Reader Response: CIOs: Guilty of CRM!

Readers Respond to John Taschek's May 16 commentary "CIO's: Guilty of CRM!"


I have read your CIOs: Guilty of CRM! article and completely agree on the sad state of CRM failures in the market place. I adamantly disagree, however, that the CIO is the root cause of this failure. Any CIO will fail in the deployment of any enterprise-wide initiative CRM, ERP, etc., if these initiatives are driven by the IT organization or his strategy.

Credible CIOs, unlike CTOs, are charged with ensuring that the IT vision and strategy is driven and aligned with the goals and objectives of the organization. Successful CRM requires the entire organization to understand how each function and process impacts the customer. Unless CRM is used as a tool in support of broader goal of improved service and in turn market share or market differentiation, it is merely a software implementation project.

Where most CRM and ERP systems fail is in the organizations ability to support (people, time and money) the definition of the business process that they desire to develop, acknowledgment of the current process and people and a clearly defined plan of how the organization while be transformed to support this. Simply stated, for CRM to succeed it must be driven by the CEO or president. I fully admit that many CIOs have gotten caught up in the limelight of Siebel, SAP and the perceived glamor of CRM. I fully admit that there should be systems and infrastructure architects to strategies and execute the best technical solution.

The CIOs role to the CFO is to communicate the value created by the IT organization and fight to ensure that in the day of "just enough is ok" IT investment environment that budgets are not slashed further. Your heads in the sand if you think right enterprise solution is to allow functional organization to pursue their own course with CRM type solutions. I greatly respect your technical opinion, but perhaps you need to spend some time explaining to the investment analysts covering your publicly traded stock why your SGA numbers are through the roof, while your market share has diminished. Spend some time talking to the board of directors why each and every technology investment must deliver honest and real value. Perhaps you re still living in the la la land of dot-crashed dom where the king CTO dictated infrastructure and technology. Revenue, whats that ?

I loved your article in that you truly pissed me off and forced me to rethink what is truly needed to ensure IT success.

Shawn W. Knox