This is an article about priorities, perspective and incentives.
Ever since I first started working with software, whether using it, writing it, or guiding people on it, I have been fascinated with how two people can have such opposing views of the same thing. The reasons for this can often be put down to perspective, process and purpose. Put simply if I don’t know what something is for, why I’m doing it and what benefit I will get, I can easily miss the point and focus on less important issues.
Whilst writing this piece I was reminded of a scene from a Bridget Jones movie, please don’t ask me why I was watching it! In the film, ‘Bridget Jones - Edge of Reason’. Bridget, our lead character, is stuck in a Thai prison with a number of female inmates. The incarcerated soulmates are sharing thoughts about their bad boyfriends. One lady asks Bridget if her boyfriend treated her badly, Bridget answers that he did. Bridget’s cell mate then goes onto explain that her boyfriend forced her to take drugs, that he stole from her, made her work all day and that he beat her.
Other girls chip in with similar stories, they then ask Bridget what her bad boyfriend did, she replies”...he really didn't stick up for me at this lawyers' supper, and, um, then he would fold his underwear... same sort of thing really”. Bridget was so focused on the small things which annoyed her she couldn’t see how good the relationship she had was, until it was almost too late. It’s like this for many law firms. You start off buying a piece of software for a particular reason, let’s call that increasing client retention, you make a really good top level plan for how the software will help you do this and implementation goes well. After a while you start to lose sight of what you were trying to do with it and communicating the benefits to your users gets a little lost. Before you know it you have unhappy users who complain that there is no button to record your clients golf handicap and you start looking around the market for something new, forgetting all the good things you had, and the reason you started on the journey.
I met with two different CRM Managers on the same day last week. One told me she loved her product and explained about the work her team were doing to get buy in from the users because she knew it would help them, she knew the challenges around adoption and had a plan, she saw it as her responsibility to help the fee earners get the best from their investment. The other CRM Manager I met was bemoaning the lack of adoption and blamed a lack of certain product features. When I asked them how those features helped them with their strategy they explained that they hadn’t real thought about that...
In essence those that get the best from their investment have a clear focused strategic objective that they align their software to, they gain buy in and agreement from Management and everyone involved to work to that goal. They measure the success of their software by its ability to match the objective and make considered decisions when buying software about its ability to achieve what they need, not what the market tells them it should. That is not an easy thing to do, but it is the right thing to do and this is where my team can help. We can also help you put perspective on a situation, apply dispassionate eyes and form a plan, without the need for time in a Thai jail to put things in perspective.