I am curious about how other companies implementing CRM technology have their IT CRM organization aligned. Specifically, is the IT CRM department formed as a separate group or does it fall under a more traditional IT department such as sales, manufacturing or finance?

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With the adoption of CRM strategies, IT has moved into customer-facing business processes. There are few suite vendors that can enable and meet the needs of business users in sales, marketing and customer service. CRM project teams face complex integration challenges using best-of-breed packages. Most CRM projects fail because of process and management-related, rather than technical, problems; CRM projects are more complex in business and technical terms.

To manage this increased complexity, the project team for each CRM application domain should include full-time IT and business managers. A traditional hierarchical project structure modified to recognize the interconnectivity among subteams, staffed with business and technical personnel, will increase communication between team members and bring an enterprisewide perspective to the project to enhance decision making. The managers are jointly responsible for a single application domain, manage the day-to-day activities and tasks in the project plan and report to the project manager for that domain. The latter, supported by a domain-specific steering committee, reports to the CCO, who oversees and coordinates all projects in the enterprise's CRM initiative.

This was first published in May 2003

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