Why CRM Systems Fail?

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1 Why CRM Systems Fail? Crimson Consultants May 2013 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Background There are 2 problems with CRM. The first is that, despite all the great functionality provided, it is difficult for management and staff to see how the product can help them straight out-of-the-box. The second is that to configure the out-of-the-box functionality to the point where it is useful and relevant takes an awful lot of internal resource, and this is already committed to more mission-critical systems, or requires external consultancy which can be prohibitively expensive. Director of Management Information, Large North of England FE College Over recent years many colleges have invested in a CRM system for the first time in their history. Most colleges purchased the system in response to encouragement from the LSC to pursue commercial training business under the heading of Employer Engagement and specifically Train to Gain. Subsequently TQS accreditation was a driver for many colleges to seek a more systematic way of managing their business with the local employer community. In almost all cases colleges have been disappointed that CRM has been unable to deliver the advantages they identified as desirable and possible when investigating potential system functionality. This paper provides an analysis of why many have failed to-date and what options are available to achieve future success from CRM in the college environment. The track record of CRM systems within the education sector and in FE specifically is not good. Most colleges have bought and tried to use a CRM system, but have failed to realise the promised benefits and they have fallen largely into disuse. And yet college leaders know that they need to be more customer-centric and treat students and potential students as customers who are looking for and expecting an increasing level of customer service. The successful use of a CRM system is a surefire way of achieving this goal at minimal overall cost. This paper examines the nature of a CRM system and why they have failed to-date. Using this analysis it suggests an approach and implementation methodology which will deliver success.

2 CRM is different This may sound obvious, but CRM is different from other management information systems such as finance, payroll and student management in a number of significant ways:- CRM is relatively new to the sector in comparison to these other systems and for most colleges their CRM implementation was their first one. As a result few staff really understood what the system could achieve, particularly when it did not appear to support any of their regular work tasks. These other systems have an obvious start and end point and transform basic data into some form of meaningful information or support an established process. Very crudely, a Student system starts with curriculum definition and ends with successful funding returns. In between student admissions, attendance and achievement tracking is performed. For Finance, the system starts with the chart of accounts and ends with the production of management accounts. In between, purchasing, invoicing and payment processing are achieved. In contrast, CRM doesn t have an obvious start point or end result. Neither does it process data in quite the same way as these other systems do. Out-of-the-box, CRM is essentially a database supplemented with a set of functional tools. The data it holds is only of use if it is current and can be turned into information that someone needs. The functional tools are not organised into any pre-defined structure or flow and are only of merit if they are configured and used in such a way that they support a process in a more automated and efficient way than it is currently being performed. These first 3 points have a serious knock-on effect on the way a CRM system needs to be implemented. Because management and staff know what a student or finance system is designed to do and have done it before, the implementation of a replacement system would largely replicate the existing processes with some possible functional improvements and process amendments. Colleges have not been used to approaching a system implementation by spending time on the analysis of requirements and design of the new system because these things were already essentially in place from using the previous system. An implementation of a new finance system would simply take the form of system deployment, staff training in the new functionality and then getting on with the operation based on established processes. This approach did not work with CRM because although there were established processes for the CRM system to replicate, they were not being conducted in a CRM system because one did not exist. They were being done using a plethora of separate methods, e.g. spreadsheets, , separate databases, etc. What was required was an analysis of what processes these various methodologies supported and how these could be amalgamated into a single CRM system, but this rarely occurred, because this implementation approach was not the norm within colleges. Neither was this appreciated by most software companies who were also supplying CRM systems to their customers for the first time. See Implementation Approach The importance of staff roles and processes To fully understand the last point opposite it is necessary to appreciate the different levels of staff involvement in effective system implementation and use. With a student system for example, there is often a senior member of staff who is responsible for data and funding and oversees the whole system. There will be an MIS Manager and staff who deal with system maintenance and back office operation plus a whole team of front office staff who mainly deal with student admissions. More recently many other staff throughout a college access parts of the system to record student attendance or achievement. There are 2 points here. The first is that there are many staff and roles involved in using any system and for a system as a whole to work effectively, each one has to use it appropriately. Each person has to understand the detailed tasks and processes they need to undertake and perform them. The second point is that to achieve this requires somebody or bodies within the college to understand these processes and the capabilities of the system to support these processes. Without this, a system can never be implemented successfully in the first place or kept in line with procedural changes. To adequately deploy a CRM system requires a similar multi-level approach and all too often CRM systems have been left to a single department to purchase and implement and there has been inadequate support and buy-in from across the College. At senior level there needs to be the system sponsor who sets the high level objectives support business engagement; manage student enquiries; coordinate marketing activities; track service queries, etc. Below this there is a need for process owners staff who are responsible for specific areas of the college that use the CRM system who must ensure the system supports their key processes and provides management information, e.g. Business Development Manager, Head of Student Services, Marketing Manager, IT Support Manager, etc. Below this again are the operational staff who are hands-on with the system. For these staff the system must be relevant, easy to use, accessible and, most importantly, support what they do, ideally saving time and making their job easier and more productive. It must not be perceived as something extra they have to do, but must become an integral and contributory part of their job.

3 BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXAMPLE: The way Business Development is organised within a college is typically via one of two models. The first creates Business Development as a totally separate department from existing Curriculum teams and only involves staff from these teams for specialist input on course availability and training delivery. All the sales aspects of the commercial engagement are handled by Business Development staff. The second model still has a specialist Business Development team, but also uses staff within Curriculum teams to promote commercial training and do much of the initial advice and guidance to employers. There are pros and cons with both approaches, but whichever is adopted there are some clearly defined roles as far as business process and the CRM system is concerned. In both cases there is usually a Business Development Manager (BDM) who is responsible for business targets and who will report back to the SMT. It is this person who needs to define two fundamental things. The first is how Business Development as a whole will function given the particular operating model selected and the staff available. The second is what he/she wants out of the CRM system because this will define what data needs to be captured and this in turn will determine how CRM fits into the business processes of the staff involved. Below this person there are a range of users. There is likely to be an office-based administrator(s) and a number of field-based advisors. Depending on the model, these advisors may work for the BDU or Curriculum teams and in some cases an administrator role may exist in these teams also. Almost regardless of the business development model ultimately one of the objectives and advantages of a successful CRM system implementation is that it connects previously disconnected areas of the college where they are interested in a common purpose. Sticking with the business development example, this can never be successfully accomplished by the Business Development department alone, because Curriculum teams will always provide the delivery of courses sold. Clearly it is massively advantageous if these parts of the college have access to the employer record defined within the CRM system so that the college can adopt a uniform and joined -up approach to the customer. Ultimately, therefore, many staff will require access to relevant parts of the CRM system both to view information and possibly update the data. However, before this level of deployment can be effective, the system needs to underpin the business processes involved, produce the outputs required and collect the necessary data to inform these outputs. So we return to the Business Development Manager role. This really is the critical bit of the CRM system implementation because without this there is no framework or outcomes against which the usage of the system can be measured. Sadly this is usually missing at most colleges for a number of reasons:- The CRM system is not perceived as mission critical in the same way that student and finance systems are; Nobody has thought deeply enough about the approach required to achieve a successful implementation this includes the CRM system supplier; There is no one person who has both the commercial business development skills and CRM system experience to take a lead; The system is left to the desires of the department or functional area of the college for which it was primarily purchased and can quickly become another silo of disconnected and incomplete data. Implementation Approach The example of the Business Development requirement opposite highlights the need for a college to fully understand what processes the CRM system is being purchased to support, which staff are involved and what essential outcomes are required. Because there is no established model for the operation of a CRM system in most instances, this has to be developed as part of the system implementation. The implementation cannot just consist of the software being installed and staff being shown how it works. There are at least 3 stages before this can be achieved:- Business Analysis it is imperative that the college knows exactly what the CRM system is being bought to achieve. This should involve some high level business benefits, some functional area benefits typically around better management information and data analyses and some end-user benefits around ease of use and efficiency. To achieve this, the overall system sponsor, the functional area leader and the operational staff involved should all have an input. System Design the design phase is where the system requirements as defined in Business Analysis are mapped onto what the CRM system can provide in terms of functionality. To achieve the best functional fit and optimum user adoption the system should map to the requirement and not the other way around. To achieve this may require configuration changes to how the system comes out-ofthe-box and even some specific customisations and extensions to standard functionality. Most CRM systems are capable of delivering this as they are designed to be configured to match the way a particular organisation works. However, this phase not only needs to reflect the business requirement, but requires a detailed knowledge of what functional options are available within the standard system to match the requirement and what customisation possibilities there are to extend the out-of-the-box offering. System Build the Build phase involves making those changes to the standard system as defined in the System Design to create a working (test) system which reflects the business requirement. It is to this actual system that any valid data is uploaded and on which acceptance testing is performed and from which user operational guides are produced. Only when these 3 key phases have been accomplished is it sensible to move onto the more familiar implementation phases of user training, final data migration and live deployment. CRM implementations which do not include business analysis, system design and system build invariably fail because users are trained on a system that does not reflect what they do or want and it fails to deliver benefits to any of the stakeholders involved.

4 CRM is a cross-college system Implementation Approach contd We thus end up with the first problem as identified at the start of this paper:- The first problem with CRM is that, despite all the great functionality provided, it is difficult for management and staff to see how the product can help them straight outof-the-box. Of course this more detailed implementation approach takes time and resource and we quickly encounter the second problem identified:- The second is that to configure the out-of-the-box functionality to the point where it is useful and relevant takes an awful lot of internal resource, and this is already committed to more mission-critical systems, or requires external consultancy which can be prohibitively expensive. This is a serious dilemma for colleges as the problem is a real one. However, if there was ever an organisation that could benefit from the many uses a CRM system can deliver and which needs to be more customer-centric, it is a college. Most colleges realise that they need to embrace CRM as a methodology if they are to continue to attract learners as they leave secondary education and from the workplace. There are two possible solutions to this situation. The first solution involves the college seconding its own resources to the CRM implementation. This has proved problematic because the skills required for a successful implementation include an appreciation of the capability of CRM within a college environment, specific CRM system knowledge and a systematic approach to software implementation. This is a demanding list of skills and even where they exist within a college, staff have heavy existing workloads and can rarely devote sufficient time to focus on such a project. The alternative involves engaging an outside resource which possesses all these skills plus has experience of doing this before at similar projects. Such a resource would provide the all-important mapping of staff processes to CRM system usage and, based on the information outputs required, help to configure both the system set up and data capture requirements to ensure the system achieves the desired outcomes. At the same time this approach would best maintain a perspective on the crosscollege use of CRM the ultimate goal so that previously non-connected areas have access to the parts of the system they need and so that the CRM system can ultimately be deployed for all customer-related processes, e.g. business engagement, student recruitment, marketing and service provision. The two big objections to employing an outside resource in this way are cost and loss of capability when the resource is ultimately lost. Taking the cost objection first, what is more costly, purchasing a system which isn t implemented properly and doesn t deliver the expected benefits or paying a little more to achieve the desired result? With the right resource providing this role, this is likely to be a fraction of the overall system cost and significant progress will be achieved. Naturally as an outside resource is employed on a contractual basis it will not be a permanent fixture and will eventually disappear, taking some inherent knowledge with it. However, to address this concern it is important to consider what this resource is engaged to achieve and what happens after it departs. The paramount issue with CRM systems is they are not delivering their promised benefits because of a poor implementation experience. The immediate challenge therefore is to implement or re-implement a system in a way that ensures it is mapped to business objectives and processes and that all staff know what their role within the system is including what inputs they are responsible for and what outputs they can expect. One final point on the nature of a CRM system compared to a student or finance system. These latter systems are single dimensional in that they are designed to address one functional area of the college. These functional areas are large and diverse and there are separate individuals or teams involved in specific specialist areas (e.g. exams, admissions, cashier s office, etc), but the finance system deals with all college finance matters and likewise with the student system. The different staff involved may have specialist roles, but nevertheless consider themselves part of the finance or student teams. Similarly, there is a notional head or lead member of staff for both finance and student management in order to set the high level objectives and ensure all sub-teams and staff are on the same page. CRM is different in that the way it is used depends on the specific area of the college in which it is deployed. Much of this document has referred to CRM in its support of commercial business development. However, CRM systems can also be used to provide benefits in student enquiry processing, general marketing campaigns and event management and internal service delivery, both to staff and students. These are very different application areas and the staff involved will be part of separate existing teams. Also, slightly different CRM functionality is available to suit these different staff roles and processes. As a result you cannot implement a CRM system in one go, across-college, the task is too big and diverse. It can only be deployed as necessary to suit the requirements and business imperatives of each functional area in which it is used. For such a cross-college and crossteam deployment to be successful it will almost certainly be necessary for the college to have a member of staff who leads and takes responsibility for CRM matters on this larger scale. This is necessary because although CRM will be used differently in different areas, it is a single system and its configuration must suit all participants otherwise it will ultimately fail. This needs to be coordinated by somebody throughout the whole implementation process. Realistically therefore there is not one CRM implementation, but a series of mini ones and it would make sense from a continuity point of view to have the same outside resource involved with all of these. In this way that resource is likely to be available slightly longer than originally anticipated and eventually college staff themselves are likely to develop significant experience and confidence to manage the system on an on-going basis. In this respect engaging an outside resource to take on this role is an attractive option as continuity should be easier to maintain over the full implementation period.

5 A successful implementation experience This will achieve two things. Firstly it will deliver true system outcomes and create an environment in which the CRM system has perceived value. Secondly, it will also create a working framework and culture that will very quickly become the norm, much as the student or finance system processes are. With this established it is much easier in the future for existing staff to make necessary modifications to this to reflect organisational changes. This latter point is picked up opposite in relation to the role of the college systems owner and IT department during and after the reimplementation. Fast-track to success So what is being purchased with the services of an outside implementation resource is a fast-track to get the CRM system to a similar position as other established college systems. Once this is achieved, any slight procedural amendments should be able to be managed internally as long as the CRM system is viewed and resourced in the same way as the other college mission critical systems. What this means in practice is that the system is owned at system level by the person who is ultimately responsible for other MI systems at the college and is supported fully by the IT department. Throughout any implementation or reimplementation process it is essential that the overall college system owner and IT department provide both the necessary support to the outside resource and are close enough to the work being performed to be able to understand and support the system on an on-going basis. Crimson Consultants Crimson is a consultancy and development company which specialises in the implementation of software which requires some out-of-the-box configuration before it can support specific business processes and deliver organisational benefits. Crimson is a Microsoft Gold Partner and implements Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics GP into small, medium and large sized organisations worldwide. High on the list of systems in which it specialises is Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This is a world leading, highly functional and cost-efficient CRM system which integrates with the full portfolio of Microsoft software products used extensively within the business community. These include infrastructure products such as Windows operating systems and SQL Server database, organisational-wide productivity tools such as Sharepoint and SQL Reporting Services as well as established office automation products such as Outlook, Word and Excel. However, each customer is different and whilst the core CRM solution comes out of the box with a tremendous range of relevant functionality it nevertheless requires additional configuration and possibly customisation to truly fit each customer s specific business processes. Without this close fit, user adoption is poor and the system will fail to deliver the potential business benefits available. Crimson s owners have almost 60 years collective experience in the education sector in various aspects of software development, implementation and support. The highly specialist staff are experts in the key deliverables of system design and configuration which is so fundamental to the achievement of business benefits. Crimson has already achieved a number of successful CRM implementation within the FE and HE sectors and all its customers are happy to provide references. If you would like Crimson to contact you for a no-obligation discussion of your requirements please use any of the contact methods opposite referencing this White Paper: 6 Prospect Place The Maritime Quarter Swansea SA1 1QP

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