By Greg Bohlen, Strategy Practice Lead, Appirio EMEA

What if you discovered that you overlooked some key areas around planning and delivering value on your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) transformation?

Your intentions were correct and forward thinking? Cloud is the way forward and you have a shiny new CRM tool.

But, the new tool just doesn’t deliver on the transformation promise.

The failures are seldom related to the technology and it’s a common theme across enterprise deployments. It shouldn’t be the case that you’re left with the feeling of being short-changed after your CRM deployment, so why does this occur so regularly? Whether you have invested, or are planning to invest in CRM as a strategic driver, then it pays to identify the issues that might be holding you back.

The CRM White Elephant

For some, the deployment of CRM is seen as the destination rather than part of the journey. There is a naïve belief that moving from no CRM tool, or migrating from antiquated on-premise solutions, into the cloud will deliver the necessary change on its own. Projects that are run purely as IT initiatives and fail to engage the right business stakeholders are prime candidates to become White Elephants, despite best efforts delivering solid system architecture and data integrations.

Prevent this by investing time in the “Why” for each core set of users and stakeholders (both internal and external) — lay strategic foundations by understanding how a future state CRM should be the heart of all your go-to-market operations. Then think about what the journey will look like: a prioritised sequence of functionality and enhancements that will make your vision a reality.

Failure to make CRM standard work

If your deployment is described by users as “time consuming”, “an administration burden”, or “duplication of effort”, there’s a good chance that you fall into this category.

This is because CRM has been thrown in as an afterthought rather than a replacement and upgrade to current tasks and processes. We also see instances in this category of organisations that suffer from inconsistent application: users doing the same task differently in CRM due to a lack of definitions and prescribed use cases.

Information silos

Many “lift and shift” CRM deployments fall into this trap. There may be fears that can hold you back on data sharing, but there are counter measures you can take to truly leverage the power of visibility and collaboration.

Adapting to CRM insights

Even when CRM has been embedded properly, many are unable to affect the required change in their organisation or business processes to capitalise on the investment.

Essentially, businesses think and act like consumers, with higher digital expectations that are being applied to CRM databases and an expectation that if they’re using cloud, it has to be for the right, and results driven, reasons.