Here are some key principles for building a CRM Business Case. I’ve listed them as my CRM Business case top 5 tips:
1. Problem statement definition – the strong need to understand ‘Why?’
The BIG question for the CRM business case is ‘Why?’ Why do you need a CRM system or solution. The answer to this has to be based on business need and strongly connect with your business strategy. It can’t be about the ‘system’ itself. You must consider what your true problem statement is and be very clear around your need. You must also be very clear about the real benefits that you are going to obtain from implementing a CRM system.
In defining your problem statement I would suggest that you strongly consider the need for business requirements, as this will allow you to determine which of your business processes you are replacing, which of your people processes your are impacting. This in turn may help with this problem statement definition.
2. Business Requirements that align with the business case are a must
There is a strong case for the need for business requirements that align with the Business Case. One of the reasons strongly cited for failure of CRM projects is a lack of business requirements that clearly show understanding of the current business practices and how these practices are going to change with the system implementation. The requirements need to drop out of the strong understanding of the current business processes. Another key facet of developing the business case.
It is important that all stakeholders needs are taken into account with development of the business requirements.
The Sales team – understand how their daily practices will be changed or impacted
The IT team – understand what support will look like, and what current systems are in use, what does the data currently captured look like, what will be used and not used moving forward
The Data Analytics team – What reports are currently available, and how would these change with the system implementation, what new reports might be required also.
3. Benefits and Risks
Firstly be sure to consider the risk of not looking holistically at CRM implementation. As Peter Flory explains, “too many people only consider its effect on their own little part of the organisation and do not see the ‘Big Picture'”.
The benefits of implementing CRM are there, and need to be carefully teased out and considered in ways that make them as tangible as possible.
You need to consider who the main beneficiaries of the system implementation will be.
You also need to consider the value of each customer relationship and how implementing a system might allow for prioritisation or re-prioritisation of resources.
4. Understand the issues you might have with calculating ROI
There is a great discussion on how to go about determining your ROI model and the strong need for it to align with the understanding of the difference between your current and future process model, in this paper ‘Building a CRM Business Case‘.
Hewson Consulting Group state that “Calculations of CRM systems ROI are particularly difficult for three reasons:
- there is no baseline data prior to the use of the system, making before and after comparisons impossible
- there are too many other independent variables
- many benefits are soft or intangible and hard to quantify.
Consider these when attempting to calculate your ROI.
5. Consider the need to deliver a CRM in smaller attainable chunks
This is not necessarily going to be something that is easy to consider or work up in relation to putting together a business case. Please pay attention to the discussion points regarding understanding your ‘Why’ and also the need for business requirements as this might determine if there is a way to easily implement the system in phases that are going to work from the business’ perspective.
The whole thing to keep in mind when considering phased implementation is “Are you able to implement the system in phases and still deliver a worthwhile Return on Investment?”
The latest in our series of podcasts on building business cases provides further insights that you might find valuable.
Written by Karen Munro