Using Governance in Deploying CRM Applications, Part 1: Why It Works, How It Works, and a Strategy that Works

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If your organization is using CRM as a platform for deploying applications in multiple lines of business, you’re challenged with coordinating all those separate initiatives on track while taking advantage of economies of scale. In this 2-part blog series, we discuss how governance can help you get the most from your CRM investment.

How do you align your people, processes, and initiatives, working towards a common goal while addressing the needs of individual LOBs? The answer is governance. This might surprise you, since governance is often misunderstood.

Governance, Defined

Although governance has been in use for many years, there are misconceptions that compel many to steer clear—namely, regulations, limitations, and red tape. A governance strategy ensures a consistent user interface, puts processes in place to eliminate duplication of effort, provides tools, techniques, and services, such as calendaring and module updates, reduces cost of ownership by making solutions more maintainable and by consolidating functionality to reduce licensing expenses, and more. At its core, the goal of governance is to standardize so every opportunity can be capitalized upon to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability. It can be compared to green initiatives: share, reuse, and "think globally while acting locally."

The Pitfalls of Going without Governance

You might be thinking that governance won’t be worth the complications and bureaucracy that are sure to come with it. However, dealing with complex, sophisticated technology at an enterprise-wide level, with LOBs doing their own development, requires a solid strategy to keep it on track. Without one, your IT infrastructure will quickly become disorganized and unmanageable—which translates to inefficiency and cost. The consequences can include customizations that conflict with one another, adverse effects on database performance, difficulty with testing, and a slowdown in development efforts.

The Benefits of CRM Governance

A smart governance strategy all but eliminates the risk of these pitfalls; however, it also offers other powerful benefits:

1. Centralized Communication Strategy – A governance model facilitates a consistent message throughout the program’s execution.

2. Centralized Master Data – A governing body assists with creating a common data schema, allowing for a master client record that can report on all interactions by the client.

3. Disconnected Applications Supporting One Global Goal – Teams connected by governance have the ability to make decisions on whether to join applications through integration or merge Lines of business (LOB) into a single supporting solution.

4. Centralized Technical Expertise – A group that can provide development and deployment best practices and assist in communication, capture, and leadership of a program of projects, helps avoid the pitfall “reinventing the wheel.”

CRM Centers of Excellence: Putting Governance into Action

There are many models for program governance. Although they might differ in their approach, they all strive to resolve challenges that arise with multiple CRM deployments and possibilities for new deployments. However, many of these approaches aren’t effective, primarily because of poor planning and lack of understanding of goals, challenges, culture, politics, and internal policies. They use a common model, where teams often get split up due to demand for new functionality and quick development—which is when problems occur. Establishing a CRM Center of Excellence (CoE) expands on the Program Management Office (PMO) to include a consolidated team of technology experts. The CoE provides a foundation that promotes the benefits of the CRM platform as well as project management processes vital to communication, architecture, and structure.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog series, CRM Centers of Excellence: Helping Organizations Optimize CRM as a Platform, where we discuss CRM Centers of Excellence in more detail, including team structure and benefits.
CRM-Governance-ebook-ImageTo learn more about how governance could benefit your implementation of CRM initiatives, download CRM Governance: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and How to Do It Right, an informative eBook, compliments of AKA Green Beacon and written by governance experts.

By Green Beacon

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