Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Be successful with SAP CRM

While technology and functionality are improving, how do we make sure an SAP CRM implementation is successful?
Why is it that still from time to time an (SAP) CRM implementation fails?

As a consultant it is painful to see a good solution not being used or is not properly implemented.

In this blog I will focus on how to do a succesful CRM project.

This is not based on research, but based on many years experience with SAP projects. I have collected some rules which can help a project to become a successful project.

Project initiation

The project initiation should come from the business not from IT

This is a very clear statement and probably everyone understands this. When the project is driven from IT, the business will very likely not accept the solution.

If for some reason the project is driven by IT, make sure you convince the business using added value from the project. For example less administration or administration using a mobile device and more added value using reporting can help the user acceptance.


Split the project

Split the project into smaller pieces whenever possible.

Some CRM projects contains sales, service and marketing processes. This will have a huge impact on the business, but also on managing all resources and keeping everyone aligned in the project.

Especially with CRM projects, it is possible to split the project in different phases. Projects with a smaller scope are normally more succesful and will give the business the opportunity to learn the solution, which will be useful for next phases.

A strong projectleader

A strong projectleader from customer side is key.
A projectleader from customer side who can act as a mediator during the discussion is very important. Normally the business (and especially sales reps) are very strong focused on the best solutions and all kind of exceptions. When you agree upfront with the projectleader to stay as close as possible with the standard functionality and focus on budget, then this person can help during the discussions to meet these requirements.

As a consultant you can explain why it is better to go for solution 1 or solution 2, but most employees listen better to one of their own people. Working together with the projectleader to keep the requirements close to standard will improve the project results.


Keep on showing

Show the solution as many times as possible.
Customers are struggling with the way (SAP) consultants are talking. We do not speak the same language. This leads to misunderstandings during discussions. As a result during the testing phase it becomes clear that there was a misunderstanding during the requirements phase.

When you are able to show the solution already during the scope & requirements phase there is no misunderstanding and the users will understand better what the final solution will look like. Show the solution also several times during implementation. Some of the project methodologies have this already included. It will increase the system acceptance and any misunderstandings can still be fixed.


Don't stop after implementing the operational processes.
Most of the CRM projects are focussed on collecting data. This is important to facilitate the operational processes. However a CRM project is also started to learn and understand your customers based on the collected data.

Unfortunately some projects don't implement the needed reporting to analyze the data. Employees are forced to enter a lot of data in the system, but they never get the needed results back. After some time they refuse to enter the data anymore and the project will fail.



To summarize all mentioned rules:
  • Set the business behind the wheel
  • Set a proper scope and stick to it
  • Devide the scope into smaller pieces
  • Demo-demo-demo
  • Make sure the end-user understands the benefits and eventually feels them.