Customer Centricity
Astute Planning. Flawless Execution.
Delighted Customers.

Issue #176

Wednesday, December 19, 2012



As mentioned in the prior edition of our newsletter, 2012 has been an amazing year for Customer Centricity! This includes the successful completion of numerous client projects as well as engaging new / additional talent on our team. Accordingly, we thought it would be useful for you to be aware of some of the talent available to assist you in achieving your most pressing business objectives, such as:

  • Increasing revenue, reducing operational costs while improving the customer experience
  • Delivering that key IT project (whether it be a global business application or infrastructure-related)
  • Fully integrating an acquired business unit (inclusive of people, process, facilities, technology, etc.)
  • Turning around underperforming vendors key to your company’s success

As those of you who have worked with Customer Centricity know, by engaging our talent you can expect absolutely no-nonsense, tenacious execution resulting in the best possible use of your investment. Additional details on our available talent (ready for immediate engagement) are provided at the end of this newsletter.

A Tale of Two CRMs - The People-Factor (Part 1)

In our last newsletter article, we kicked off our latest series entitled “A Tale of 2 CRMs.” In that article, we contrasted two CRM implementations, setting the stage for this and future articles outlining effective approaches and lessons learned to help you improve your odds for a successful CRM initiative.

In this edition, we cover our approach to the “people-factor,” a method which is being applied in our most recent CRM engagement. It should be noted that what is shared here can also apply to most continuous improvement / business optimization efforts.

Someone once said, “If it weren’t for the damn people, these projects would be easy.” This is especially true if you don’t effectively handle the people-factor up front. That is, you can build what may seem to be the best solution on the planet, but if you don’t have representation from ALL affected areas, bought-in from the beginning and fully engaged throughout, your project will tank.

Here is how it was done right, from the beginning.

The first step was assembling the team, which included the following:

  • Steering Committee
  • Core Team
  • Extended Team
  • Implementation Partner
  • Project Manager

The Steering Committee

Also known as the Executive Stakeholders, this is the group of senior managers with a vested interest in the success of the project. For this particular client, the Steering Committee included the:

  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Senior VP and General Manager of the business unit
  • VP of North America Sales
  • VP of Rest of World Sales
  • VP of Financial Planning and Analysis
  • Chief Information Officer

This group provided the overall business guidance and “air support” for the project, as well as the allocation of resources (in the form of funding and assignment of people).

A key advantage with this particular client is that the above individuals had previous CRM-related experience, so an executive level CRM primer exercise (to provide an extensive overview of benefits, pitfalls, best practices, etc. related to CRM implementations) was not required. This, coupled with a solid team (outlined below), made for a highly successful outcome!

The Core Team

With a global CRM initiative, we needed to define a cross-functional team of resources covering Marketing, Sales, Service, Finance and IT. The core team was the “short list” of people spanning all of the above areas – globally. These individuals were absolutely required to attend ALL project-related meetings. Though there was fluctuation week-to-week, the core team was required to allocate approximately 80% of their time to the project.

Due to the inter-related complexities of a comprehensive CRM solution, virtually no significant decisions could be made without the core team’s input and buy-in. When the core team didn’t have all the information necessary to reach a decision, we would then reach out to the Extended Team.

The Extended Team

The Extended Team was less formally defined and engaged only on an “as needed” basis. This team included a specific set of subject matter experts in key areas of the business, who were either not available or not necessary to be involved in every project-related discussion. The Extended Team quite literally could involve anyone in the company having a direct or indirect relationship to the project.

This team was engaged to answer specific questions and provide input on requirements when the core team didn’t have all the information or experience. In addition, they participated in demos and testing, serving as a great “second set of eyes” to review approaches and options to meeting requirements.

By not being as close to the project as the Core Team, the Extended Team helped to minimize the core team’s “blind spots.”

In the next and subsequent articles in this series, we will cover:

  • The People Factor (Part 2)
  • The process
  • The technology
  • Lessons learned

In closing, if you are embarking on a CRM initiative, are in the throes of one that isn’t on track to deliver the results you expected, or would like to discuss additional details related to the approaches and techniques being covered, contact us. We’d be happy to provide a sounding board and determine if there is an opportunity to assist you in getting the MOST out of your investment in CRM.

Available Talent

As our clients can attest, Customer Centricity talent is comprised of seasoned resources with “scars of experience” who bring incredible focus to drive key business initiatives to successful conclusion.

Some of the talent presently available (after recently completing client engagements) includes:

Project Manager with extensive experience managing all facets of IT teams and projects. Highlights of experience and outcomes include:

  • Development and implementation of cloud strategy to eliminate $1.5M of operating cost
  • Lead IT teams to successfully acquire and integrate corporate acquisitions
  • SAP ERP implementation in Europe and Asia
  • Architected and drove technical team to virtualize 90% of all servers resulting in $2M annual savings
  • Implemented internet facing, fault tolerant systems to provide 100% uptime for SaaS clients
  • Drove initiative to migrate data center to fault tolerant facility, enabling a lights out environment
  • Negotiated contracts and implemented global WAN supporting 250+ locations
  • Worked closely with vendors to develop products enabling customers to move commodity-based processes to vendors
  • Has lead small (5 people) to large (400+ people) IT organizations in all aspects of IT applications and operations.

Project Manager with significant experience driving local and global business-critical initiatives including:

  • IT/Business Applications
    • Commissions Management
    • CRM
    • E-Commerce
    • Financial Planning & Analysis
    • Human Resource Solutions
    • Professional Services Automation
    • Manufacturing Execution System
  • Product development, prototyping, testing, and launch of a new dental implant and prosthetic product line
  • Facilities renovations
  • Pragmatically applying PMI practices and metrics into all projects

Project Manager focused on the Customer Experience and Vendor Management including:

  • Extensive experience working with both retail and traditional IT organizations to significantly improve operational efficiencies and increase customer satisfaction through assessment, collaboration and detailed execution of improvement initiatives.
  • Defining business requirements and leading the RFP process for the selection, contract negotiation, implementation, support and performance monitoring for POS systems, CRM technologies and outsourced vendor partners.
  • Collaborating with internal and external senior-level executives to expedite the permanent resolution of cross-functional people, process, communication and technology issues.

In summary, our primary objective is to make you look good through the successful completion of your business-critical initiatives. In addition, we seek to serve as a mentor to effectively transition and/or develop key skills in your organization so that you are not dependent on external resources for the long-term.

If you’d like to learn more about how Customer Centricity can help you please contact us. We’re happy to serve as a sounding board and determine if there is real potential to assist you.

In This Edition
+ Available Talent
+ The Tale of Two CRMs:
   The People Factor (Part 1)

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Recommended Reading



For a comprehensive guide to Customer Relationship Management, you are encouraged to read CRM In Real Time: Empowering Customer Relationships by Barton Goldenberg.

As described on

This comprehensive guide to CustomerRelationship Management (CRM) draws on Barton Goldenberg's 20+ years of experience guiding firms to a successful implementation of CRM solutions and techniques. Goldenberg demonstrates how the right mix of people, process, and technology can help firms achieve a superior level of customer satisfaction, loyalty, and new business. Beginning with a primer for executives who need to get quickly up-to-speed on CRM, the book covers a full range of critical issues including integration challenges and security concerns, and illuminates CRM's key role in the 24/7/365 real-time business revolution. CRM in Real Time is an essential guide for any organization seeking to maximize customer relationships, coordinate customer-facing functions, and leverage the power of the Internet as business goes real time.


About Customer Centricity
We strengthen overall company performance through better service delivery and management.

We boost efficiencies in front-line customer service and technical support teams, order processing, fulfillment, field service, logistics and other key operations functions.

In short, we align the resources of your organization to exceed your customers' expectations in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

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