Sunday, March 9, 2003

CRMs and Misdemeanors

I want my CRMTV. Cnet is reporting about a Gartner report on the little black cloud of failure over most CRM implementations … Hey guys CRM is tough. If you think of it for ten minutes after the sales pitch you’ll realize this. Yes it can work. But it’s not just software and it is not easy. [How do you know that?]

OK, let’s deconstruct the C|Net article to see what it’s really saying:

  • 42% of CRM licenses haven’t been installed.

Well, so what? While I’ll be the first to admit that there are firms who are struggling, whether they use our software or someone else’s, I don’t really see this as news. In many cases, the number of licenses bought is purely an economic decision. If I’m a buyer, I have two options (at least): (a) buy exactly the number of licenses that I need to use today, or (b) buy a larger number of licenses to allow for growth if the software’s a success.

In the case of (b), I’m going to get a deal. Every enterprise software vendor will provide volume discounts to anyone buying larger license blocks… which will naturally lead to some of those licenses being deployed later in the implementation (if at all). This isn’t a story.

  • Another reason for CRM failure is resistance to change among employees.

Well, sure, but Gartner’s been saying this for years. Indeed, most of the analyst firms have concluded that CRM failures are more likely a result of cultural and procedural obstacles than the technology failing. (This is why we’ve spent a couple years working on instituting workflow into the product to accommodate current cultural realities at services firms rather than try to change them.)

The real story that’s yet to be told: when will the stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap approach to traditional CRM (aka “Sales Force Automation”) be seen as the actual reason for CRM’s failure?

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