CRM gets personal

I just learned by the Ajatus Manifesto that sixty-five percent of all CRM systems fail. Ajatus blames companies rushing to implement CRM. I’m sure that’s true. But I also think it’s possible that CRM itself is flawed by the closed and silo’d nature of the “relationships” involved. As a customer I can only relate to company CRM systems on the companies’ terms. Not on ones that I provide as well — for the good of us both. In other words, the base problem is that the lack of customer independence as a base condition for the relationship in the first place.

But I see here that Ajatus itself is a new CRM system for individual humans. Specifically,

Ajatus is a revolutionary CRM that runs as a local Ajax web application on your own computer. It uses the CouchDb object database for data storage and enjoys a wide range of plug-in and replication possibilities. With Ajatus you can keep track of your

  • Notes
  • Contacts
  • Appointments
  • Hour reports

…and as Ajatus is very extensible…

So it’s personal. That’s interesting.

It ‘s also an open source project, which is cool. Here’s more from the prime author, Henri Bergius:

What makes Ajatus so special is the approach we’re taking with it. Having with OpenPsa found the traditional, hierarchical CRM approach unworkable we wanted to solve the problem in a different way:

  • Local, rich AJAX client everybody can run on their laptop or internet tablet
  • Replication to allow sharing data with partners, customers and the employer
  • Simple base data types (note, event, contact, …) that users can customize and extend
  • Possibility to build integration tools and plug-ins in almost any language (with CouchDb’s restful JSON interface)
  • Speed

To help us stay on the right path we even wrote an Ajatus Manifesto to guide ourselves.

Currently the software already runs and does pretty much all the basic things needed. Once we get it into state where we can dogfood it (in interoperation with the company OpenPsa) we will make the first release. Until then, stay tuned, check the Git repository and join the talk!

Perhaps Hernri would be interested in joining ours as well.

Meanwhile, thanks to Zak Greant for pointing out the Ajatus Manifesto.


  1. Paul

    fyi, the 65% figure is way out of date…this came from a 2002 Gartner report. AMR has the most recent data and they’re pegging the failure rate at 35%. According to the research, the biggest cause of failure is lack of buy-in from end users. This aligns with my personal experience…a lot of sales reps don’t want to spend time filling out call logs when they could be on the phone (or on the golf course :-). They also don’t like the idea of being tracked by big brother (although they typically won’t cite this as their reason for not using the product).

    I tend to disagree with your thoughts on the causes of failure, but i think the sentiment is right on track…if the customer had the ability to guide the relationship according to their wants/needs, it would benefit both parties. This will require a huge mind shift, as most companies that I’ve worked for tend to think in terms of customer control…even lead generation modules in CRM packaged are designed to get people in the door so that the company can then gain “ownership” of the customer.

  2. Bill Wallace

    End user adoption is obviously critical. Not properly trained, staff are going to bash the system causing a downward spiral in acceptance.

    The major problem with any CRM system is that it is brought in by management, implemented by consultants working with staff who are generally under educated. Giving the impression of “being forced upon” those who will use it and promoting a “big brother” attitude.

    And, as stated by Paul, the customer tends to be left out of the equation. Perhaps a paradigm shift towards CMR – customer-managed-relationships?

  3. Glenn

    The foundation of CRM as a strategy is customer-centricity.
    CRM frequently fails because the front-line employees and their middle managers don’t like it.
    Therefore, when implementing CRM as a business strategy, involve representatives from all departments, especially front-line staff and their managers in the design and implementation.

    In this context, they are your customers. If you are not customer-centric when implementing CRM you are hypocritical.

  4. zubair

    Very nice and informative article!

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