Technology and Disruption: How the New Customer Relationship
Influences the Corporate Strategy
To be published in Khare, A., Stewart, B. & Schatz, R. (eds.), Phantom Ex Machina Digital Disruption’s
Role in Business Model Transformation. Springer 2016
Andreas Krämer, Thomas Tachilzik and Robert Bongaerts
It is increasingly the case that major changes in the technological environment and customer digital
behavior have a significant impact on the way companies manage their customer relationship. Here,
the related perspectives of value management are concerned: (a) The design of products and services
including the way of interaction with the customer that generate a high customer benefit and (b) the
focus of companies on customers with high profit margin and sales potential.
The flow of information is also in two directions. Firstly, one information flow refers to data that
originates from the customer. Through digitized customer relationship processes, companies receive
more detailed and real time data about products and services than was the case earlier – this is a
noticeably new situation for industries that formerly had limited contact with the end consumer.
Secondly, there is an information flow triggered by the company as it is now easier for enterprises to
actively communicate with customers increasingly in real-time and individually. This direct marketing
has been revolutionized in a digital and networked world, making a long discussed 1:1 marketing
This is an opportunity and a challenge for the corporate strategy at the same time. The ability to
extract information from Big Data and evolve smart data becomes a competitive factor: on the one
hand tailored products and services can be offered to the customer, while on the other hand the
controlling and steering of customer value management in real time is possible.
In the first step the paper examines the challenges for CRM in a world of disruptive technology. In the
second step it shows how digital transformation changes the flow of information from customer to
company and vice versa by looking at different industries. In the third step the influence on corporate
strategy is examined and a broader definition of CRM is suggested regarding both aspects, the
perspective of the company and the perspective (and perception) of the customer.
: CRM, Internet of Things, Big Data, Customer Value Management, Digital Transformation,
Social CRM, Omni Channel Management
Disruptive Technology and its Challenges for CRM
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a business strategy that optimizes revenue and
profitability while promoting customer satisfaction and loyalty. The occurrence of disruptive
technology is changing the framework for Customer Relationship Management. Figure 1 describes
major challenges for CRM looking at the 3C of the strategic triangle (customer, company and