Business Process Improvements Must Precede Technology Implementation

Business Process Improvements Must Precede Technology Implementation

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By Barton Goldenberg

A crucial element to Social CRM implementation success is that business process improvement precedes technology.  On a recent vacation in Italy, I had the pleasure of watching Germany win a major soccer tournament.  I was impressed by how well the Germans and Argentinian players in the tournament had played, but more importantly, I was struck by how structured their plays were.  Like well-oiled machines, the Germans and Argentinians  had created many different plays and had practiced them time and time again, until they had become second nature to the players. If only organizations implemented Social CRM in a similar manner.

The right way to implement a Social CRM initiative is to first determine what Social CRM business functions management wants their initiative to address and how these functions will integrate social insight coming from Social Media community monitoring and filtering.  Taking into account the new ‘to-be’ processes, prioritize these business functions, remembering to bite off only what the organization is able to chew.  Take the time to train customer-facing personnel and customers on how to use the new processes.  And finally apply Social CRM technology to optimize the organization’s well thought-out Social CRM business processes.

Unfortunately, too many organizations depend on Social CRM software vendors to supply needed Social CRM business processes.  For me, anyhow, this is backward logic; let me explain.  Increasingly software vendors build valuable Social CRM process capabilities directly into their software.  But many Social CRM software vendors are not sufficiently business-process savvy to know which specific Social CRM processes to offer in their software.  So either they default by offering one of two options:

  • Building in generic processes along with a business process/workflow engine.
  • Offering vertical, industry-specific software that builds in relevant, industry-specific business processes.

Unfortunately neither of these two options is optimal.

The third option, which is being practiced by best-in-class organizations worldwide, is to follow the 10-step Business Process Review discussed in my previous blog post.  This option delivers valuable, prioritized Social CRM business processes that drive Social CRM success.  It allows organization to select a Social CRM software vendor who can actually deliver that organization’s Social CRM business process needs

That brings me back to the topic of Germany’s soccer tournament victory.  Knowing the plays was a part of the German team’s DNA.  The players then executed these plays with excellence.  In an organization, think of the processes as the plays and the Social CRM software as the players.  Get the plays right, then choose and train the best players.

In my next blog post, I will focus specifically on applying business process best practices to create the Social Media component of a successful Social CRM initiative.

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The Definitive Guide to Social CRMBarton Goldenberg, is the founder and president of ISM Inc., customer-centric strategists/implementers serving best-in-class organizations globally. As a CRM leader for 30 years, he was among the first three inductees in the CRM Hall of Fame. Recognized as a leading “customer-focused” author, his latest book, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM, is hailed as the roadmap for Social CRM success. Barton is a popular speaker on “maximizing customer relationships to gain market insights, customers and profits”. He is a long-term columnist for CRM Magazine and speaker for CRMevolution and frequently quoted in the media.