To correctly implement a corporate information system it is necessary to coordinate three key groups of users: operations staff, middle and senior management and the system manager. Here we will discuss the most common case in companies, the CRM.
Despite having chosen a good manager and designed a good information structure, months after the implementation of a customer relationship management (CRM) system we will continue finding, inevitably, some dysfunctions. This is natural, since it depends on both the CRM system and how users use it.
In an optimistic post-implementation scenario in which the CRM system dysfunctions don’t exceed 10% of the total, we will face different attitudes towards the new information system that can be classified into three groups:
1. The CRM system represents a worsening in the information management. There are three possible reasons for this attitude:
- Users that focus on the 10% of CRM dysfunctions, overriding what really works well.
- Users who think that recording data is too time-consuming. This could be because they are simply too lazy, but also because the CRM system generates duplications due to poor integration with other programs, such as calendars, address books, newsletters, email, forms or the website.
- Users who think that the CRM navigation isn’t user friendly. They are usually people who have difficulty adapting to a new information system and, furthermore, they use it little.
Users with a negative attitude can be a very useful source of information (if they aren’t a majority in the company, in which case we have a problem). The CRM manager shouldn’t refute their opinions, but investigate what could be improved.
2. Users who don’t use the CRM system.
- They are afraid to use it. The reason that lurks behind this attitude is a lack of computer skills, in which case the CRM manager should be alert to reinforce their training.
- They don’t know that they have to record information or don’t look information up in the CRM system. Along with the duplication of information, this is one of the most serious dysfunctions, which we will discuss later.
3. The CRM system represents a major improvement and there is nothing negative. CRM managers should not be satisfied with this group of users, as it wouldn’t allow them to be critical and encourage continuous improvement. Users with this kind of attitude, however, are useful to relativize the importance of the more negative users.
Bearing in mind all these elements, we conclude that to successfully implement a corporate information system it is necessary the coordination of the operations staff, middle and senior management and the information system manager as follows:
Users from the operations staff must feed continuously the CRM system in order to always stay updated with the activities and services of the company.
The information system manager has three main tasks: to ensure that the CRM system is used properly; to improve forms, lists and other elements to facilitate their use; and to create dashboards with useful information to middle and senior management. Making the operations staff register data is not a CRM manager task, but a middle management task.
Middle and senior management must consult the CRM dashboards to obtain the information and stop asking directly the operations staff. If they don’t constantly consult the CRM system to use the information to support their decisions, the operations staff users will never understand the importance of recording data.