Commerce Investigating Cloud-based CRM Solution

Published: June 12, 2013

Cloud ComputingDOCShared Services

The Commerce Department is investigating purchasing a cloud-based solution for customer relationship management (CRM) to replace multiple stovepipe systems currently in place across the department.

In May, Commerce released a Sources Sought notice to solicit feedback from vendors regarding a unified system to replace a multitude of software tools that have grownup over the years to manage and track agency surveys, marketing campaigns, and social media communications with citizens.  Responses are due June 17th.

Currently, the Department of Commerce and its 12 supporting agencies utilize many existing CRM systems which support a total user base of approximately 6,000 users. The systems are based on a mixture of Consumer-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) products, SaaS offerings, and homegrown, custom applications. Due to a variety of factors such as organization mission, funding, and system capabilities, the feature set and user adoption of the systems vary greatly. Some organizations are using the system primarily for basic contact tracking, while others are performing detailed client, case, and marketing management. Some organizations are functioning as citizen service centers, leveraging CRM call center and web feedback features. 

In the face of tight budgets and federal initiatives to use shared services and cloud solutions, Commerce’s efforts to consolidate CRM functions and move them to the cloud are timely.  If the Department Commerce decides to acquire a solution, work on the project would be slated to begin in 2014.

Commerce follows in the footsteps of other agencies, such as the Army Experience Center, who put in place a CRM solution using to track recruiting efforts.  The Army estimates that to implement a traditional CRM system would have cost $500,000, while their cloud-based solution was implemented for $54,000.  GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service of the Office of Customer Accounts and Research also uses a cloud-based CRM solution based on and implemented under a contract with Citizant.