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CRM Requirements Specification

The CRM requirements document is probably the main determinant of whether a CRM initiative is going to be successful or not.

It’s also one of the main things that organisations struggle with. Many specifications are too high level, or written in a ‘language’ that potential suppliers don’t fully understand.

Organisations also struggle with the ‘art of the possible’, failing to establish what the latest generation of CRM technologies could potentially do for them.

The result is that many ‘home-grown’ requirements specifications fail to create a compelling vision of the future, and are insufficiently detailed to identify the most appropriate technology, or for prospective vendors to provide reliable guidance on pricing.

Mareeba have developed an approach called ‘front-loaded’ CRM requirements specification. The approach rapidly defines the business goals for the project as well as creating a detailed blue-print of the system required to achieve them.

Where our methodology differs from traditional approaches is that the detailed design is completed before, rather than after vendor selection. This enables you to evaluate technologies in light of a fuller understanding of your needs, and provides a firm basis for vendors to provide accurate, rather than estimated, pricing proposals.

This in turn encourages greater competition between suppliers and gives you a better basis to assess each offering. It also avoids the problem that many CRM purchasers face where costs are not fully known until a commitment is made to a specific vendor.

Our CRM requirements specifications cover the following:

  • The business objectives for the project
  • How supported processes will operate in the system
  • Prioritisation and phasing
  • The entity relationship model for the system
  • Functional requirements
  • Date migration and integration requirements
  • Reporting requirements
  • The systems that will be replaced
  • Suggested CRM technology platforms
  • Estimated project costs

The benefits of this approach include:

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.

To find out more about our CRM requirements definition services, email us at enquiries@mareeba.co.uk, or call on 01494 927418.