For a business using CRM, keeping it up-to-date may mean installing system upgrades and nothing more. However, this ‘technical’ perspective misses the wider implication that CRM systems are typically interwoven with business processes and over time businesses evolve and change. If the CRM system is not kept in-sync with the business, there comes a time when a complete system reimplementation may need to be considered.

Major upgrade or re-implement?  It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, but either way yields enormous benefits, by keeping CRM relevant to your people’s day-to-day process.

We recently came across an organisation in just this predicament, they chose to reimplement – maybe you can relate to this story.

 

A brief history

This organisation implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM v4 in 2008 and made several technical upgrades to the solution over the following years, ending up at Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. While the upgrades proved useful in steadily adding functionality, usability and system compatibility, the overall system did not keep pace with the growth of the company. The changes had been made on a piecemeal basis.

Many things had changed over the years.  The sales process was becoming increasingly sophisticated, competitive forces demanded greater client engagement, information needed to be accessed on mobile devices, and digital marketing channels were disruptive. The marketing approach needed to be more personal; prospective clients expect a company’s marketing efforts will reflect the wants and needs of individuals rather than a one-size-fits-all.

The release of Dynamics CRM 2015 was an opportunity to re-visit the way in which the business could use technology to work hand-in-hand with processes.  A simple upgrade was not feasible, instead they opted to perform a complete re-deployment.

So what should you consider when embarking on a CRM system reimplementation?

 

Map the key business processes

Evaluate the current business processes and determine which ones can be streamlined through the use of automated workflows.

 

Decide what’s worth migrating

Data migration is one of the most costly and complex aspects of a CRM system implementation. Typically, people who have been using the previous system will say that they want everything that was in that system migrated over to the new one. But usually this is not necessary. Take the time to consider what information should, and should not, form part of the new system. The less burdened your new CRM solution is by little-used data, the more efficiently and effectively it will run.

One option that our client considered, and ultimately chose, was the option to retain the old system, and lock it up as an archive database to be accessed in the future.

 

Consider your add-ons

If you’re looking to deploy Dynamics CRM 2015, you could find that many of the apps and add‑ons in your previous system have been superseded by built‑in functionality in the latest version. If your apps are now obsolete, that’s one less thing to worry about migrating. In our client’s instance, the third party application they were using for a customer portal was able to be delivered using the inbuilt functionality in CRM.

 

Training
Build and deliver a training program that combines technology with the business roles and processes. This will increase user adoption, leading to greater project success. It will also allow you to identify bugs more rapidly, giving you the chance to iron them out before they become a bigger issue.

 

Pick system champions

It’s important that you choose champions to help advocacy, but also you bring a unique ‘local’ perspective if there are multiple divisions or departments involved in the use of the system.

 

Bring about change through communications and drive change management
With any large system deployment project, change management needs to be considered carefully. That way users can become accustomed to the new CRM system over time, and this will result in a higher rate of user adoption.

 

Businesses and the industries they operate in are constantly evolving. Something that may have worked well for you two or three years may not work so well today. It’s the same with CRM. Your CRM solution might have been perfect for you a few years ago but things have probably changed since then.  The deployment (or re-deployment) of Dynamics CRM 2015 as a complete system re‑installation can be an important way to help your business at the cutting edge and help lay the groundwork for improved business performance.

 

You can read more about Professional Advantage and Microsoft Dynamics CRM here.

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