"It took legal professionals a while to embrace customer relationship management (CRM) technology, but the advent of products tailored to the specific needs of the industry has made it easier than ever for attorneys to trust the tech with their most sensitive asset.
"This is especially true in large firms, which have no practical hope of managing their internal and external relationships competitively without a CRM system. Anyone who has ever received one of those desperate, spam-like, all-points-bulletin, who-knows-somebody-who-knows-somebody e-mails understands the problem: When you count your colleagues in triple digits, you can’t just yell across the cubicles.
"But in general, CRM systems still lack the ability to calculate the ‘strength’ of a relationship — to distinguish between, say, a long-term client and somebody who dropped a business card into a fishbowl at a conference two years ago. This is a critical gap in functionality, says Geoffrey Hyatt, CEO and founder of Contact Networks, and one felt acutely in large service-oriented organizations. ‘There’s a difference between customers and clients,’ he says. ‘Client relationships are not binary, on-off interactions. They’re all about degrees.’"