15 Practical Challenges in CRM Implementation
Challenges in CRM Implementation can be broadly categorized into:
- People Challenges
- Technology Challenges
- Business Process Challenges
- Other Challenges
People Related Challenges in CRM Implementation
#1 Lack of senior management sponsorship
- CRM initiative solely driven by IT team without management buy-in.
- Business users unclear or unconvinced on benefits of CRM.
- Management not willing to commit to enforce CRM adoption.
- Underestimating Change Management demanded by CRM.
Mitigation – Having an internal CRM champion from executive management.
#2 Expecting too much, too soon – Boiling the Ocean
- Trying to accomplish all CRM objectives in the initial launch.
- Adopting a ‘Water-Fall’ methodology instead of ‘Agile’ methodology for CRM project implementation.
- Under estimating end-user transition by giving them full-featured, complex CRM system from get-go.
Mitigation – Adopting “Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast” strategy for CRM.
#3 Lack of scope clarity & budget overruns
- Not committing adequate time & budget to requirement discovery.
- Underestimating integration effort.
- Not anticipating quantity & quality of data to be migrated to the new CRM.
- Underestimating end-user resistance and training costs.
- Underestimating infrastructure costs.Underestimating customization & implementation costs
Mitigation – Detailed requirement discovery workshops & adopting Agile project methodology that allows early identification of these issues.
#4 Underestimating Change Management
- Active resistance due to perceived threat from CRM.
- Passive resistance to adoption due to inertia of changing old habits.
- CRM interface slow or un-intuitive, making it cumbersome to use.
- CRM viewed as ‘something that benefits management only’
Mitigation – Making end-users aware of what benefits they get out of CRM. Incentivizing (both positive & negative) to use CRM system. Ensuring an intuitive, easy to use, fast CRM system. Planning adequate training exercises.
#5 Changes in Key Stakeholders in Middle of Project
- Internal CRM champion(s) leaving the organization or having change of role or department.
- Arrival of new IT Head or Business Head, who has a different vision for CRM.
- Changes in key personnel from CRM vendor’s side that roll-back the progress made on vendor’s understanding of organizational objectives
Mitigation – Adequate documentation of CRM project objectives and intermediate progress sign-offs. Enlisting more than one internal CRM champion for redundancy.
#6 Lack of Expertise of the CRM vendor
- Vendor does not have enough experience with the CRM product being implemented.
- Vendor does not have technology or process maturity of delivering CRM projects of similar scale.
- Vendor not fully aware of the challenges in CRM implementation and is ill-prepared to anticipate and deal with them adequately.
Mitigation – Adequate due diligence at vendor selection stage to assess vendor maturity and expertise.
Technology Related Challenges in CRM Implementation
#7 Lack of CRM Product Fit
- Product cannot support multiple deployment options, namely – On Cloud, On-Premise, Private Cloud, etc.
- Product not flexible enough to allow for deeper customizations to enable fit with organization’s growing and changing needs.
- Product not keeping pace with current CRM trends, such as – Global, Social, Mobile, etc.
- Product not intuitive or user-friendly, thereby hindering user adoption.
Mitigation – Adequate due diligence at product selection stage to ensure fit not only for current business needs, but also for organization’s growing and changing needs.
#8 Integration Related Issues
- Existing legacy systems don’t support modern, web-services based integration that is required with CRM.
- Lack of adequate support from other vendors of existing systems that need to be integrated with CRM.
- Data integrity issues and uncertainty over ‘single source of truth’.
Mitigation – Adequate due diligence at requirements discovery stage, identify what data needs to be pulled from where and involve existing systems’ vendors in discussions early on. Develop prototype where needed.
#9 Infrastructure Related Issues
- Inadequately sized hardware leading to poor CRM performance for end users.
- Underestimating the budget for setting up a true High-Availability, secure CRM setup, leading to cost overruns.
- Underestimating cost of scaling up on cloud.
- Lack of complete control over your own data and accessibility at all times.
- Compliance/Regulatory Issues.
Mitigation – Plan carefully upfront. Best, choose a CRM that supports both models.
Process Related Challenges in CRM Implementation
#10 Data Migration Gotcha!
- Data fragmented and silo-ed in various existing applications and difficult to integrate and consolidate in the CRM.
- Data integrity issues in the migrated data.
- Incorrect assumptions about the quality of the data to be migrated. Adequate time and budget not planned for the inevitable data cleaning/scrubbing exercise.
Mitigation – Know you Data! Having clarity about your data in terms of how much, how good and where is mandatory.
#11 Impact on Existing Business Processes
- Considering CRM as just a technology, instead of business transformation tool.
- Inflexibility to change existing way of doing things, giving up entrenched (bad) business practices and adopting best practices that CRM enables.
- Implementation that is overly disruptive of existing business practices.
- Complexities in re-architecting customer facing processes through CRM.
Mitigation – Recognize the transformative power of CRM, be flexible to adopt best practices. Enlist a sponsor from executive management early on.
Other Challenges Unique to Large Organizations
#13 Artificial time pressures created due to end-of-contract situations with existing vendors. The urgency and impossible timelines can derail the change management efforts required for implementation & adoption of new CRM.
#14 Change in business priorities mid way through CRM implementation, e.g. reallocation of CRM budget, shifted focus on mergers & acquisitions, changes in regulatory environment, etc.
#15 Complexities in information security due to differing encryption standards, Govt access & control over data, industrial espionage in certain regions etc.
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