Project management key to CRM implementation success
Having been involved in numerous Lexis InterAction implementations, a common observation is that those organisations that take a structured approach to project management see the smoothest delivery. Of course, all firms project manage CRM implementations, but the extent to which they do it is the difference. Based on experience and anecdotal evidence, I’d like to give my two cents worth in this blog!
A dedicated project manager each on the client side and the technology supplier is a necessity. It supports a collaborative approach. They must be given the freedom to select their team for the project too. In doing so, they take on control of the project along with the responsibility to deliver high quality of work, to budget and on time.
It is critical though that any CRM implementation is not treated purely as a technology project, and so the team selected must be representative of the larger goals and deliverables of the solution. CRM needs to deliver strategic benefits – alongside flawless technology execution; the objective must be facilitating widespread adoption of CRM so that the discipline can be embedded in the organisation. Therefore, in addition to IT the team should comprise professionals across levels and functions including marketing, business development, support, PAs, executive assistants, and finance. BLM LLP is a case in point.
The project leaders will do well to start the project in a controlled fashion. Structured kick-off meetings always work and can help create a sense of ownership among team members. Produce a project charter at the outset, even though it may evolve along the way. It will help set boundaries and reporting lines too.
Clichéd as it might sound, ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ goes the saying. No other single factor will have greater impact on your success. Doing so will help you foresee and mitigate risks and unplanned expenses in the longer term. Corporate rescue and recovery specialist Begbies Traynor Group, spent six months assessing, defining and refining its unique business requirements to appropriately configure InterAction. Furthermore, plan for the long term, but implement in phases. This will help fine-tune the CRM strategy and deliver incremental gains. As part of the implementation process firms should consider phases of the deployment across practice areas, or key clients, this will also help establish best practices, communicate standard business processes and test functionality so that it meets the requirements of all types of users.
Finally, continually measure and review progress. Make adjustments along the way to plans and procedures to ensure that the project stays relevant to the business goals and strategy.