Modern Best Practices For CRM and ERP Implementation
Enterprise software is changing faster than ever before. These powerful business applications provide users the ability to make business processes more efficient; achieving dynamic new business outcomes. In light of this, more and more businesses are in the process of a CRM or ERP implementation. However, there is a cautionary that comes along with this. According to Gartner , nearly 50% of implementation projects actually deliver what the users thought they would recieve when the system went live; rendering many of these costly projects as failures.
All is not lost. A CRM or ERP implementation can can transform your business, and almost always pays for itself relatively quickly if it is implemented correctly. So how does someone properly implement an ERP or CRM software system?
Modern vs. Traditional
Traditionally businesses have taken an order-giving approach to IT, or an outside vendor/consultant; in regards to CRM or ERP implementation. Unfortunately, this can often be a major issue. We discussed exactly why this is in a previous article about the failure rate of “button projects”.
Quite simply, think of it this way…
For those of you involved with business operations, have you ever asked IT to make a modification or create a new report, and after it was delivered said, ” that was not what you asked for”?
For those of you in IT, have you ever been asked to create something and after it was delivered the user said, “that is not what I wanted”, knowing that to the best of your knowledge it’s exactly what they asked for?
This is incredibility common because most of the time the business operations people don’t have enough technical knowledge to give IT adequate information, and IT does not have enough knowledge about the business issue to ask all the right questions. Organizations often rush into thinking they know exactly what kind of new enterprise software system they need, and what they need from it, only to find that once it’s implemented that it doesn’t accomplish many of the things that it was originally intended to provide. This is the traditional approach to CRM and ERP implementation that is occurring in organizations all over the world today.
The modern approach understands business processes at the beginning of a project
CRM and ERP implementation can be a lot like a construction project. First it’s important to draw up the blueprints to ensure that the builders and commissioners are on the same page, and have documentation that they can use to see exactly what the finished product will look like. Next, it’s imperative to ensure that there is a solid foundation that can be built on. If the foundation isn’t right, the whole house could be a disaster. Finally, once the blueprints are drawn and the foundation is laid, it’s time to start building.
Along the way, if it was my house, I know I’d want to monitor the progress and see what they’re building throughout the project. That way, if something wasn’t right, or I wanted to make a change, I’d know well before the house was built; thus preventing costly changes once the house is complete.
This is the approach that we use internally in our Datix Strategic Solutions process; which follows this same, common sense formula. Our process is designed to mitigate risk at every stage; providing transparency and direct communication. This kind of detail, control, and sure-handedness helps to ensure that every ounce of ROI is milked out of the software; while allowing the business the flexibility to manage scope and budget the whole time.
Everybody loves moving, right? Just like how moving into a new home can take some adjustments, moving into a new system requires a certain amount of adjustment as well. It’s natural for there to be difficulty when things change inside of an organization; however, having a universal revolt of a new system can be just as risky as a poor implementation process.
Traditionally this has been handled just prior to a new system’s go live. Unfortunately, this can take users by surprise, and the rapid change can often lead to poor adherence to new system processes.
Managing change across the organization is critical for system adoption and success. The best way to do this is to start at the beginning of the implementation process, and to drive initiatives throughout the life of the project and beyond. This is where training and user development is critical. These are essential components of your CRM or ERP implementation.
Going back to the beginning we talked about how critical it is for blueprints to be drawn and foundations to be laid before a brick is ever laid. To ensure business outcomes and technology investments align, companies must ensure that both the system builders and the business operations teams are on the same page before construction ever starts.
Ultimately, the home owner just wants a beautiful new home, and what you want is a system that meets your needs and helps you achieve your goals. Having a process that mitigates risk at every stage of implementation, and provides transparency and control throughout the project enables that to occur.