I'm pleased to report that companies embarking upon their CRM initiative (for the first time or
successive times) increasingly are taking the time to get their people, process and technology mix
At a utility company in Canada, the CRM development team has started by completing an assessment of 19 essential business processes. For each process, including each step of each process, the team has attached a metric unit against which the CRM system success shall be measured. The team also currently is formulating an important change management program aimed at ensuring that CRM system users are trained in these new business processes prior to securing efficiencies by applying CRM automation in support of the process. Lastly, the CRM development team has mandated that all potential CRM software vendors clearly demonstrate how well their proposed solution meets the specific needs of each process step. In other words, the utility company is saying processes, then people, then technology. BINGO!
I've seen the same type of professionalism at a leading Health Information Provider, located in Indianapolis. In their situation, the recently appointed CRM guru (seduced from another senior management position) has started by securing a clear CRM vision statement that has resulted from interviewing the entire company's senior management team, and by agreeing to present for approval a company-wide CRM business case to this same senior management
Moreover, for each business unit CRM project, the company has locked in on an 18-step CRM software and implementation roadmap methodology that will first deliver an agreed-upon list of prioritized business functions, a business process readiness assessment, and a business case for each CRM project that will be realized within their multi-year CRM program. In other words, people and process prior to technology. Again, BINGO!
Ever since founding ISM in 1985, I have written about the importance of doing your CRM homework prior to looking into CRM automation tools. In short, CRM is not about technological wizardry or the latest technology toy. Rather, CRM is a business approach that aims to integrate people, process and technology to maximize your relationship with customers, and remember that today's customers increasingly include e-customers along with the more traditional distribution channel customers, internal customers and supply chain customers. My hat goes off to these two companies and the others understand that, as with all successful business approaches, starting out on the right path is critical. The message seems to be getting through!
Barton Goldenberg is the president of ISM Inc. (www.ismguide.com), a CRM research, market analysis and consulting firm. ISM is also the publisher of The Guide to CRM Automation, available through SearchCRM at http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/buyersGuideProductDetail/0,289826,sid11_cid402016,00.html.
This was first published in August 2001