Document Type



The concepts of customer relationship management (CRM) and knowledge management (KM) have been recently gaining wide attention in business and academia. Both approaches focus on allocating resources to supportive business activities in order to gain competitive advantages.

CRM focus on managing the relationship between a company an its current and prospective customer base as a key to success. A good relationship with the customer leads to higher customer satisfaction. Content customers are loyal and therefore more valuable customers. This directly affects the revenue stream.

KM sees the knowledge available to a company as a major success factor. Through superior knowledge companies can accomplish their results faster, cheaper and with higher quality than their competition. Knowledge about customers, markets and other relevant factors of influence allows faster utilization of opportunities and more flexible reaction to threats.

From the perspective of a process owner both CRM and KM approaches promise positive impact on the cost structure and revenue streams for a company in return for allocating resources from the core business into supportive functions. This investment is not without risk as many failed projects in the areas of CRM and KM demonstrate.

In this paper we show that the benefit of using CRM and KM can be enhanced and the risk of failure reduced by integrating both approaches into a customer knowledge management (CKM) model. Managing relationships requires managing knowledge for the customer, knowledge about the customer and knowledge from the customer. KM takes the role of a service provider for CRM, managing the four knowledge aspects content, competence, collaboration and composition to satisfy customer requests within stated budget restrictions. The findings are based on literature analysis and six years of action research, supplemented by case studies and surveys.