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10 Steps To Success With On-Demand CRM

Oct 19, 2007
Implementing On-Demand CRM is fundamentally different from other business system implementation because virtually all of the IT pain is eliminated by the on-demand nature of the application.

However, this is still an application that will change the way that your people do their day to day work and so the hard part of business change initiatives still need to be tackled well to get the huge potential return on your investment.

Here are our ten steps to making sure that your On-Demand CRM implementation is successful:

1. Understand your CRM strategy and objectives

A CRM strategy typically changes the way the organisation captures and uses information that arises from each interaction with the customer to drive up revenues and contain costs.

The problems that are currently preventing you achieving your growth and productivity objectives will determine the shape and scope of the initiative to execute the CRM strategy.

Once you are clear about the problems, you can identify the drivers and get people to buy into delivering the performance improvements that the new environment will need to deliver.

2. Launch a formal initiative

So the business has decided to implement On-Demand CRM and the boss wants to see some "quick wins", so the best thing to do is get stuck in. WRONG! Many initiatives never deliver because they are not properly set up.

Any system implementation needs to be set up as an internal project, with objectives and goals that clearly align to strategy. It needs a plan and a project managed team of people. But most of all, the initiative needs the buy in of the management team.

Once the initiative has been properly set up (and not before) then you are ready to "crack on".

3. Design the CRM processes

The mantra throughout a successful implementation is "Keep It Simple!" As with so many other things true success feels simple and so it is with processes.

Having first decided the scope of the implementation, you should map out how the processes work (or don't work!) today, then map out how they should work in the future. This mapping effort is all about designing the way the business will work once the new application is working and includes the specification for the set up stage.

4. Assess the impact on the organisation

Now you have figured out how the work should be done, ask how the organisations structure or culture or behaviours might need to change. Responsibilities and accountabilities for handling information and making decisions will probably be different. As these become clear, start to plan how and when you will change the organisation.

5. Agree the On-Demand CRM configuration

Armed with the design information we are ready to configure the application and then confirm that it meets the business needs. This is an essential step to take before releasing the application to the user community. This stage is often iterative as the agreed design may not quite fit the way the business had envisaged it once they see the application working. Typically there are likely to be two or three iterations before the bugs are eliminated so that the users can sign it off.

6. Set up your On-Demand CRM environment

Before you can train people on the application, you need to make sure that the whole environment is correctly set up. At this stage you have already configured the application, now you need to get it ready for your users.

Once your environment is fully set up and tested you are ready to train the users.

7. Train your people

Every user needs to have some sort of face to face training before you go live with the new application. Otherwise they simply won't have the confidence to use it for real and adoption will suffer.

8. Drive adoption towards 100%

Once the end users are trained you can do the final transfer of existing data into the application and then you are ready to "go live". The transfer to the new system needs to happen as soon as possible after the user training finishes, preferably within a few days.

The challenge now is to get everyone using the application properly. You need to put in place user support in the form of expert users, access to an on-line knowledge base and the training materials.

As well as providing support, it is important to have an incentive for people to use the new application.

9. Optimise the application and the new processes

The purpose of optimisation is to make sure that you get the maximum benefit from your On-Demand CRM implementation. The beauty of on-demand is that you can be up and running in a very short time but it is simply inconceivable that everything about the initial configuration will be perfect. The way you do business will also change from time to time. So optimisation should be seen as an ongoing process.

10. Manage people and process performance

As with Optimisation, Performance Management is an ongoing process and runs in parallel with steps 8 and 9. As part of the initial configuration, dashboards and reports should have been developed. These will need to be modified as part of the optimisation and priority should be given to ensuring that managers get the information at their fingertips that helps them manage the users and the process.

It is essential that performance information is reviewed and acted on regularly, otherwise performance will stagnate and start to deteriorate. Doing nothing when performance is flagging is simply not an answer!

So there we have it, 10 Steps to Success with On-Demand CRM. As with all methodologies, the devil is in the detail!
About the Author
Mike McIntyre is a partner in Xenogenix, http://www.xenogenix.co.uk, who offer CRM project services for UK business.
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