Why CRM and ERP Use Cases Are Critical For Implementation
If there’s anything that you know already about enterprise software, you will know that ERP and CRM implementation projects are no easy task; from selecting a vendor to choosing your project management team to going through the lengthy timeline of business process modeling, change management and user training. It can often seem like the go-live date of your project gets further and further away.
As we often mention on the blog, a large-scale endeavor such as CRM or ERP is rarely a do-it-yourself project. Software implementations are strategic, assiduous, and should detail business processes that will make the future state of your firm profitable.
Of course, it’s certainly possible for a firm to produce a deliverable that documents its own business processes in great detail—after all those within the company will know them best. However, solely internalizing implementation projects can cause sudden major, and unpredictable, hiccups. The reason why? Companies and top-level leaders within them can tend to have certain blind spots in their business that will then lead to incomplete or myopic results. Your C-Suite cannot by nature be intimately involved with every single function and task of every single employee: they simply don’t know what they don’t know. Because of this, we strongly recommend using an experienced partner to dish out perspective in areas of your implementation that you and other executives will undoubtedly miss—and the result of even the smallest loophole in process modeling can be game changer for your implementation.
Expert consulters here at Datix find that pairing a project team to an implementation in order to define “use cases” of the system is generally more of an effective way for businesses to overcome the gaps in their system. The list of CRM or ERP use cases that your team draws up will become documents that detail the interactions between actors—humans or other business software applications—and the new system. How will the software support every function and task your business must carry out daily, weekly, annually? Your CRM or ERP uses cases need to determine this. This article details the top 10 reasons using an implementation partner to assemble use cases is much more effective and why clients that do choose partners usually have more successful implementations, more often.
- Provide Resolution for Error
CRM and ERP use cases act as business modeling techniques that define the features of the enterprise software implementation. They map out how each function and process will be carried out in the system. This map of uses cases can then be an invaluable tool to provide a resolution if any errors are encountered by a user—they simply need refer back to the ERP use cases document to see how the system was supposed to be set up prior to the error.
- Critical In the Approval Process
CRM and ERP use cases conceptualize the objectives of the implementation project. Generally, the internal project team is tasked with establishing those objectives and providing a proposed structure for the system. In doing so, use cases allow the client to verify the details of a project and to see how a project team plans to meet their objectives. This is also a time when the partnering firm can level up additional requirements uncovered during the planning stage and discuss if change orders will be required with the client. In short, use cases open up an avenue communication and understanding in what can often seem like a murky and frustrating process.
- Engage Executive Sponsorship With ERP Use Cases
Use cases motivate business users at the executive level to become more involved in any enterprise project. Executives do not necessarily help create use cases, but they are ultimately responsible for their review and approval. The opportunity allows these power users to make sure the project team communicated business processes effectively and will manage the expectations of your C-suite when it comes to go-live day. If they know the exact objectives of every aspect of the new software, you will avoid scope creep and disappointed executives once the software is in place.
- Used as a Reference Tool
This is arguably one of most important functions of CRM and ERP use cases and is central to the Datix process. Project teams will attribute all their use cases to a catalog at the conclusion of a project, which can then be sourced by business users later who need to reference the original plan of the project. Sophisticated project managers will also link use cases to the originating business process models, as well as the catalog, to illustrate how those use case processes triggered a new event. Essentially then, the use cases catalog will work as a road map for users. It is an excellent tool so that businesses can continue to use the system for its intended purposes, avoiding personalizing processes later on that add no value to the business and end up creating spaces of waste and lag in the software.
- Decreases Chance for Risks, Improves Expectations
Perhaps a more fundamental reason for assembling CRM and ERP use cases is to eliminate uncertainties and improve expectations throughout an implementation timeline. Use cases aim to improve the usefulness of a system from a very high level right down to the finite needs of a specific silo. In addition, project members and executive sponsors work together to approve the detailed information and assure that certain expectations are being met. Use cases illustrate how inputs trigger a desired output in the system using best development practices. Thus, the description depicts a unique process that should remain consistent as agreed up by project leaders, even after the software has gone live and the project team has been disbanded.
- Ensures Project Stays Within Scope
Use cases allow project teams to better manage the scope of project. Often, businesses will go through a beneficial practice called the prioritization process that begins at the very onset of a project. Prioritization allows users to decide which use cases are critical to jobs and which are luxuries of a system. As the process is consistently recurring throughout the project, to ensure the most critical needs of the system are met first. Team leaders can then budget for resources based on their assessment of priorities, and avoid wasting valuable investment dollars on add-ons and customizations your system might not need.
- The Use Case Catalog is a Living Document
Because countless changes are endlessly happening inside your enterprise system in order to bend its functionalities around the most unique parts of your business, sourcing the origin of change is critical to keep your software in order. System administrators will certainly need to be able to review how a process works now and how it will look in the future. The use case catalog is therefore a living document that can be modified later as system improvements and further customizations happen. Having this constantly updating log of CRM and ERP use cases is a more effective way for our clients to see how something works, what they can expect from those processes, and how a transaction in the system can be improved using the best practices, rather than guessing on improvements—a surefire way to introduce uncertainty into your system.
- Gives Technical and Functional Requirements
CRM and ERP uses cases conceptualize the functionality of specific interactions along with details of that interaction’s configuration and intended purpose. For example, your company may provide services in many locations around the world and will need an ecommerce site to reach several of your customers. This particular use case will then detail the technical requirements that it will take—systematically—to display the site in different languages and accept multiple currencies. Functional requirements of the interaction show the ability, or result, of the system given the use case technical requirements, like the ability to assign various site displays based on language or currency selection. Thus, these cases can tangle apart the interaction of your technical and functional processes and allow you insight into how the two are affecting the other at every level of your business.
- Benefits the Project Team
Rarely do we see clients completely certain of their project goals at the start of any implementation. As we’ve said before; they simply don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to specific processes at the employee level. That’s why using a partner who understands business processes and has experience in drawing up CRM and ERP use cases is so beneficial. As use cases are assembled, goals change. After all, businesses don’t have time to manage the intricacies of their software; they must dedicate their time to actually managing the business. Ultimately, the time needed to invest in process modeling and use case definition can cause a business to become reluctant to discover which processes are truly holding them back. Use cases will also document desired future functionality—so although a particular requirement might not be included in the early plan and analyze stages of your project, the needs and wants for the future state of the business are captured and can be revisited going forward, allowing you to set aside the time you need to work with your software.
- Fosters Communication
Fundamentally, CRM and ERP use cases can be crucial communication tools. The content of a use case outlines the reason for the functionality, who or what will be using it, the preconditions for the process—needs of the client to carry out the action—requirements of the process and rules of the process. Use cases communicate the facts of the process for users to review. In addition, they give the project team a chance to voice any additional needs they may have and announce clear expectations for the project’s objectives to executives. Clear communication is one of the most crucial ways you are going to get your employees to adopt the software quickly—otherwise they will shy away from a project (and a system) that they don’t fully understand.
CRM and ERP use cases must be included in the foundation of your enterprise software project. As Datix senior consultant Jessica Becher notes, this process takes a bit more time on the project’s front end, but finding a partner who knows and understands these processes pays dividends during the lifecycle of the project and almost always saves a lot more money in the long run.
At Datix, we know business processes and are certified in the most sought after software of today’s modern business. Our use cases is what we provide to businesses that help them stay on track after the project is completed. More importantly, it de-risks the chance for project derailment by fostering accountability and ownership of the system.
Is your firm being held back due to a disparate system? Are their problems occurring for reasons unknown? Contact an expert at Datix today!