Why It’s Important To Define The Scope Of Your CRM Project - Right At The Start

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CRM project scoping is where your business requirements, processes, timescales, costs, and what you’re looking to achieve from your CRM software project are agreed upon and clearly set out. It is vital to the success of any CRM project.

Why? Because it sets expectations for you, the client, and the business partner you’re working with. It defines what’s going to happen, what’s not going to happen, and helps avoid project drift (project drift or creep will cause problems in most projects, and CRM is no different). It also defines the measurements of success.

Focus on Business Processes

Failing to understand, articulate, and include all relevant business processes within a new CRM project can result in a system that doesn’t meet the full needs of its users. This can result in lack of user buy-in and even project failure.

Scoping is the first main stage of the CRM implementation process. It’s important because it focuses the attention of staff within a business on their current business processes. It helps them fully understand the breadth of each process, how it interrelates with other departments within a business, and why something is done the way it is.

Defining your CRM Project

There is of course more than one way to define a CRM project. Usually a CRM project team, consisting of key project staff from you and your business partner, will work together to define the purpose and scope of your project. From this, your business partner will produce a business requirements specification and a system design document. As well as showing how the CRM system will achieve the requirements and objectives, it may also include project plans, detailed costs and risk analysis.

So, scoping gives organisations a way of fully understanding, and articulating, their existing processes. When this is done, they can look at improving them, and implement a CRM system that will achieve this.

Understanding CRM software

As well as understanding your businesses processes, it’s also important to understand CRM software. When you’re starting out on a CRM project with a product such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, it can take a while to comprehend the depth of the product and what you can achieve with it.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a highly flexible product. As well as being able to get up and running with it ‘out of the box’, it’s also possible, for a qualified business partner, to configure or customise the product almost beyond recognition. Although you don’t need to understand the technicalities of the software, you need to understand how it will best meet the requirements of your organisation. The project scoping exercise will identify and explain this.

Solid Foundation to Take your Project Forward

Another benefit of project scoping is that it is non-committal. Scoping can be carried out by your CRM business partner, a CRM consultancy, or for larger projects you may even employ the expertise as an in-house resource. Once completed, it will provide you with some extremely useful information and a solid foundation on which to take your CRM project forward. But this doesn’t mean you have to commit to anything. You can use the information and documentation to discuss your requirements with other CRM business partners, or use it as the basis of an RFI or tender.

Benefits Business Partners as Well as Clients

Clearly defining the CRM project is not only beneficial to the client business; it’s also good practice for business partners. From a business partner’s point of view, if we have a good grasp of your business requirements, we’re in a strong position to deliver a solution fit for purpose, that meets the business objectives of our customers, and ideally exceeds their expectations. From a client’s point of view, it helps you keep control of your costs, ensures you get what you pay for, and know precisely what you’re getting.

For all parties, it enables development of KPI’s and measurement of success. So, for everyone involved, it’s important to define the scope of your CRM project - right at the start.

By Concentrix TSG, UK CRM specialist and Microsoft Business Partner

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