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.