Combating Failure

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2001-10-15 Print this article Print

Combating Failure

The first step in any CRM implementation is not to take a strictly technological view of the solution. This is difficult because many of the vendors market their tools as software applications alone and promote technology as the only facet of a CRM implementation necessary for success. Its akin to a housewares vendor selling its customers pots and pans and claiming that theyll be great chefs simply by using them.

Implementing an effective CRM system changes every part of the business. IT managers must shift personnel around, sales assistants may become extraneous, everyone must become more adept at documenting calls, and employees may leave.

But there are positive aspects to all of this: As IT personnel get moved into new positions, new opportunities for success emerge. Those extraneous sales assistants, meanwhile, may effectively become sellers—that is, miniprofit centers instead of cost centers within an organization.

The trick is to anticipate and deal with these issues upfront and establish clear channels of communication. If management can mitigate the negative factors, a CRM system can provide vast benefits.

And there have been glorious successes. For example, The Limited Inc., including Victorias Secret and Lane Bryant, saw an increase in ROI of 400 percent when it implemented cross-selling opportunities using SAS Institute Inc.s analytical CRM software. Ford Motor Co. saw success with Siebel System Inc.s Call Center software and has plans to implement other Siebel technologies. Dow Jones Newswires has begun using Inc. with at least some success and, by all indications, appears to be moving forward with new deployments.

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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