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A panel of Microsoft Dynamics CRM/Dynamics 365 experts provide reviews and opinions to aid professionals with the CRM selection process.

 
 
Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath

Why I Am Confident We Can Provide Fixed Fee Dynamics CRM Implementations

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We provide Fixed Fee Dynamics CRM implementations. No gimmicks, No Games.

After more than a decade of experience with numerous and complicated CRM projects, we have developed a successful system for providing fixed fee Dynamics CRM Implementations.

Here’s how it works:

Part 1: Discovery Process (Free)

We take the time to go through a brief discovery process. We want to understand your business and understand the relationships that are important to you. (A CRM system is generally focused on tracking people, money and things and we want to know what you track.)

Then we want to learn about your requirements and goals in order to determine how a CRM system is going to meet those requirements and if Dynamics CRM is a good fit.

We don't charge for this discovery and we can do it relatively quickly because we have been doing this for a long time.

Based on your business requirements, we will give you a loose project estimate. For example, an estimate of 100 to 300 hours for implementation (plus software licensing).

I agree, this is a pretty wide gap.

But it is important to start with this step because it makes sure we are both in the same ballpark. If you say, “Geeze, we thought this was going to take 15 hours,” then we both know this is not going to work.

But if you like our approach, and agree with the range, then we start getting specific.

Part 2: Functional Design Phase (Paid – Fixed Cost)

In phase two we will give you a fixed estimate to go through a functional design phase. For example, if the initial estimate was 100 to 300 hours, within that time we might schedule a fixed 30 hours as a paid engagement for the functional design process.

Together we will think through the functional design with your specific business requirements in mind. We will play devil's advocate.  We will ask leading questions.  We will bring up topics that you, the client, may not have known to ask.

You many tell us you send invoices to customers. Great. But what are your common terms, what are you capturing?  Where is that information coming from?  Do you have a standard template for services versus products?  Where is sales tax calculated?  What is the output?

We guide you to the types of information that we need with an eye to detail and we give you homework to collect that information within the company. It's not a quick process, but together we figure out exactly how it's going to work and make sure you are thoroughly educated about CRM and what it can do.

And I’d like to point out that we don’t make any money on this functional design phase. We are trying only to cover our own costs.  If we estimate 30 hours for a functional design document, we may spend 100 hours on it because it so critical to us that everything be correct. After all, this is what we will hold ourselves to during the fixed fee implementation.

At the end of these 30 hours we will give you a detailed blueprint for your Dynamics CRM implementation. We know exactly what we need to provide and you have a very good understanding of what you are going to get.

Part 3: Implementation Project (Paid – Fixed Fee)

When the functional design document is agreed upon we can confidently provide a fixed fee proposal for the entire Dynamics CRM implementation. You will know exactly how much it will cost, and how long it will take.

Even if it takes us longer to accomplish something we agreed upon, you will not pay more.

We design, develop and deploy the Dynamics CRM system based on that blueprint. There are no surprises. We bill against the budget and the budget is fixed.

If you decide that you want something that is not included in this blueprint, that is outside the scope of the project, you can choose if you want to pay extra.

Why do fixed fee projects make everyone happier?

Our process sets realistic expectations for everyone involved.

We are not shooting high on the price just to create some buffer zone in case something veers off course. When this is done the CRM partner can always find a way to “use” the extra money in the budget, so don’t expect to see a refund.

We are not underestimating the project just so we can win the deal. In this case, the partner will inevitably come back to you later and say they have reached the top of the budget and you have to decide if you will pay more to keep the project moving. By this time, you are already too far down the road to back out.

We are both on the same page about the final deliverable. Some CRM partners will say an implementation is complete while the customer says it is almost there but the setup did not take into consideration some specific business unit that does something different. The partner may feel that what they delivered checks all the high level requirements boxes and the budget is maxed. Then it becomes a tug of war.

These scenarios put the customer in a bad position and make the CRM partner look terrible. Next, people start throwing around the scary phrase “failed implementation.” Setting realistic expectations is what allows us to have happy customers.

 What if changes come up during the fixed fee project?

Our goal is to flush out all the potential hurdles during the functional design phase so that changes do not come up. If you are wary about a certain element you can request that we spend more time on that during the design phase so that it is very clear.

However, once the blueprint is agreed upon, anything that you would like to change or add would be handled as a change control process. This means it would be a new project, with an additional fixed fee.

What can go wrong with a fixed fee implementation?

 Unexpected situations sometimes come up, but we will provide exactly what we agreed upon, even if it takes us longer than we estimated.

For example, last year we let go an employee who was heavily involved in a specific CRM implementation project from the beginning. This was a large engagement and the ex-employee had been the person responsible for everything. We had to spend a considerable amount of time to get a new person up to speed on this project. But that was all on us. The client did not pay any extra.

If it turns out that a client gave us false information during the functional design process, that is a difficult situation. We either need to do a good job of outlining why it was false or we just “take one on the chin” and get through it. That is why we are extra careful when we make the blueprint.

Why should you trust AbleBridge with your Dynamics CRM implementation?

We've seen clients that were billed four times more than the amount that we would have charged for a project.  The initial estimate may have been lower, but realistic expectations were not set. The CRM partner basically billed for every single minute that they spent on the project, no matter what.

Software implementations can be stressful enough, the last thing you need is big surprises on timeline and budget or a final result that does not meet your expectations.

Our fixed fee Dynamics CRM implementations keep surprises out of the equation.

If you are interested in discussing a fixed fee Dynamics CRM project, contact AbleBridge 877-600-2253 or [email protected].

By AbleBridge, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Partner, now a Crowe Horwath company. www.ablebridge.com

Follow us on Twitter: @AbleBridge

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