Business & Information Systems Engineering

Article Title

CURIE: Towards an Ontology and Enterprise Architecture of a CRM Conceptual Model

Document Type

Research Paper


Companies face the challenge of managing customer relationships (CRM) in a context marked by a drastic digital transformation and unbridled evolution of consumer behavior, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The customer is more demanding, has access to the global market and interacts with companies through multiple digital channels, such as email, social networks, mobile apps or instant messaging. In this situation, the success of a CRM implementation highly depends on information technology and the applications used. To harmonize this new business context with the development of information systems (IS), a suitable CRM ontology and enterprise architecture (EA) is needed. While an ontology-based conceptual model provides a unifying framework, aids sharing and reusing knowledge, and facilitates communication within a domain, an EA-based model unequivocally describes, analyzes, and visualizes how an organization should operate from the perspective of business, application, and technology. The purpose of the paper is the proposal of CURIE-O, a CRM OntoUML UFO-based ontology, together with CURIE-EA, a CRM ArchiMate-based EA to serve business managers and IS specialists an updated unifying framework of reference in the CRM domain as well as a highly efficient tool to support application development and maintenance in this changing and increasingly digital context. Modeling has proven to be an essential element to achieve high-performance information systems. In order to apply the ontology and the EA proposed here, the authors developed a CRM task management application prototype that was implemented as a case study in a consulting company. The methodology followed was design science research (DSR), in order to design and validate the artifacts. Within the DSR framework, other complementary research methods have been used, in particular literature research, interviews and focus groups carried out with several hotel chains in Tenerife (Canary Islands). The main existing CRM models in the scientific literature have also been analyzed together with the leading CRM market solutions.

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