You may have seen one of those documentaries about soldiers training for the special-forces. There’s normally a scene that goes along the following lines: a soldier reaches what they believe to be the end of some incredibly gruelling endurance test, presumably hopeful of some food and rest, only to be informed that actually their day is only just beginning and they are now about to embark on some even more demanding test. The aim is clearly to massively stress their resolve to carry on. Not surprisingly perhaps many drop out at these points, and only the very toughest survive.
Strangely perhaps CRM implementations exhibit certain similarities. The project team who have fought their way through the demands of planning, requirements gathering, vendor selection, design, testing and training are suddenly confronted with the enormity of the user adoption challenge once the systems finally go live. This is a common breaking point. Too many resources have been used up to properly take on what’s ahead.
The key of course is better knowledge of what is ahead. The would-be special-forces soldier knowing they faced a 36 hour interrogation after their route march might better marshal their resources to cope with the challenge. The implementation team that understands the enormity of the challenges either side of the live date might be better prepared for the rigours of user adoption.
The problem is that historically organisations have focused on the pre-live, rather than the post-live world, with resources split in percentage terms around 90/10 between the two. To my mind this has to shift dramatically to something closer to a 50/50 split if organisations are to be successful with any sort of meaningful deployment. Better planning for the post-live world is going to be critical if organisations are going to get more from CRM technology.