Q3 CRMUG DC Recap – Half-Baked CRM

Today was the Washington, DC Regional Chapter meeting for CRMUG. It was an excellent session with lots of discussion. It is always good to talk about our issues and find new ways to improve.
The first session was called “About your Half-Baked CRM”. This was presented by Eddy Conde of T3 Information Systems who is “fluent in English, Spanish and CRM”. So you are not happy with your CRM system. What do you do? You have 3 Options: Start Over, Update or Enhance. This is not a decision to take lightly and not a decision to make based on your emotions at the time; all options need to be carefully considered. Even if you are happy with your system you should be looking at it every 6 months to determine if it is still meeting the business needs.
Some things to keep in mind that affect this decision are: number of users, Outlook installations, personal views, training, number of customizations (form, JavaScript, Reports, Plugins), number and complexity of custom reports,  integrations, etc. Most importantly you need to think about User Adoption. Will this help user adoption or hinder it with more things they need to learn? Can we achieve big wins with smaller changes?
If you start over (fresh start) you have all the excitement of a new system and you can correct all the things you did wrong the first time (new requirements, data correction) but you will need to recreate any customizations, retain users and reconfigure outlook. So this is generally not recommended unless you have very limited customizations.
If you want to Update the data and/or configurations you will focus on requirements as well as gap analysis. There will be no need to reconfigure Outlook or reset any of your system settings but it could require extensive customization and data correction. You may also need to undo old customization work.
So your final option is to Enhance your existing system. This is a healthy phase to be in. Once your CRM system is up and running you can remain in this stage and always keep improving. User Acceptance/Adoption is a pro and a con here. You can improve user adoption by quickly providing solutions to common pain points through customizations; this can be a big win. However, some users are just unhappy with the system and will remain unhappy unless it is completely new. It will not have the “new CRM smell” but changes can be made quickly and there is also no need to reconfigure Outlook or redo the initial CRM set up.

It was a great session with lots of participation. Key takeaways are to look at how your system can be improved and remember that CRM is a very flexible system that can customized quickly and easily – take advantage of this.

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