Month: June 2011

CRM Deployment: Big Bang Or Phased?

Typically, a CRM Implementation affects a major chunk of an organization’s employee base. Hence, a good user adoption is necessary for the overall success of the initiative, in case users react negatively to the newly-launched CRM System, this poor start may affect the whole show.

So, more and more companies are asking this question: ‘Should we go for a Big Bang CRM Deployment, or take it phase by phase?’

We asked one of our most experienced CRM experts Mr. Padmanabha Rao to share his thoughts on this important CRM aspect:

    • I think a big bang implementation is a recipe for poor adoption over the long run. That’s why most of the CRM Solutions today are agile tech.
    • Basically, CRM is a frontline staff application. So, periodic (say, every 7 weeks) pack releases are better compared to a big bang all-reqs-in release.
    • The mistake in this might be to assume that this kind of agile release is easy – it’s harder than the big bang (and perhaps that may explain why it is not done as frequently). This has to be planned well in advance and all the stakeholders need to be involved in the buy-in and execution processes.
    • The other mistake might be to assume that staff / customer will appreciate all the big work and big bucks behind the big bang. They usually don’t because they don’t know enough to evaluate what is big and what is not, and they really couldn’t care less about it. All they are interested is, are we making good progress on the way we manage Customer Relationships, It can be done very effectively by a phased deployment, than a big bang approach

What is your take on this? Share your comments and experiences!

Software Satisfaction Awards 2011 (SSA11)

Software Satisfaction Awards are now in their sixth year and have organized software industry’s most coveted awards. The SSA is voted on by actual users of software rather than a panel of judges and the deadline for user votes being 5pm on the 20th June, 2011.

The Software Satisfaction Awards 2011 would culminate in an evening Awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square and over 300 delegates, across the world from shortlisted organizations and leading industry representatives, would gather to recognize and reward excellence in business software customer satisfaction covering the various verticals in the market.

These industry awards are decided entirely by the votes of users who are asked to rate all of their business systems for: Ease of Use; Functionality; Reliability; and Value for Money. For each of these attributes, the respondents are expected to give their ratings on a four-point scale from Poor to Excellent.

According to the Statistics, more than 8,000 people have casted their votes on applications ranging from Payroll/HR and CRM to Finance and Accounting. The votes will determine the nominations and finally highlight the right software business models for a better growth in the market.

Also, note that Competition in the CRM and Customer Management categories is grown fierce this year among industry giants such as, NetSuite, Oracle, Sage UK, SAP, InTouch CRM, Amphis Software, ResponseTek and Thunderhead. Meanwhile, the new areas including Business Intelligence category has seen companies such as SAP, SAS, BOARD M.I.T., Parker Software and Advanced Business Solutions facing off.

Which of these CRM contenders will get your votes? 

Note: Your vote is valuable and you have time till 5 pm, on 20th June.

Social CRM a ‘Hot’ buzzword in 2011

Companies are increasingly taking the help of social media tools for marketing. Social networking is gaining importance as it can help to easily communicate, share information, and form new communities online. One of the hot selling concepts in CRM space is Social CRM and the interest in Social CRM applications continues to grow.

According to Gartner, while spending on social CRM remains less than 5% of all CRM, this area is hitting the top of the marketing and customer service department lists in terms of mind share. Social CRM applications are used by customers, as well as sales, marketing and service organizations, to support CRM processes. To be successful, social CRM must mutually benefit the customer and the company using it.

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Social communication pioneer Michael Fauscette defines Social CRM as ‘the tools and processes that encourage better, more effective customer interaction’. They leverage the collective intelligence of the broader customer community with the intended result of increasing intimacy between an organization and its prospects and customers. The goal is to make the relationship with the customer more intimate and tied to the company by building a public ecosystem to better understand what they want and how they interact with the various company touch points like sales, customer service etc.,

The transition of CRM to SCRM can be seen with the step of capability. The primary difference is ‘Control’ and ‘Interaction’:

·         Control is more dispersed and customer defined
·         Interaction is the focus rather than transaction. This is the most effective way for marketing professionals, salespeople, and customer service agents’ to develop meaningful relationships with customers

If the return from the investment on social networking has to materialize, than it has to be synchronized with the other core business processes and customer management initiatives. Else it is going to remain yet another failed buzzword. Key is to have a right mix of social sharing (or information), with data sensitivity. If you find that sweet spot, Social CRM’s benefits will grow exponentially.