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StrategyJun 06, 2011

Understanding the Importance of Redesigning Business Processes to Support Your Enterprise-Wide CRM

Katherine Moffitt

The second topic in the “Best Practices for Implementing Enterprise-Wide CRM” series addresses the importance of redesigning business processes to support enterprise-wide CRM. This two-part blog explains the importance of business process documentation and provides practical guidance for creating and reinforcing business processes.

What comes first: the processes or the technology?

In the series on “Is Your Organization Ready for an Enterprise-Wide CRM?”, the importance of defining a customer-centric strategy that puts the customer at the center of the organization was being emphasized. This culture or mindset of customer service needs to be enabled by the right technology and supported by the business processes.

The ‘best’ practice is to define process first and then select the technology. However, practically speaking, the technology is often selected based on the current process and a few ideas of the future state. To the greatest extent possible, the business needs drive the requirements for the tool (e.g., the Customer Account must enable me to capture the Customer’s birth date so that they can be contacted for a special discount in the month of their birth). After the tool is selected, the processes can be discussed, documented, and finalized with any technical constraints taken into consideration.

What is the objective of defining business processes?

Defined business processes provide specific best practices for ensuring the full potential of the technology is leveraged. The purpose of the CRM tool is to support the business need to manage customer relationships, and the processes define how the tool enables the business user to maximize the value of interactions with their customers.

The business processes should define the most logical, common path taken for a specific scenario. The processes should focus primarily on the situations that occur the majority of the time. Though there may be less common scenarios that deviate from the common path, only the high priority exceptions need to be documented.

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