IT a bit-player with CRM: Deloitte Consulting

The IT department should get out of the driver's seat and into the back seat when it comes to CRM implementations, according to Deloitte Consulting.

Tony Lucas, CRM practice leader for Deloitte Consulting, said he has found when IT drives this sort of project, it "falls over" and projects are "shelved".

"If the project is driven by technology, it will not succeed. IT shouldn't be driving the project, but they are an important part of the team. A CRM project should be driven by a senior person who reports directly to the CEO and has an interest in the customer."

Lucas said the reason IT-driven CRM implementations fail is that the IT department says, "lets buy this type of technology because everyone else is buying it", but there is no buy-in from the business.

"CRM focuses around the business strategy, the technology is just the tool for the strategies to be implemented. If the project is driven [purely] by technology, it will not succeed."

He said the technology used for CRM is new, but the theory behind the practice is not and that business buy-in was vital for project's success.

According to callcentres.net's 2000 Customer Relationship Management Report, conducted at the end of 2000, 46 per cent of the top 1050 organisations in Australasia had some form of CRM implementation under way. However, only 24 per cent of the Australian companies using a CRM system had seen any return on their investment.

The study also found that 97 per cent of respondents had encountered or anticipated meeting barriers during the implementation. These barriers included poorly integrated IT systems, cost, internal conflicts between various departments, and a shortage of skilled resources.

Lucas said IT had a role to play in a CRM implementation, namely the technology decisions, as there are many challenges that need to be resolved due to legacy systems and the integration of data.

"A lot needs to be done around the business processes and IT could provide the best tools to solve this problem."

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