The Optimal Mix
More than 3 decades of experience has shown us that an optimal mix of three crucial components – people, process, and technology – is critical to most strategic initiatives in today’s digital environment. This mix must be adjusted throughout the initiative to ensure that critical goals are met. Overall, we have found that focusing 50% on people issues, 30% on process issues and 20% on technology is the formula for success.
Each of these components presents its own set of challenges, and our CRM consulting approach is focused on getting this mix right. Successful organizations first put customer-facing processes in order. Then they entice people (employees, partners, customers, and other stakeholders) to buy into the enhanced processes. Only in the final stages do they apply technology in support of these processes.
The people component presents the greatest challenge, because users are sensitive to change. New processes and technology almost always require changes in the way users do their jobs. Users who do not understand the point of these changes, who are not allowed to participate in their formulation, or who are not given adequate preparation and training will, understandably, resist. Gaining user support early on and keeping it throughout an initiative is an important driver of success.
The process component is tricky, because inappropriate use of technology will only quicken errant processes. Many organizations have well-established customer-facing business processes, but the application of technology will almost certainly require adjustments. Sometimes too, organizations try to correct process problems with software that contains one or more processes prebuilt by the vendor, and then force these “not-built-here” processes on users. This can be dangerous. Process change must be driven from within.
Too often, the technology component is given disproportionate emphasis, sometimes to the detriment of the overall project. Ultimate success or failure is determined by user adoption. But when IT departments “own” the implementation, the end-user experience can take a back seat to technical considerations.
Our Structured Methodology
In 1985, ISM created a unique customer engagement consulting approach with a proprietary, multi-step methodology to ensure the successful implementation of our customers’ CRM initiatives. Since then we have found this methodology to be so successful that we now apply it to all customer initiatives with which we assist. Our methodology gathers both “top-down” (executive and management) and “bottom-up” (front-line sales, service and marketing personnel) perspectives to ensure that the critical mix of people, process and technology is properly aligned…more