COVID ’19, Contact Tracing and CRM

In my earlier Blog titled ‘CRM Implementations in the Shadow of Coronavirus’,  I detailed how CRM implementations are impacted by Coronavirus and what are some of the do’s and don’ts for every player involved in the CRM ecosystem. In this blog, I am connecting the dots between COVID-19 (Coronavirus), Contact tracing and CRM to explain how CRM can become core of a future contact tracing system.

Covid-19 has struck the world and it seems that it will be around for some more time do some more serious damage. More importantly it has taught some harsh lessons to humanity and has led to the need of systemization of some activities like Contact tracing.

I hope that in the post Corona world we don’t forget these lessons and don’t ignore the need for robust and mature Contact tracing systems. I am calling Contact tracing a futuristic system because though used today, it is not formally available as a tool and is not mature.

The exercise of contact tracing is currently conducted in very special circumstances and in relatively archaic and manual fashion. We have seen the efficacy and impact of contact tracing exercises.

Let’s quickly understand what a contact tracing system is the way we know it. Contact tracing is basically tracing of contacts of a particular individual (suspect). So, for example in COVID-19 a suspect would be a + tested Coronavirus patient. His contacts are traced.

Contacts can include family, friends, distant family, business contacts, relatives and other people who he may have met in a relevant span of time. These people are traced and informed, tested and quarantined if necessary. It is a tedious task to find these contacts, get in touch with, figure their whereabouts and take action.

This contact tracing process is not formalized and neither it is available in any system. This is all manual and error prone. There is also no set rules to who would qualify for contacts in a certain context and what action is applicable.

It is also important to understand that contact tracing has become a worldwide phenomenon because of COVID-19 but has so many other applications or contexts. For example, crime situations, natural disaster, pandemics, man-made disasters like wars, crashes and positive aspects like big community wide events and even elections. There may be many other contexts where some kind of variant of contact tracing is required. So, the need is immense.

Now I want to bring CRM in the mix and explain how it can be the backbone of a contact tracing system. Infact a contact tracing system can be based on a cloud-based CRM technology. It could pretty much be Salesforce. Let’s take an example of how a CRM System like Salesforce can be used for contact tracing.

1. Person Account Contact tracing basically starts with an individual(suspect). It revolves around this individual the contacts of this individual have to be traced. In Salesforce, there is a variant of Account object called Person Account. This is generally used to define a consumer. But in this scenario, we can possibly use this object to define the individual whose contacts have to be traced or we can also this person a subject or a suspect. In case person account cannot be used then we can create a custom object for this Individual.

2. Location tracking of an individual – In order to qualify for contact tracing, this subject has to enroll in some kind of location tracking which can be updated through an API in a custom object in Sales possible called ‘Location Tracking’. This can be a conditional update. For example, an update of last 5 locations in a certain recently elapsed period.

3. Family/Household – The suspect can have a family or a household. Household can be another object in Salesforce.

4. Household contacts – we can use standard Salesforce contacts and contact relations to create a Household Contact relationship. The household relationship could be a custom junction object just account contact roles. The family becomes a 1st line of contacts (closed contacts) for the subject

5. Then we can have a close relatives/family of the subject which can be either modeled through contacts or through a separate object

6. Same with Distant relatives. All this will get to a broad family spectrum of the subject with residential information. All these contacts can be more of a static nature who do not change frequently. The same could be applied with friends and their residences

7. Now let’s look at more dynamic contacts for this subject. This could be business contacts, family doctor, lawyer, Accountants.

8. The other important information that needs to be captured is cities and countries travelled and international contacts.  This can either be done in a sophisticated way through some government travel related API’s or can be done in semi manual-automated fashion depending upon the scale and the sophistication of the solution.

9. With the above information contact related information and with current location and immediate past locations of the subject there can be many lines of action. Different actions for different rules, different actions for different types of contacts and so on and so forth.

10. This system will be cloud hosted so that it can be accessed from anywhere, can be managed at a local level like a county or a homeowner’s association or both and bigger level like a city or even a small country. This could be a national government project or managed by private players disseminating relevant information.

The idea was to link COVID-19, Contact tracing and CRM and to show how CRM can be a central technology towards development of a mature and sophisticated Contact tracing system.

I hope you have like the perspective. Your likes, comments and share will motivate me to keep writing.



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