Companies that learn to recognize and avoid them can realize the long-promised benefits of increased productivity, greater customer satisfaction, and better employee satisfaction.
It’s 1999–CRM is the must-have business application, because untapped customer relationships will open the floodgates to new revenues. You plan how you’ll spend the bonus you know is coming your way.
Thousands or millions of dollars later, perhaps things didn’t turn out quite as hoped. What went wrong?
First-generation CRM software was anchored in vendors’ expertise in a particular customer touch point, often the call center or sales force. Companies purchased extra functionality for any given touch point. Meanwhile, failed deployments made national headlines.
Today’s new products might give hope to companies that waited to adopt CRM technology or replace systems.
The pitfalls of deployment
Are companies in for the same problems that plagued first-generation deployments? The pitfalls do remain: AMR Research estimated in 2004 that 28 percent of CRM implementations failed to go live, and 33 percent had significant user adoption problems. Therefore, it is critical to consider the risks and take steps to avoid them.
Poor user adoption
First-generation CRM technology often required companies to redesign business processes to accommodate software function, and customer-facing personnel had to learn entirely new applications and processes. In some cases, neither vendors nor enterprises gave enough consideration to whether products would ensure user adoption.
Product scope instead of strategy
Immature technology led IT staff to focus on product scope, instead of capabilities that enhanced operations, legacy investments, and business processes. Companies even substituted CRM software for business strategy.
Rigid software design
First-generation software forced companies to conform to its function or customize it extensively, discouraging user adoption and automating business process without optimization.
First-generation CRM products took months or years to deploy, and the frequency of new product introductions continually pushed out completion of implementation.
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