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
Nice sarcastic smear.
One of my former companys CIOs didnt trust his own IT staff to design and implement a mission-critical Claims Processing system to replace the aging one (he mustve decided we werent sufficiently competent, even though wed been supporting the existing claims system for years). So he farmed it out to a vendor on the other side of the continent. Two years later, they went live with the new system. It ran like a three-legged dog. They spent another 6 months tuning the application (written entirely in Java, but thats another rant). Now it runs more or less OK. His stated goal at the outset was to reduce his IT staff by 75 percent! And task those remaining with maintaining the new system (assuming the software was well-documented).
Once, I asked him point-blank what his vision was, and I got a load of bull-puckey instead of something concrete. I think his only vision was to annihilate the department.
Shortly after deployment he left, and one of his hard-working line managers was promoted to his vacated seat.
Communication has to occur from the bottom-up, as well as top-down. The CIO should set the example.
I read your story: “CIOs: Guilty of CRM!”
I agree with you that CIOs do blame everyone else. But, also, there is the viewpoint that CRM is not just a technology issue, it is company-wide.
In essence, CIOs cannot really control the successful implementation of CRM.
In a recent speech on May 1, 2003, Tim Arnoult, technology and operations executive of Bank of America said, “As a CIO, you cannot control the successful implementation of CRM.”
And, Dave Schrader president of Teradata, a division of NCR, a leading company in implementing technology for CRM for Fortune 100 companies has commented that technology alone is not the answer to CRM. CRM is a system of people, processes, and technology.
So, in many respects, CIOs cannot control CRM initiatives. CRM is much more than that.
CRM is about knowing who your customers are, knowing the products that each customer wants, anticipating customer needs and preferences, understanding and anticipating their problems; and rewarding them for being loyal.
This kind of customer relationship management started since the beginning of time and exists today. The only difference is that the local grocer down the street is now a huge chain. And each chain must find ways to customize each store down to a neighborhood. The manager needs to know your name and your needs.
CRM is the act of delivering on a personal level. Companies with 30 million customers are working on getting it right. But, CRM is not a technology issue. It is a business issue. A business issue that is starting to work.
But CIOs cant do it alone.
A hypothetical example is a company that has a database that is 100 percent accurate. The database and the companys CRM initiative identifies a sales lead for an existing customer (something the customer requested). The lead is followed up by sales. But, the sales person does not know enough about the product offering and cant explain it well. The customer is annoyed that he got solicited, rather than helped. Further the firms program does not incentivize for up selling the existing customer.
Bottom line—”CRM that stinks.” Is it the technology system, or the company? I think that there is a story here, or at least a follow up about what can be expected of CIO—they are part of CRM, but not the system.
Even the greatest software on earth cannot be the sole answer to CRM.