, Google checkout will verify credit cards? Let’s not worry about that for now else this document will become 100 pages J . These service providers will have different methodologies to verify, validate credit cards and process payments.
By the way, how PayPal , authorize.net, Google checkout will be benefited by providing payment gateway service? This will be your question.
They will charge some processing fee like $1 or $3 etc.. that will have some criteria. There are so many payment gateways but PayPal, authorize.net, Google checkout are the most familiar and popular gateways. However you might have notice one thing by this time – Ecommerce itself is not so much popular in India. BUT in USA, UK, Australia and other nations, ecommerce plays very important role. People prefer to buy online rather than going to malls so that they can save time. As of now in India ecommerce trend is starting and it may take some more years to improve. You might have noticed that people prefer ATM’s than making online bank transactions. The only encouraging part is now people in India are booking travel (bus, train, air) tickets online by making credit card payments. Some people book though agent as well. Also booking movie tickets online. BUT when it comes for online purchase of goods it is not popular in India. People prefer to go to market and see, touch the goods before making decision to purchase. Let’s wait for some more time to see ecommerce boom in India.
The funniest thing is – I myself do not purchase products online but I have devised, managed, delivered more than 20 e-commerce projects. Funny rite!!!! Jai Ho J
In e-commerce when you select products and checkout, application will ask for your address. You need to give your address with location PIN code or Zip code. E-commerce application will display total cost including shipping cost. Once you make payment than you will get a receipt number or transaction number. You need to have that number till you get your product.
[L] User Registration: – user registration is the process of getting registered with site. Is user registration mandatory? Why user registration is needed?
Before talking more about user registration please remember we are talking about ‘Single seller and multiple buyer’ ecommerce. In single seller concept User registration is not mandatory to purchase products. However it is very common that we see user registration because seller will know the details of user (buyer). Like user address, phone, email etc.. so that seller can send emails when he/she releases new product for selling. Send greetings to buyer on new year, christmas so that customer relationship improves. Also user registration makes user to remind site and N number of times he can login. Otherwise after purchase of product buyer may not come for site again.
User registration will have common fields like; Name, date of birth, user name (select from availability), password, security question, address, city, email, phone, zip code etc.
[m] User login – User login is the process of user validating himself/herself before purchase goods or products by entering valid user name and password. Usually with this function there will another function by default “forgot password’ where application will ask for security question or email address. Password will be sent to email address.
[n] User Profile – user profile will have option like change password, update self details like address, phone number and other fields. Also when user buys product, he will be able to see all that records / history in user profile.
[o] Admin Section with Reports: for ecommerce site there will be a admin section. Admin will be the person who will be having special rights and manages entire ecommerce site. Usually seller will be the site admin. What does Admin do? Lets see;
Create categories / catalog
Add products to category
Inventory management >> Admin will have option to see how many products were there? How may sold? How many remaining? Etc.. so he will maintain inventory
User management >> suspend users, edit users
Manage Reports >> see sales reports, like what is daily sales? Weekly sales? Monthly sales? Overall sales report. Revenue report >> how much turn over happened? How much profit ? etc
Also there can be some more report options but above mentioned is necessary to manage ecommerce site.
So these are main parts of ecommerce. In addition to the above mentioned options buyers will have options like ‘tell a friend’, add to watch list, report fake product’ email admin, inbuilt mail box, product ratings (like star ratings) and many more But for now it is enough for a fresher I believe. you being fresher need not to dig more. You can happily say that – you have some domain knowledge on Ecommerce.
2) CRM Domain
In this Domain we will look at;
- What is CRM?
- Why CRM?
- Benefits of having CRM software?
- Who needs CRM Software?
- Business Analyst role in construction of CRM software.
CRM is Customer Relationship Management. There is nothing much explanation required because it is already explaining that ‘Relationship’ matters. CRM is used mainly to manage company’s / firms interactions with its clients, automate the process and serve clients / customers in a better way, in-return Company will look for more profit.
How company will be benefited using a CRM software? And why CRM software is needed?
I always think examples will make you people understand in a better way (in below examples, example 3 is very important – do not miss), so let me take an example to provide you insight of CRM’s importance. In this competitive and attractive world it is very hard to run business and make profits. People are clever and they know to make a decision before buying a product or service. Just by advertizing company cannot make profits, assume by advertizing company may sell their product but if their service is not good post selling, then gradually they will start losing their customers.
Many of you may have Bikes or cars…. Now lets go back few steps (rewind) and check while you bought your bike or car. Some sales person explained you about car or bike and you were impressed and bought the vehicle. After purchase you had some problems with vehicle and you went for service but you were not addressed properly, your complaint was not resolved quickly. You got frustrated. Now your friend wants to buy a car or bike in the same showroom where you bought. What would be your suggestion to your friend? Off-course you will tell not to go for that showroom. Assume if you were satisfied with service of your vehicle, you will definitely tell your friend to purchase vehicle in the same showroom where you bought.
You went on a trip with your family or friends and you booked some hotel or resort for a pleasant stay. The room boys did not assisted you properly, you ordered food but it was delayed by an hour, the extension telephone at your room was not working. To get a bottle of water you had to go 7 floors by stare case. You will never-ever go to that hotel and neither you recommend to any of your friends to go to that hotel or resort.
There can be a case where, in the above mentioned both the examples, service was very good, you were satisfied. What will be the impact? You will recommend to others. ALSO you may forget after sometime. In case if you forgot that you visited some hotel / resort, you will not lose anything but that resort (company) will lose some profit. As a Business Analyst what do you think, a resort should be doing?
When customer went to resort or hotel, they could have taken some more details like email, phone number, Birthday, address etc. On some occasion like New Year, Christmas, birthday – Resort people can send a greeting email. So you will remember that resort. You can recommend to others if they are in a need of resort. Is it not?
Here, what resort / hotel is doing? They are managing customer relationship. This is the main concept of ‘Customer Relationship Management’. Friends hope you will also agree that, in this modern world people look for comfort at affordable rate. Sometimes if service is excellent people do not mind paying higher rates also BUT service should be excellent. It can be any industry and any business – need not be resort or Car only. If you go to Tailor he should give excellent service by stitching your cloths properly and deliver in time. If you order Pizza – you expect it should be good with taste, quality and more over delivered in-time.
Excellence and on-time is the key to success for any business. Ohh!! Let me go back to CRM now.
Now you had a high level understanding of Customer Relationship Management but why software is needed for CRM? For just sending birthday, New Year greeting do we need a software? Simply waste of money in buying or developing CRM software!! This will be your question. No friends, it is not the case. There are much more things involved in CRM and to maintain that properly there is a need of software.
Let’s dig more so that you get a Domain Knowledge on CRM.
CRM is independent of any industry. Mainly CRM is used to retain or maintain current customers and get new prospects (new customers).
First, look at how to manage current customers before going to new prospects.
As I mentioned CRM is independent of business and industry. I.e. CRM can be useful or customized for any business. Let’s go by examples again.
You will be using mobile phone and you will have some connection like (Vodafone, Airtel, Idea, BSNL, Tata Docomo etc) suddenly you noticed that your prepaid balance amount is deducted without making any usage. You are angry and want to lodge a complaint. You will call customer care and tell your problem. Customer care representative will guide you or take your complaint. You would have noticed one thing. You will get a SMS stating, we have received your complaint and your complaint will be addressed within 24 or 48 hours. Your reference complaint number is 4G90N3X. (Something like this).
On the back-end –the customer care representative who spoke to you will note down the details during the call. Customer care rep will be already having your details in their data base and they will store your complain details. Where he/she will store? It cannot be stored in a sheet of paper. It has to go into software. You might ask – why it should go into software. It can be stored in Microsoft Excel, why going for software? (note: MS-Excel is also a software, Excel has become such a important thing for daily needs)
Yes, it can be stored in MS-Excel. If customers are less in number it can be stored in MS-Excel but Vodafone, Airtel, BSNL, Tata Docomo will have thousands of customers. If these details are stored in software, there can be functionality like ‘Search’, Filter, Reports etc…
Like, Sort customers – with age above 25 years.
Search Customers whose complaint is pending for more than 12 hours.
Search for new complaints.
Search for resolved complaints.
Search for reopened complaints.
(There can be more functions but I mentioned at high level so that you can know importance of software). Also you will get SMS like, if you are satisfied with service respond with “Yes” if not respond with “no” it is toll free. If you use software it will be automated and responses will be stored. Based on the responses a report can be generated like;
What were the total complaints received per day?
How many were resolved?
How many pending?
How many reopened?
How many customers gave feedback?
How many were positive feedback and how many were negative feedback?
Based on this report senior manager will come to know the day to day operations. If more of negative feedback is there then Manager can call for a meeting and formulate the better way to serve customers so that all the negative feedback can turn into positive feedback. What does positive feedback mean? It simply means Customer is happy and customer will remain with Vodafone or Airtel or Tata Docomo.
The complaints managed by ‘Vodafone or Airtel or Tata Docomo’ through a software can be called as “Complaint Management System” and this software will fall under CRM solution.
Now again lets go back to our Resort and Hotel example. Assume you were not satisfied with resort and you were angry. While you were checking-out from resort, you get a feedback form to fill. There might be questions like;
- Your name?
- Your Address?
- How was your stay at our resort?
- How were facilities at our resort?
- You have any suggestions for us?
- And other details like email address, phone number etc.
You answered promptly and mentioned the problems and suggestions. Your comments will be entered into software by data entry operator. Resort manager had a look at your comments and made some corrections in the service.
After 2 months you will get an email like below;
Hope you are doing good. You had visited our resort 2 months back for 3 day stay and you had provided us with valuable comments and suggestions on the service levels.
We took your comments and suggestions on highest priority and made changes to our services and we are happy to announce that we have improvised a lot in our services and now our customers are glad with our services. Our resort team really thank you for the valuable comments and suggestions you provided.
We would be honored to have you once again at our resort and we assure you the best service.
If you were customer and you got this sort of response, what do you think? You will feel good and you may think of going to that resort once again. So the Moral is ‘Relationship’ matters and off-course ‘CRM Software’ matters.
(Please note: this article is going lengthy, please keep reading. At the end I will consolidate about CRM software, what all the functions CRM software will have? And role of business analyst in building a CRM software.)
By this time you should have got one thing in mind. How feasible is sending these sort of emails? Not only to the negative feedbacks but also sending birthday wishes, anniversary wishes, new year wishes, Christmas wishes etc.. So much of time and people are needed to send these wishes. Is it? No friends, it is not the case. This is where your CRM software is needed.
CRM software can be programmed in such a way, so that it automatically sends email.
Like if Birthday = 25 th October
Trigger email with Subject = Birthday wishes from xyz company
Where email body = Hi (name)
Xyz team wishes you a very happy birthday. Hope all your dreams come true.
In this example, software checks entire database and sends email to all the people who are celebrating birthday on 25 th October.
If date = 24 th April (Ugadi Festival)
If Location = Karnataka and Andra Pradesh (south Indian states)
Trigger email with Subject = Ugadi festival Wishes from xyz team
Where email body = Hi (name)
Xyz team wishes you a very happy Ugadi.
If date = 5 th Nov (Deewali Festival)
If Location = India
Trigger email with Subject = Deewali festival Wishes from xyz team
Where email body = Hi (name)
Xyz team wishes you a very happy Deewali.
Similarly if Location is USA, wishes can be configured for ‘Thanks Giving Day’ and other occasions.
Friends, above examples are for understanding the concept – please do not go by coding (technical programming) I am trying to explain CRM functionally not technically J
So this automated email triggering is termed as ‘Email Communicator Module’ or ’Bulk email module’ in CRM software.
Hope now you have high level purpose of CRM software pertaining to existing customers. Now let’s see CRM software importance in getting new customers (prospects).
For a company who will get new customers? Obviously marketing people / sales people. Do sales people need CRM software? Yes, for sure they need. What happens if CRM software is not there with sales team? If CRM software is not there, still marketing happens but it will not be more structured and effective which will not result in getting more new customers.
Let’s take our same example of Resort. In real time, it is not so easy for business owner of resort. Rarely people go with their choice for a resort. Resorts will have a sales team where dedicated sales professionals will work for resort in getting customers to resort.
Let’s see a bit about (only glance) at sales people operations in a resort and connect to CRM software.
How does sales team get customers to resort?
- T.V ads
- Newspaper ads
- Radio announcement
- Hoardings and notice boards
- Tele calling
- Email campaign
- Putting stalls in some seminars and events.
- Approaching corporate offices
- Also some promotion activities like providing discounts to corporate people, discount on second visit, referral incentives etc.
You know by above listed activities sales team will get only Leads not deals. (Lead in sales language means – ‘prospect’ i.e. can become a customer or may not. : Deal means – prospect turned as customer)
Also you might know, in sales team – performers will get cash incentives in addition to salary and it will be based on performance. Sales people will have targets like sales person should get minimum 50 new customers per month. If sales person get 60 new customers then he / she will get some amount as incentive for getting 10 new customers. (60-50=10).
Sales team will have a senior manager followed by manager and sales executives under each manager. Manager can assign some tasks to sales executives. Like;
- On 4 th September meet (so and so) customer at New Delhi (Venue).
- Prepare proposal including resort costs and services for submitting to xyz office.
- Review proposal before sending.
- Send Proposal.
Now back to CRM software
So now, we will see what sort of CRM should be built for sales team so that operations are much smooth and results in increased sales.
Software will have separate Logins for Senior Manager, manager and sales executives.
Senior Manager will have rights to create accounts for managers. Managers will have access to create logins for sales executives and assign tasks.
For example we have 4 managers Raj, Rahul, John and Mohammad. 10 people are working under 4 Managers.
Manager will create accounts for sales executives. Sales executives will start getting new prospects by tele calling, sending emails etc. Assume if executive gets new prospect (some corporate office[Airtel], they want to visit resort for team outing) on phone and prospect wants more details and also wants executive to come to their office for a meeting in person to know more details.
Now sales executive will collect details during call like; how many people wants to visit resort, is it for a business meeting or to have fun, what are the services expected? Like games, drinks, software, email address of contact person, phone numbers? What is the age group of people? Etc..
Sales executive will enter the details in the CRM software by creating “New Cusomer”
Under New customer ‘Airtel’ he will enter details;
Customer Name – Airtel
Contact person - First name: Ajay - last name: Sharma
Lead Type: High (high means – priority. Other priority will be medium and low)
Proposal needed: (yes and No) select option.
Mode of Lead: tele call.
Comments: Customer is looking for proposal on or before 3-11-2010. After submitting proposal customer will review and wants to meet in person.
Sales executive will save this information. Similarly there can be N number of customers entry will be made by executive.
Now our manager Rahul will login to CRM software and searches for High priority Leads. He will see Airtel customer and he comes to know Airtel team wants to visit resort for team outing and looking for proposal with cost details.
Rahul will have option to create task and assign. Now he will create task like
Task Name: Proposal preparation
Task owner: Sales executive number 3 (Some name)
Start Date: 28-10-2011
End Date: 29-10-2011
Reviewer: Sales Executive number 8 (some name, who will be senior in team)
Start Date: 30-10-2011
End Date: 31-10-2011
There will be option like Assign. As soon as Rahul creates and assigns task, sales executives who are assigned will get an email notification. They have to complete their task and update in the CRM software only (not through emails and phone calls). When executives finish task there will be option in their account to notify back that task is finished.
Rahul will assign one more task now;
Task Name: Customer meeting
Task owner: Sales executive number 1 (Some name)
Start Date: 02-11-2011
End Date: 02-11-2011
Location: Airtel office - Bangalore
Rahul will notify Sales executive number 1, now executive will go and meet Airtel people and discuss. Once he /she come back then they have to update back in CRM software from their account. Like task completed and customer has told that they will give confirmation in next 5 days. (again this is updated in CRM software only not though emails and phone calls).
Now this task will go to ‘To-Do’ list. If Airtel confirms back within 5 days it is okay or else sales executive should follow-up with Airtel to close the lead as Deal.
[In real time, Airtel people can ask for discount and send revised proposal. Proposal will get revised some 4-5 times, they may not intimate in time, follow-up as to be made]
So these sort of tasks which are waiting for response will go and sit in a module call “To-Do’s” there will be an option called “remind” or “Alarm” a day before or am hour before - executive will get email from CRM software that there is a follow-up as to be made.
Also sales people will send so many proposals and documents. Also revise the same documents. How do they manage these revised versions? There is a module in CRM software called “document management” it acts as centralized repository. Any member of sales team who has access can see the document and edit and save in the same place. This will avoid emailing the documents manually.
Also in real time, if executive sends proposal, prospect may say not interested for next 6 months or may say, not interested at all. Sales executives will enter these details in the CRM software so that it can be used after sometime.
These were related to sales activities, now let us see how CRM software can help top management in decision making, managing operations and formulating strategies. You might have observed college management people; they are mainly bothered about overall and high level results. Like what is total number of passing percentage of students? How many got distinction? How many first class? How many fail students? Top performers - who can bring fame to the college?
Similarly top management will be much bothered about results. Let’s take same resort example: Assume Resort is having multiple branches across the globe. Like;
In USA there are resorts at California, New York, San Francisco, New jersey, Washington etc.
In India : Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad.
In Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide.
In England: London, Danbury, Yorkshire, Dawlish
Similarly in other nations as well. Top Management will be interested to know their sales position in different locations. How do they know? CRM software will have option of drill-down reports, It will provide the percentage with graphs. Like India 70%, Aus 58%, Eng 90%, USA 46%. Also in each nation it will provide details of each city like Bangalore what is the %? and similarly Chennai and Mumbai.
Report will provide options like comparisons of percentage variance from last 3 months, so that growth increase and decrease will be known.
What was expected revenue and what is the actual revenue? Which location is doing better? If some locations are not doing good then they will pay more attention for the growth in that location by formulating strategies.
Also report can extract who are the top performers of the month (sales wise)? Incentives received employees? Poor performers etc. based on this report top management will catch our managers Rahul, Mohammad, Raj and John.
Reports can be customized as per needs of customers. Not only reports other modules can also be customized as per business needs.
Let’s consolidate based on our examples and see what CRM software will have;
CRM Software will have ADMINISTRATOR (who will be master user of CRM software and he can create accounts for managers and executives)
Manager Login – Create user logins for sales executives, create task and assign.
Executive login or user login – can create tasks for selves and update task, create customer, upload documents, send emails.
Customer Module: This is the module where executives will create details of customers and contact person details.
Task Module: Managers can create task and assign to executives and executives can also create task but that will be assigned for self. Manager can see task status. If tasks are not completed, manager will get notifications from CRM software.
Document Module: This is a central repository of documents within CRM software where role based access will be there for executives, manager and senior manager etc. Some people can only read, others can read and write and some people will have create, read and write.
Email Communicator: CRM admin can set notifications in CRM software so that CRM software will send emails automatically on birthdays, New Year and other occasions.
Reports: Top management and managers can see the reports which will provide various sort of reports like revenue report, location wise report, top performers etc.
We can term this CRM Software as “Sales Force Automation” because it is helping sales people to optimize the process and to get more profits.
Dear Friends, CRM Software will have much more functionalities but it will be hard to have everything listed here. Above mentioned options in CRM software are more than enough for a fresher level and if you understand this properly you can add “Awareness on CRM Domain” in your resume.
Also I suggest, you can register to some websites where you can get a free trial of CRM so that you can get hands-on experience also. You can go to Oracle website and register for CRM on Demand you will get a free trial. Also Microsoft Dynamics is providing free Trial, Salesforce.com is providing free trial, Sugar CRM is providing free trial. Try all these CRM’s so that you will get fair idea.
- Different CRM providers will have their own model. There is no thumb rule that CRM has to be same.
- The readily available CRM can be customized as per business needs.
- The resort example I have quoted is just for one example, CRM can be applied for any business. For example insurance manager can use this software to manage insurance Agents. Electronics company can use CRM to maintain customer database.
Now we will see what is role of Business Analyst, as I have written in SDLC page in this website and also Roles of business analyst, same is applicable for CRM software construction project BUT a Business Analyst should be market Savvy. Business Analyst should keep updating himself / herself on the business trends because you may get a client from any business so if you are aware it avoids asking basic questions to client. However asking questions is the Business Analyst’s right :-- )
Business Analyst should study clients business, market trend about that business and should interact with different teams with business people so that needs are understood and considered.
So let’s wrap CRM for now. !!!!!
There are many more domains like Telecom, Health care, Banking, Insurance, Retail etc.. if possible I shall put more details in coming days!!!!
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