Hidden costs in implementing CRM systems. Field experience

When you start a large project to automate the organization’s business processes, it’s very difficult to assume at the initial stages what you can expect a few months after the start of the system implementation.

Many suppliers of CRM-systems promise that the project can be implemented in almost a few days or even hours.

Most often this is just a marketing promise. Of course, there are cases when a quick installation of CRM is possible, but usually these are simple solutions, which include setting up simple rules, registering users and assigning their rights.

If we consider a CRM-system, in which 100-500 users plan to work, then without preliminary consulting in the field of description of processes, individual business rules, user interfaces, role model, determination of data sources and integration rules, there is no way to do it.

And when you are planning a project, you definitely need to lay the time for a pre-project examination and study of the specifics of a particular business. And the heads of organizations, as a rule, are very busy - and in the best case, they spend several hours a week communicating with consultants. The project manager on behalf of the customer, although he oversees the project, does not have complete information about all the processes in the organization. So, the coordination of the nuances of work can take several weeks, and the requirements that were originally included in the contract cover only part of the possible cases.

The process of changing requirements begins, which is also delayed and increases the cost of the project.

Customer management is trying to evaluate the cost of a CRM systembased on one user, and most suppliers in their price lists announce this price (per user per month, per year or according to the usual licensing model).
However, the experience of implementing systems shows that a user license is not the most expensive, which affects the final cost of the project. Usually this is 30% of the total cost of the system.
Large complex projects ultimately exceed the budget by 50% -60%, and their implementation requires 50% more time.

How can project risks be reduced?

  • Describe on your own the business processes that you want to automate.
  • Invite at least 10 suppliers.
  • Implement a pilot implementation with one or more system providers.
  • Be wary of companies offering best practice.
  • Be prepared that the implementation budget may increase by at least 50%.
  • Estimate the hidden costs of implementation.

We recommend that you first describe your own business processes without inviting external consultants.

If necessary, you can attract them to a limited amount of work, so that they help to correctly formulate questions and ask the outline. Without this stage, in our opinion, a successful implementation project is impossible, unless the standard configuration of any system suits you or your organization has very simple processes.

Then we recommend inviting solution providers (minimum 10) and listen to their suggestions for setting up your business processesrather than a presentation about the benefits of their company and the number of customers. To fully experience the dignity of the technology with which the CRM system was created, is possible only after the start of implementation. Since even if you wrote down the requirements, chose a supplier, started to implement, then in the process of work it turns out that you did not take into account about 30-40% of cases - you did not think, did not know or forgot.

After the start of research and implementation of the system, significant changes take place in the business environment of the organization, and the time of relevance of automation tasks is measured in months and / or even weeks. Indeed, the technology used should allow very flexible and in the mode of small iterations to modify the system.

Try to implement a pilot with one or more suppliersWhen automating one or more processes, see how the supplier is ready to quickly configure your processes. Depending on the size of the project, small amounts can be allocated for piloting new systems. Why limit yourself if you think that several systems may be suitable for you.

Beware of providers who offer best practice.To some extent, this may be good at the initial stage of automation, and you will not have to reinvent the wheel, which will significantly accelerate the implementation of the system. But best practice has a flip side of the coin, which obviously puts you in the group of competitors lagging behind, since they have been using this solution for a long time (at least 2-3 years), and you just got ready to implement it. If you still decide to use the best practice, you need to understand how the configuration of the proposed solution can be modified taking into account the specifics of your organization.

Budget Planning

Almost any implementation project is very difficult to implement within the established budgets.

There are two strategies for selling an implementation project:

  1. The sale of the first stage of work is very cheap and the subsequent increase in the cost of the project. Be wary of suppliers who offer such solutions. Software implementations are human labor that is expensive. No one will implement the system for 50 thousand rubles for 2-3 months.
  2. The inclusion of certain risks of increasing the volume of work in the evaluation of the project
  3. When comparing suppliers' offers, do not hesitate to ask how the project of the technical task is carried out and what changes are included in the project cost, and for which you need to pay separately.

There are many hidden costs of implementing solutions for automating business processes and future monthly expenses, which are difficult for an organization to assess at the stage of project evaluation and supplier selection.

The most often forgotten expense items:

Import data. You probably have a database that you want to import into your new CRM system. And you are most likely unlikely to plan to do this manually. The solution provider or consultant will do this for you, but most likely it will cost you extra money.

Support. Many standard CRM systems include only limited or basic support. For an extended support package, you need to pay extra, for example, for round-the-clock technical support.

Conditions of a contract.Many CRM suppliers work under a contract for a period of at least 1 year without the possibility of a refund of part of the costs if the contract is terminated ahead of schedule. We recommend that you pay attention to a supplier who can offer a shorter-term contract, a free period of use of the system, or a pilot implementation.

User training. It is necessary to lay a budget not only for training existing users (employees), but also for new ones (who will come to the company or change positions). You can save money if experienced users in your company conduct internal corporate trainings without the involvement of external instructors. Also, vendors, as a rule, have more affordable online training or free online lessons in writing.

Integration with external systems. CRM-system not only uses the accumulated data in the organization, but also produces a huge amount of useful information for the business. It is necessary to foresee the costs associated with the integration of CRM with external systems during its implementation and operation.

Also popular now: