The success of an enterprise is to embrace change with ease

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The success of an enterprise is to embrace change with ease

Slow or low user adoption is a top cited contributing factor to CRM engagements that fail to achieve their objectives, or just fail outright. In my experience, too many executives see the signs of slow adoption, but naively believe that the users will ultimately come around.

In fact, the opposite is more likely. The longer it takes to achieve acceptance, the more probable the CRM software will fail to become sustainable. I'd like to say that there are 2 or 3 things to do in order to achieve CRM adoption.

But it's just not that simple. I recommend beginning with a CRM strategy that paints a clear vision, acts as a roadmap and starts with the three building blocks of i alignment in how the new CRM software specifically supports the company's business strategy, ii SMART Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound objectives, and iii assessment with remediation steps of the company culture and capabilities needed to achieve the desired business outcomes.

Failure to begin with a solid strategy often results in technology not significantly contributing to the company's priorities, and thereby failing to gain adoption and become sustainable. Or similarly, the absence of a clear strategy creates doubts in the minds of users who have previously seen many projects get cancelled due to changing priorities or competing interests.

Leverage a solid plan. The strategy then becomes your blueprint and delivery plan. The Plan should include, but not be limited to, clear objectives sequenced in a prioritized order, specific tactics to achieve specific objectives, and forecasted results stack ranked by payback in order to achieve the biggest payback objectives first, demonstrate early wins and create an environment for sustained success.

The Plan should also include task and resource assignments, dependencies and constraints, durations and elapsed time, work breakdown structures and other elements associated with good plans. You can't accomplish everything at once so the strategy and plan should be architected in phases, and in a way that initial tasks deliver their own payback while at the same time contribute to longer-term objectives.

It's generally advisable that strategic plans start small, iterate and be agile in order to support the inevitable learning and adjustments that occur along the journey.

Solid plans are a telltale to users that the project is important, has been thoughtfully architected and is leaving little to chance. Assemble the right team.


The project team is the front line for identifying and remedying sluggish user adoption, so assembling the right project team is a clear precursor to implementation success.

However, making sure you have the right people on the bus, and everyone sitting in the right seats, is often a challenging exercise in organizations with scarce resources and limited internal software expertise. It's also been my experience that the people best suited for the project team will have the least availability.

That's not a coincidence. As my dad used to say, "If you want something done, give it to a busy man. Early and broad user participation. Getting users involved in the CRM software sometime shortly before go-live, or as they often see it, springing new software on them at the last minute, is a recipe for resistance.

The best practice here is to identify users from each stakeholder group or constituency this may be by role, region or business unit and get them involved during the CRM software selection, pre-implementation analysis or no later than the deployment design phase. Because CRM is a journey, a related best practice is to form a rotating user panel that periodically meets in order to measure progress, make assessments and prioritize recommendations such as design improvements, process enhancements or what new features released by the vendor should be adopted.

These users become the spokespeople to other users, which goes a very long way in the user communities recognizing this is their system, and not "management's system" or "an IT project.

In this context, your customers are your users. A Voice of the Customer VOC program is a powerful tool in soliciting and gathering feedback from stakeholders, constituents and the broader community. VOC tools may include email or online surveys, web self-service, application analytics, system log analyzers, chat, Quality Monitoring, EFM Enterprise Feedback Managementtext mining or case management insights.

CRM software deployments coupled with business process improvement BPI initiatives contribute to higher user adoption and payback. The combined effects of technology with BPI include easier to use systems, faster transaction cycles, reduced revenue leakage, fewer errors, greater employee productivity, lower operating costs and a bigger payback on the technology investment.

Introducing a CRM system that does more than most users can imagine will overwhelm most users. Therefore, designing the system user interface and navigation is the first and possibly most important design you'll ever make.

The goal is to make the application simple and intuitive, and that can be done by focusing on prioritized user behaviors.

The success of an enterprise is to embrace change with ease

For example, creating a default page that clearly shows what each user should do first and next will aid ease of use and time management.

These dashboard displays vary by role, but often include dashboard panels that display Top Forecasted Opportunities, Other bottom of the funnel Sale Opportunities and Today's Activities. Once you have organized what users need most in an easy to consume interface, it's then important to remove menus and pages that are irrelevant.The key to successful enterprise: Embrace change with ease Presented by: Leni Thomas.


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The success of an enterprise is to embrace change with ease

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