Meanwhile back on the front line some companies may be struggling with the reality that the introduction of any new system, technology or process involves change. It is evident that some of the new CRM functionality, if embraced, will require a level of change.
To illustrate the impact of change I will just highlight one feature of the current Microsoft Dynamics CRM offering and outline what change means in this single context.
Consider for a moment the “Goals” functionality. This is a powerful and sophisticated toolset that sells easily to higher management, while the reality for the implementers and users is likely to be considerable change in the day to day operation of the business.
For example, once Goals has been implemented there will be the capability to showcase total visibility of Target and Actual for any number of metrics that can now be measured. And as we all know, “If you can’t measure it, it is hard to manage it”.
Implementing this functionality, however, encapsulates a lot more than just this measurement. To have targets for phone calls and appointments set in goals, for example, users have to create, complete and then close those appointments and phone calls in the CRM application. This could be a change to the current process, accompanied by a very real possibility that there may be a little resistance to this change.
There are therefore many steps and logical machinations that require change management just for this one small single aspect of the system. And if - as is usual - the implementation uses many more of the wonderful elements within Microsoft Dynamics CRM there is scope for change management for each and every one of these, and a ripple effect right across the business.
You really can’t address this with a blanket statement “There will be change” and expect that everyone will rally around on day one and gladly embrace it.
So what can be done? There is no magic wand, but when organisations are undergoing rapid and considerable change either by the introduction of new systems and processes or even as the result of takeovers and acquisitions, some form of change management fundamentals need to be implemented. These can range from the appointment of a Change Management Officer, through to training for the project managers and administrators who will be implementing the new systems or processes. The overarching element is communication, something you need to be really good at if you are driving any form of change.
This is a training issue, a management issue and ultimately a corporate responsibility issue, as the introduction of a new system may involve some considerable capital outlay, and its effect needs to be maximised and not wasted.
I think a look at the aviation industry is instructive. An airline introducing a new airliner will need to train the pilots to understand the changes in technology, the cabin staff need to be trained on the emergency procedures for this aircraft, the ground staff, fuelling and loading cargo specialists need to be trained on changes in their areas, and the list goes on. Everyone has to accept the changes, adapt and ensure that the new processes and procedures are in place. This program of change will be thought about, planned and executed; there is no time or place for non-compliance.
Unfortunately far too often I hear of systems being implemented without the requisite change management planning and even more disturbingly a lack of training. Both activities take time and have a cost, an investment that just needs to be made. So when I am on your project, expect to hear my change management chant regularly.