Implementing a constituent relationship management (CRM) application can be a difficult project for organizations with multiple large, complex departments. Rolling out a solution that caters to your development, marketing, program, and HR departments could be challenging due to the different strategies, processes, and products.
A CRM encompasses the people, processes, and applications that enable organizations to manage their constituent relationships. A successful implementation needs a holistic approach that aligns staff training and changes in business processes with constituent needs through thoughtful planning. It also entails implementing applications that will automate and consolidate constituent information. If a CRM isn’t helping you to become more effective, increasing your constituent retention or improving staff satisfaction – don’t implement it.
A well thought-out implementation plan for an enterprise-wide CRM can impact organizations with the following:
- Ability to better understand your constituents
- Reduction of the total cost of ownership
- Better positioning for future shifts in strategy or changes in regulations or constituents needs
- Increasing the likelihood of a successful strategy implementation
- Better governance of IT services
Why Organizations Fail to Maximize the Value of CRM Implementations
Technology itself will not solve all your organization’s pain points. A well thought-out implementation of a strategic solution could, however, deliver a high business value in a complex environment. When a CRM implementation lacks the clarity and depth, it could end up as a shelf-ware that is neither updated nor adopted by end users. Technology is just a tool to implement your strategy; it is not a silver bullet.
Another pitfall is if a CRM implementation approach lacks the vision of dealing with the overlap between different departments. Recently, I have been hearing from many organizations (clients and implementers) who believe that satisfying donor management/development needs alone is considered an enterprise implementation. In the long run, such implementations are doomed to fail if there is no focus or future roadmap to manage additional aspects of the organization’s mission.
Another very common problem is the lack of budget alignment between the cost of the technology and the cost of the changes needed to support the business’ processes. This is normally a result of a misaligned operational enforcement of the enterprise vision.
Doing it Right
Your organization will drive a positive return on investment from the enterprise-wide implementation through a planned CRM approach that is constantly evaluated. An assessment of the organization’s CRM strategy, staffing, processes, and technology will help you identify the relevant approach, resources, and tools to be put in place to champion a successful implementation. The value is achieving consistent processes, cross-departmental coordination, and even driving organizational innovation.