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8 Trends to Combat Key Issues of CRM Projects

8 Trends to Combat Key Issues of CRM Projects

Many CRM projects are not successful because the big bang approach is attempted to solve all needs at once. Others are not successful because of politics between IT and business stakeholders. However, there are successful CRM projects that have proven to not be as painful in terms of time, money, and resources. These projects follow 8 key trends that combat the key issues often found in CRM projects, thereby increasing a successful delivery of a solid CRM vision. 


What Are The Trends? 


Trend 1. The Right Solution is Selected for Reasonable Implementation Time 


If the solution does not fit the business model or revised business processes with out-of-the-box functionality, it should not be considered if it can not be implemented with minimal customizations or integrations with external systems. Instead of relying solely on the input of long-term employees, executive leadership usually hires an independent vendor selection committee to work with business and IT management to determine which solution best meets the business needs. 


Trend 2. Choosing the Right Implementation Vendor Makes the Difference 


While it is great to choose one of the Big 5 Consulting spin-off firms to implement the CRM solution, the most successful CRM projects chose smaller referenceable consulting firms based on feedback from prior and existing clients. Smaller consulting firms yield more efficient results (usually three times the quality of the deliverables provided by Big 5 Consulting firms) from the design to production phases and painstakingly take more pride and ownership in the success of the CRM implementation. 


Trend 3. Negative People Are Never on the Core Team 


There will always be nay-sayers but negative energy destroys CRM projects. The lazy, nonchalant, disgruntled employees are better served either removed from the project or engaged at the system testing phase where the negativity will force them to try to break the system, thereby identifying potential bugs and missed functionality that can be resolved before user acceptance testing and ultimately implementation. 


Trend 4. Hybrid Teams Yield Better Results 


There is always a hybrid team consisting of a counterpart on the client side to the lead developer, lead tester, and lead integrator from the third party vendor and a business lead that understands the business process for each system function. If offshore development teams are in place, two employees/consultants from the client are available to challenge and explain business logic that is normally lost in translation - a Senior Project Manager that understands developing checkpoint analyses, scorecards, and detailed project plans and a Technical Lead (consultant with years of experience in delivering the CRM solution). 


Trend 5. Bad Processes are Eliminated as Part of CRM Readiness 


Successful CRM projects have executive stakeholders that understand a bad process implemented in a CRM solution is nothing more than an automated bad business process that requires more customization - ultimately spending more in time, resource, and budget. 


Trend 6. Data Quality and Reliability Is Planned In Early Phases 


Recognizing that data conversion must be planned and developed at the same time of development is key to a successful CRM vision. Data migration and data integration are planned with data quality (cleansing) initiatives at the forefront of the design stages - not after development of system functionality 


Trend 7. Reporting Is Not an Afterthought 


Successful CRM projects keep the purpose of management visibility in the forefront of all planning and designing. Since this is always a priority and top reason for implementation, reporting is planned early in the design stages by ODS and Data Warehousing experts. 


Trend 8. Testing Time Is At Least Double the Development Time 


The standard rule of allotting two times the development time for accurate testing still applies. Successful CRM projects have 5 testing phases that involve unit/functional testing, system testing, user acceptance testing, and regression testing to re-test errors that are resolved by the development team. 

Breathe Easy About Your CRM 
A decision to deploy CRM is a major strategy initiative and often companies are faced with questions regarding the usefulness of CRM. Even though CRM spending is on the rise, the number of CRM deployments that are failing is also very high and this leads to doubts and misconceptions about the efficacy of CRM. Moreover, most companies that deploy CRM report unsatisfactory ROI. Given below are some common fears and misconceptions harbored by companies looking to deploy CRM. 
1. CRM is not for everybody - Most people harbor an idea that CRM is meant only for big companies and even at an individual level employees feel that you need to be especially qualified to master CRM processes, this approach bordering on rank neglect of CRM processes affects adoption rates within the company. Issues of data security, skepticism regarding the competitive advantage gained by deploying CRM and lack of clarity concerning the changes in roles and responsibilities are some of the issues that cloud opinions on CRM. 
2. CRM is too disruptive - Often employees are unwilling to make alterations in their manner of working. Habits acquired over years of following set processes are hard to change; more so when employees are convinced that a change is not required and the one being proposed i.e. CRM is only going to be a disruptive influence. There is often a deep down insecurity of being rendered redundant in the new scheme of things. 
3. CRM exacerbates the problem of conflicting data - Another falsity arising from an individual's irrational fear of technology. But it's not entirely a misconception. Very often CRM deployments cannot successfully integrate the new CRM software with legacy databases and this can create frustrations for the end user; however this is not sufficient grounds for holding a grudge against the concept. Proper deployment and correct user training can prevent many data-related mishaps that occur if CRM is not implemented correctly. 
4. CRM does not make it easy - A common doubt raised by prospective CRM is that running the system requires inputting vast amounts of data; following CRM procedures eats into a sales person's time which he could otherwise utilize for generating and following up with leads. Again not true. CRM makes lead generation that much easier and plugging data is a team effort wherein everyone from the sales persons to the IT admin has a role to play. 

Attention Students - You Get More than Tech Talk From CRM News 
Business students and not only businesspersons can gain new insights into the complexities of the business world from reading the latest CRM news. The press releases do not dwell on the technology alone, but discuss the important aspects of business operations in interesting articles, which would be welcomed by even the most insipid of business student. 
Why You Should Read The News 
If you fall asleep in the first paragraph of a business paper, you are in for a jolt. CRM news present interesting accounts of every part of business: finance management, people management, customer management, and people management. The news covers all industries and provides honest and fresh insights into small and big business operations. 
Business students find CRM articles interesting not only for its fresh perspectives, but also for the wealth of current and educational information it gives to the white paper and collaterals. If you want a quick fix for your school business assignment, read on. 
Students can get updates on the best business practices and learn new terms to go and get better grades for their business essays as they are able to defend their essay thesis with current business opinions and trends. They can always provide examples, which populate CRM information sites. 
For the businessperson, CRM news gives a balanced discussion of the merits and demerits of CRM technology - which is suited for what and the pitfalls managers fall into when running their CRM operations. The home-based business-minded moms could also get into the groove of CRM articles and discussions. 
With a common frame of reference, families can discuss CRM and confer strategies to improve their homegrown business using the latest CRM advice and tips from gurus who have developed their expertise through the years of using the technology, or from encounters with the use of the technology by other trades and the impact it had on the business. 
Getting the Most Out of the News 
You will not have any difficulty looking up CRM news. There are several offering their two cents worth of ideas. You can sift through these and compare notes with other sites. You will find yourself becoming more acquainted with CRM and the many versions that represent it like software, self-administered CRM, web-based CRM, and hosted CRM. 
For the businessperson, the various articles expound the benefits of each and their disadvantages, placing emphasis on making the right choice when opting to upgrade CRM, financial, or operations management and aiming for optimal personnel efficiency. 
As a student, you can get more ideas for your business assignments, explore new discoveries, and find their relevance to practical applications. Practicing your evaluation and analytical skills when you compare notes becomes a mental exercise. 
Get Ahead With the News 
Knowing what is going on in business circles using the web can prepare you for your business goals someday. You will not be the typical newbie who wants to take on the business world without an idea of the dangers lurking ahead. 


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