Sunday, October 26, 2014

Making CRM stick by using Dr. John Kotter 8 Step method - part 1 - Justification

During the CRM UG Summit I held a presentation on the subject of how to use the method described by Harvard professor John P. Kotter called the 8 Steps of Change to aid in the implementation of CRM in an organization. This is the first blog entry in a series which will discuss this subject. This first post will be on the question of if using this method is even justified?

Many companies do acknowledge that major change in the organization, like a fusion, changing from line to matrix organization, and so on, however, there are many companies that do not acknowledge that the implementation of a new CRM system is a change of such a substantial degree that it does require it to be handled as a change management Project.

If you are not already aware of the failure rates of CRM Projects, do have a look at the following links:

The numbers vary, if 70% failure or 30%, but the fact is that a substantial amount of Projects do fail and it is important to be humble to this in order to attempt to mitigate the possible risks of derailing the CRM investment.

Forrester researched 150 companies to find out which problems they were facing in their CRM initiatives as described here:

In short the problems can be divided into the following areas:
  • Creating a CRM strategy – 18% strategy,
    • inadequate deployment methodologies (40%)
    • poorly defined business requirements (25%)
    • lack of alignment on objectives (18%)
  • Re-architecting customer-facing processes – 27%
    • including technical/integration difficulties in supporting company processes (48%)
    • poor business process design (31%)
  • Selecting technology – 33%
    • perceived shortcomings in vendor solutions (30%)
    • a lack of skills needed to implement the solution (23%)
    • system performance shortfalls (19%)
  • Implementing customer-centric behaviors – 22%
    • slow user adoption (49%)
    • poor change management and training (36%)
    • difficulties aligning culture with new ways of working (15%) 

Several books could be probably be written based on this. From an implementation perspective, we can note that about 25% the companies, seem to be having no issues major problems with getting their CRM Strategy correct, they have managed to re-architect their processes and the have overcome all Technical issues, but still their issues lie with the implementation of CRM within the organization. If this is not justification enough that CRM is and requires dedicated and very deliberate change management within the organization.

As I Work as a Consultant, often contracted to implement CRM for a Customer, I would also like to note that Managing change within the organization is not something a temporary external party can do, why it is important to assign internal Resources at the implementing organization to drive the change management Project.

A final note, these numbers might be demoralizing if you are looking at starting you CRM Project or have started it, but I would suggest you look at it in another light. By seeing the problems and errors that others have faced and being open and transparent about your own issues you have a better chance of avoiding these pitfalls. I talked to one of the project leaders for one of the biggest infrastructure Projects in Stockholm which will be completed Before time and within budget. I asked her if she could give me one or two reasons why they were doing so well and she answered:
  • We have very senior and technically experienced people in the Project leadership committee
  • We have been very risk aware from the start, and have had weekly risk meetings

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB

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