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CRM implementations: How to avoid a failure to launch

by Ryan Plourde
Principal, Crowe LLP, Crowe LLP
August 31 2017

CRM software is ever evolving, requiring companies to regularly undergo new implementation projects or upgrade their existing software. This level of activity keeps consultants busy, but it also might lead some companies to become overly reliant on outside experts. Without internal stakeholders taking ownership of the process - particularly on matters related to internal users, business requirements, and buy-in - a company can end up with expensive software that is not used to its potential - or that goes unused altogether. Companies even risk incurring greater costs as a result of requiring more consultant input or even reimplementation.

Organizations that deploy successful CRM solutions, including those based on Dynamics 365, make key assumptions early on that determine their success, from careful definition of their business case to internal leadership and realistic cost analysis. Let's examine these factors in more detail, including the risks inherent in poor CRM project planning.

Building the right project team

A common denominator among companies whose CRM implementation projects fail is a poorly composed internal project team. For starters, size matters when it comes to the optimal project team.

For an organization with a few thousand employees and multiple business units with complex requirements, a 10-member team can prove appropriate, assuming a leader or liaison is designated. A team of that size is unlikely to work well, however, in an organization made up of only 10 people. Smaller organizations frequently want to involve everyone - it might be part of their culture to consider everyone's opinions - but that level of participation can prolong the project unnecessarily and quickly can become unworkable. But no matter the size of the organization, one or two individuals must be designated project leader(s). The project leader will keep everyone updated (as opposed ...

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About Ryan Plourde

Ryan Plourde is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) executive and thought leader with a proven track record of helping businesses streamline operations across sales, marketing and customer service. Focused on envisioning and designing innovative industry solutions and packaged productivity tools, Ryan helps customers realize measurable business value in less time and at a lower cost.

Prior to joining Crowe, Ryan was the Founder and CEO of AbleBridge, a Microsoft Gold Partner that was acquired by Crowe in 2016. 

Serving in leadership positions both on the consulting and client-side, Ryan has an excellent perspective on helping organizations realize greater business agility by streamlining operations and optimizing performance to achieve better business results.

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