Last time out I described what I’d expect to see in a decent CRM requirements specification. Putting this sort of document together isn’t a trivial exercise, but the payback from the time invested can be huge. Here are some of the key benefits of this sort of approach:

Increased return on investment – the focus on having well defined business objectives means that there’s a much greater likelihood that the system will generate value to the business once it’s implemented. Many CRM projects fail to achieve anything meaningful either because there are no business goals or that they’re not fully articulated or understood.

Less white elephants – this emphasis on operational outcomes also means that investment tends to be focused on areas that make the biggest difference, and there’s less likelihood of expenditure on unnecessary frills or expensive white elephants.

Improved functional fit – the approach of fully documenting how an organisation’s business processes will be supported by the system is very effective at flushing out functional requirements, and tends to give a much greater understanding of what is and isn’t needed. This helps avoid the risk of selecting a CRM technology that doesn’t meet your needs or spending on unnecessary capabilities.

Reduced costs – the emphasis on process, and spelling out requirements in more detail, particularly in the areas of data migration and integration, means that prospective vendors can provide much firmer and more accurate pricing proposals. This avoids the common pitfall of having to make procurement decisions based on very loose estimates, which are only firmed up when the selected vendor undertakes a more detailed, and often expensive, discovery phase – the outcome of which is invariably a hefty uplift in costs.

The cost reductions through using this approach can be significant. We generally expect to purchase a system 30-40% cheaper through tightly defining the details up front.

Increased implementation speed – the time spent spelling out requirements in detail in advance of purchasing CRM software, means that the project can progress a lot quicker once the technology is selected and the implementation partner is on board, because this potentially time-consuming phase is already done.

Improved project control – a clear, shared, vision of what the system looks like, means that there’s much less likelihood of budget overruns or live date slippage through new requirements being discovered during the implementation phase.

That covers the content and the associated benefits, in the next post I’m going to cover how to go about putting this sort of specification together.

Footnote this series of posts is available as an ebook which can be downloaded from here.

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