May 25, 2011

Why Governance is a Best Practice When Implementing an Enterprise-Wide CRM

Manish Limaye

Manish Limaye

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By now you’ve determined that your organization is ready for an Enterprise-Wide CRM; but where to begin? In a word: Governance. Why Governance? Like the rudder of a ship, Governance is responsible for steering large initiatives towards a successful outcome (or the metaphoric iceberg). Unfortunately, Governance tends to be one of those ambiguous terms lacking real definition or substance. In the first of two blogs, I explore some tangible aspects of what it means to truly govern.

Governance is a Team Sport

Any large implementation effort requires program oversight and governance to be effective. As you embark on your CRM endeavor, the initial question to ask is, “Who should be on the Steering Committee?” Obvious members include the project sponsor and sales leadership. The inclusion of IT is quite common given the technical nature of any CRM implementation. Unfortunately, most organizations stop at this point and fail to include Operations and back office executives (e.g., COO, CFO, etc.). The rationale being that CRM supports Sales Force Automation hence the emphasis on “sales.” Project management and even the sponsor may purposely elect to avoid leaders in other parts of the business due to the natural friction between sales and operations.

Instead of shying away from conflict, embrace it! A healthy tension amongst leaders ensures course correction. Include leaders from Operations, Accounting, Finance, and even Legal. CRM is about the entire organization becoming customer centric. It’s important to remember that downstream functions such as operations and accounting are also selling through delivery. When all parts of the business understand and have access to customer information they can begin to include these insights into their day to day processes. As you forge ahead with your new CRM program, include all aspects of the business; for only then will you build a solution that truly maximizes the lifetime value of a customer. 

Stay tuned for the next blog on Governance.

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