CRM History | Maxi CRM

CRM History

In last article I said something about the main principles of CRM in some company and the phases of CRM life cycle. But how those phases and principles developed over time? The robust CRM systems we have today seemed like impossible thing 50 years ago. In the rest of this article I will say something about CRM history and its development from simple use of paper and pen to robust softwares we have today.

The beginning of CRM systems is pretty obvious. People started to use pen and paper (or quill) to write all the needed information about business, sales and customers in order to analyze and track information that should allow merchants to improve their business.

Pen and paper

And the in 1950s we got The Rolodex. Most of people don’t even know what Rolodex is but it has been largely used in that time to track records about customers and easily have all the needed information at one place. Rolodex was a file device that stored contact information of every customer on a business card. All you had to do was write information on card and attach it to device.

But what if you have hundreds or even thousands of customers? Well, if you were in 1950s then you had some problems. But about thirty years later in early 1980s ACT! was developed. ACT! was often called a “digital rolodex”. It allowed companies to store large amount of contact information about customers on one place and organize them easily and efficiently. Another huge thing that happened in 1980s is the development of database marketing. At the time, database marketing was a process that was responsible for analyzing all the customer information and enabling companies to view every customer on different way and therefore customize the communications with specific customers to make them happier and satisfied. During that years a mass production of PCs started and the whole process of collecting and organizing all the data about customers became much easier and much more effective.

Siebel Systems | CRM History

In 1990s CRM area got a real revolution. The first major thing in these years is the innovation of SFA (Sales Force Automation) software.  This softwares offered improvement in lots of areas. For example, it offered automation of some business tasks like tracking the interaction of customers, controlling the inventory and similar. It also offered businesses much more information about customers. One of the best companies that produced SFA softwares at that time was Siebel Systems.

Siebel Systems

The term CRM was first used in 1995. SFA softwares combined with contact management offered complete products that didn’t actually have a name. Terms like ECM (Enterprise Customer Management) and CIS (Customer Information System) were used then but CRM took over. CRM continued to evolve with every year, especially after the arrival of mobile technology. The first trip of CRM into mobile market was with the appearance of Siebel Handheld. First SaaS (Software as a Service) vendor first appeared at the end of 1990s.


In the start of 2000s CRM almost died. Why? Well, “dot-com” technologies appeared and the entire CRM industry had license losses and lost a lot of money. But through that decade CRM system actually improved and Microsoft later entered to CRM world with their own system called Dynamics CRM. Oracle bought Siebel Systems and lots of other similar companies and therefore became the biggest competitor to Dynamics CRM from Microsoft.

One of the biggest changes to CRM industry happened in 2006 when Salesforce presented a cloud-based CRM. Another big explosion on CRM market happened when ComcastCares appeared. ComcastCares focused on interaction with customers more than on any other things and that was actually the main difference between this and other corporations that offered CRM solutions. Soon after that lots of other corporations started to follow the example Comcast showed and because of that we have social CRM systems used today.

Dynamics CRM

Today, most of CRM solutions are cloud-based and are getting more and more features every day. One of the most important features that are constantly developing is the customer service and social CRM due to higher popularity of social networks and realization that customer is the most important person of every business.

What can we expect from the future? I don’t think anyone can say but I expect even faster development of CRM solutions because good CRM system can bring lots of benefits to some company.

That’s it for this article. I hope you learned something about CRM history and if you think about the future and what could CRM vendors bring us in few years feel free to share that opinion with us.