Mixed grades for CRM implementers

Canadian companies are well above average when it comes to most aspects of CRM, but still have some areas of weakness, according to a new annual study released by the Customer Relationship Management Association (CRMA) of Canada.

A total of 19 companies participated in the first CRMA Enterprise CRM Industry Report Card. The study, which included professionals from the financial services, retail and telecommunications industries, asked questions about the strategy, people, process and technology areas of CRM, specifically looking for usable knowledge in the way CRM initiatives are deployed. The report card assigned grades for CRM efforts based on worldwide best practices.

Many of the companies that participated received an “A” or “A+” for their attitudes, awareness and concerns regarding the success factors required for CRM. They also received an “A” for their concerted effort to deploy certain important methodology stages, including critical pre-planning and discovery phases.

Areas of weakness uncovered by the study included the use of change management, which received a grade of “F”, and the type of implementation methodologies used, which received a “D”.

Study participants identified numerous barriers to implementing CRM effectively in their companies, including:

• Siloed and complex corporate structures that are difficult to navigate;

• Legacy systems and other existing technologies that do not easily integrate; • Investments in CRM programs are made reluctantly; and,

• It is unclear how the necessary customer-centric culture is established.

Other issues found to be common across the three verticals included:

• Difficulty in instituting customer-centric culture across the enterprise; and,

• Difficulty in outlining how integration and collaboration are created and sustained throughout the initiative.

The study is considered an important first step in the association’s mandate of contributing to the reduction of the failure rate currently associated with CRM initiatives.