Customer Centricity
Astute Planning. Flawless Execution.
Delighted Customers.

Issue #177

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Tale of Two CRMs - The People Factor Part 2

This newsletter series covers approaches we’ve leveraged to ensure the success of numerous Customer Relationship Management (CRM) initiatives, including a global deployment presently in process. In the prior article, we began discussing the People-Factor, which should be considered THE most important aspect of your CRM program. In that article we outlined the recommended teams:


·         Steering Committee

·         Core Team

·         Extended Team


Note that the individuals comprising the above teams are from “within” the business. This includes senior management, line management and key subject experts from each business area that is a stakeholder to the initiative.


In this article, we will cover a few other People-Factors that are important to consider, including:


·         Implementation Partner

·         Project Manager

·         Ensuring users clearly see value


Implementation Partner


When embarking on an initiative to implement a commercially available solution (CRM or otherwise), it is extremely important to engage the right implementation partner.  The implementation partner provides a team of people with extensive expertise in both of the following areas:


  • CRM-related business practices (Sales, Marketing, Service and Finance)
  • Technical experience implementing the specific CRM solution


In the first article in this series, we referenced the fact that this particular client had previously performed a CRM implementation within one of its business units (business unit A), which was addressed primarily from a technical perspective (minimal to no process design resulting in a lack of wholesale adoption).


As this 2nd CRM initiative was being spun-up (for business unit B), under our leadership, the first decision was to disengage the implementation partner involved in business unit A’s initiative.


Fortunately, we had been working with a rock-solid implementation partner on other initiatives at this client that happened to have a CRM practice. Based on our excellent experience working with this particular firm and the outcome of our process to interview team-members and perform reference checks, it was an easy decision: Edgewater Technology. They provided the perfect balance of resources including a:


  • Business Analyst who mapped business process / requirements into the CRM solution
  • Technical Architect who ensured the solution was effectively integrated into the client’s environment to meet performance, security and maintenance requirements
  • Solid bench of resources back at the “home office” to grind out project-related deliverables and provide guidance on how other clients addressed similar (complex) business requirements


In addition, they remained flexible (without change ordering us to death) as the business environment and planning parameters changed. In fact, the only change orders that became necessary resulted from a couple of “big” things driven by the client for which it was reasonable to expect a change order to result. The littler things were simply handled in stride.


In summary, if it isn’t obvious, Edgewater Technology will be the first company we call to implement the next MS Dynamics CRM solution we’re involved in.


Project Management


A key to success of any medium to large-scale project is to engage an absolutely tenacious project manager. In this case, it was yours truly. 


In summary, the project manager must ensure all teams and members are on the same page with regards to:


  • Scope and objectives (what are we doing, why and what are we specifically NOT doing)
  • Timeline (what is happening when, including key interdependencies)
  • Progress and status (where are we on track and/or falling behind)
  • Bottom-line: Ensure follow-through by ALL team members on miscellaneous tasks, issues and actions items

A key objective is to strike the right balance regarding the frequency of getting the core team together for status checkpoints and/or working sessions. This fluctuated on a week-to-week basis, depending on the nature of project-related activities and proximity to go-live of any particular project phase.


By consistently scheduling and effectively facilitating the status checkpoints (zero fluff allowed), these meetings were very quick, unless of course there was a critical issue / discussion topic that needed to be immediately addressed. In that case, the team was together and the matter was handled promptly, ensuring the project remained on track.


In addition, the approach of over-communication (via meetings, as mentioned above, as well as constant email communications) proved to be highly effective to ensure that everyone remained on the same page and there were no surprises.


Feedback from team-members include comments such as:


  • “While we may have thought all the meetings were a pain, we could not have accomplished what we did any other way.”
  • “My email traffic has dropped SIGNIFICANTLY since go-live which goes to show how much you kept everyone up-to-date. No one could say they were out of the loop.”

Ensuring Users Clearly See Value


Finally, if you do everything else that has been, and will be, covered in this series, and don’t do this one thing – your CRM initiative will surely tank.


The user community must receive MUCH more value from the solution than the efforts they put in to use it. For this particular client (business unit B), the user community was experiencing significant pain for lack of key CRM-related capabilities. At a high level, this included the fact that they had been using a seriously antiquated solution (based upon a home-grown Lotus Notes application), which had been decoupled from the email system (once the corporation decided to standardize on MS Outlook). And, there was NO ability to generate validated product quotes on a 24x7 basis, which served to slow down transactions as reps in the field had to wait for “the home office” to prepare and/or validate product quotes prior to presenting them to the customer.


In summary, the solution delivered to the user community proved extremely valuable, resulting in wholesale adoption.  We’ll cover more on the solution (process and technology) and lessons learned in subsequent editions.


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. An example of a resource currently available is:

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.

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
+ A Tale of Two CRMs:
   The People Factor (Part 2)
+ Available Talent

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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
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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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