Battle Royale: ITSM vs. CRM

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. Michael is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement, and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Ever stop to think what the differences are between ITIL Service Level Management (SLM) and mainstream Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functions? Are they complementary to each other? Is CRM contained within SLM, or visa-versa? Being the curious person I am, I thought an exploration of the commonalities and differences would make for an interesting read. Perhaps there will be a few “Ah-ha!” or “Hmmm…” moments as you explore SLM vs. CRM with me.
To begin, consider the definition of each framework. Essentially, SLM is an approach IT organizations can use to monitor and assess the quality of IT services delivered in context to established Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Operational Level Agreements (OLAs). In that regard, it is very formal and structured. In contrast, CRM is a strategy for managing and nurturing a company’s interactions with customers and sales prospects and thus not nearly as prescriptive as SLM.
Yet both are based on a common goal--to consistently deliver cost effective/profitable products and services that customers want, and in a manner consistent with the goals, objectives and strategic direction of the organization.
Both SLM and CRM make use of things like call centers and help desks. Each tracks issues and events related to customer initiated contacts. One of the major differences between SLM and CRM is …

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