Customer Relationship Management Information System Essay

Question:

Discuss about the Customer Relationship Management Information System.

Answer:

Introduction

In any industry the CRM is important in managing the relationship with the customers so that the company can retain, acquire and convert the potential customers in to the loyal customers for the business organization. Therefore, while developing and implementing the CRM system in an organization it is important to determine the appropriateness and effectiveness of the system from the perspective of the company. The CRM must address the business requirements (Fui-Hoon Nah, Lee-Shang Lau and Kuang 2013). CRM System is a suite of pre-designed, prepared to implement, incorporated application modules that concentrates on improving and automating the client centric functionalities such as—marketing, supports, services etc— of an organization and having the adaptability for planning and customizing progressively the conveyed usefulness of the CRM package.

The following report contributes to the comprehensive implementation of CRM system at an organization, the 7 step SDLC process for the implementation of the CRM, the selected features of the CRM package, justification for the selection of those features. In addition to that, the associated project management, risk management and change management for implementation of the CRM at the organization.

Mission of “Peer Support"

The mission of Peer Support is to provide a peer led and evidence based approach that can help in the enhancement of social, emotional and mental wellbeing of the students at the schools (Peersupport.edu.au, 2016). This will help the students to be informed and skilled so that they can contribute to the development of the community.

Using the CRM systems it is possible to have a cost effective way to connect with the customers in order to get feedback about the services, further more using this system the company can improve the quality and services provided to the customer.

Discussion on the SDLC steps in the implementation process

While using the systematic approach for the implementation of a CRM system, there are mainly 7steps in the whole process. The main advantages of using this SDLC model is the required changes in the development of the system can be adopted at any phase of the SDLC. In case of the development and implementation of CRM system, the systematic approach is considered to carry out the existing function by using the new system (Liagkouras and Metaxiotis 2014). This new systems are also capable of carrying out newer functionalities required for the growth of the business.

For the selected organization the seven steps in the SDLC of implementing a CRM solution is discussed in the following section.

Systems investigation: In this step the CRM solution provider explored the issues in the existing information system as “Peer Support” provides training and educational to its clients, then with the existing information system, it was confronting issues with entering and managing the customer information (Basahel 2016). In addition to that, it also requires a website that can handle complex data entry operations. This was important to publish and inform its customers about the new courses. While using the existing system, they have to enter the same data twice.

After this, the CRM solution provider conducts a feasibility study of the existing system at the organization. At the end of this phase the strategic plan for the whole project is developed.

Analysis phase: In this step the team gathered different business requirements of “Peer Support”. After the analysis of the business requirements of the organization are finalized, the management determines whether to build a tailored CRM solution or a buy a CRM package (Fui-Hoon Nah, Lee-Shang Lau and Kuang 2013).

Development phase: In this stage, the required database for the upcoming CRM application is prepared so that the time for integration can be minimized. The IT infrastructure for the CRM is also prepared.

Testing phase: At this stage, the test cases for the CRM solution package are developed so that its efficiency can be measured (Basahel 2016). After this, the system testing is done to test the productivity of the developed system can be measured in the real world scenario at the “Peer Support” organization.

Implementation stage: At this stage the, it is estimated that, the solution will be implemented at the “Peer Smart.” It is planed that the, the CRM will be integrated with the MYOB accounting package used at the organization (Corner and Hinton 2015). The implementation of the CRM package at the organization will be done using the “Pilot” conversion approach.

The implementation of the CRM package will replace the manual Microsoft access database and excel spreadsheets (Liagkouras and Metaxiotis 2014). After the implementation of the CRM package, the data from the manual systems are imported to the new package. This phase also includes the training of the end users i.e. the employees of the “Peer Support”

Maintenance stage: This phase includes development of the helpdesk for the users, so that end users can get help about any issues that they confront while operating the CRM. In addition to that, this also includes the development of an environment that will support the changes in the system.

The central database used for maintaining the CRM data will help the employees at the business organization to update and view customer data (Corner and Hinton 2015). The available information will be helpful in gaining loyalty of the customers, better services and retention of the customers. In order to do this, the first and most important step is to identify the issues in the existing system.

Again using the customer’s data the organization can divide the whole customer base in to different segments in order to provide services according to the different segments (Fui-Hoon Nah, Lee-Shang Lau and Kuang 2013). This segmentation of the customers will help the organization to drive customized sales or marketing campaigns by targeting different customer segments.

Implementing the CRM in the organization, it will be able to improve its capabilities, and performance in the market. According to the authors Ali, Ishaya and Hassan (2015), the marketing and planning of the organization can be adopted according to the changes in the volatile and competitive market.

The collective effort of the marketing department and the customer relationship management department is identified as the crucial factor for the better performance of the organization, in light of the fact that it helps in development of the casual ambiguity, making it troublesome for contenders in the market to decide the organizations competitive advantage that helps in improving the performance of the organization (Basahel 2016). Moreover, various reviews have likewise found that the marketing and planning activities of any organization have a positive impact on the organizations performance in the market.

Features to consider for selecting the CRM package and justification

While developing and implementing a CRM package in the organization it is important to determine the features of the package that meets the business requirements of the organization. Some of them are,

Easier integration with the existing information system and external application: One of the most important features of any CRM package is the ease of integration with the existing information system. Whenever CRM system is implemented in the organization, then it is important to import all the organizational data that are collected and stored in the previously used manual information system.

The simple the integration of the CRM with the other application is the more beneficial it is for the organization. In most of the cases the implementation of the CRM packages fails as it contains lots of functionalities but does not address the requirements of the organization. This in turn creates complexity for the users to use the package. Hence, as the complexity increase the adoption of the CRM package by the employees in the organization decreases (Ali, Ishaya and Hassan 2015). In addition to that, the ability to integrate with the third party applications is also a factor that contributes to the success of the CRM implementation. These third party applications are important to manage different kind of business operations that are important for achieving higher growth rate in the business.

Remote accessibility: Another important feature while selecting a CRM package is the remote accessibility to the package. This will help the employees of the organization to enter the customer related data (Josiassen, Assaf and Cvelbar 2014). This will help the employees of the organization to complete their responsibilities on the go. In this way the time to process the data will be minimized for the organization.

Most CRM packages help the organizations to deal with the different business opportunities in market. Be that as it may, when it comes time to produce a quote or take the request, such CRM packages compel the organization to utilize a totally divergent request passage, or Accounting/ERP, framework. With the newly implemented CRM package, this procedure will be completely automated so that employees of the organization can without much of a stretch get to all the discount related data and customer specific pricing strategies that normally live in the Accounting/ CRM framework (Basahel 2016). Creating a quote, or taking a request, is as simple as clicking a button. Business people even have constant visibility into stock levels, with the goal that they can set client desires for stock levels and deliver the products on time without delay.

Project management activities in implementing CRM

The project of implementing a CRM package at “Peer Support” requires application of several types of knowledge, skills, techniques and tool for attaining success and getting the desired amount of throughput after the completion of the project. CRM is achieved within the project management plan by finding the consumer’s purchasing habits as well as preferences. It provides the groups in order to market as well as increase the sales (Josiassen, Assaf and Cvelbar 2014). It also improves in the customer service as well as marketing. Therefore, the CRM system increases the sales of the organization by better timing of the historic trends of organization, identification of requirements of customers as well as identification of customer’s profitable areas.

The impact of the CRM systems generally depends on the utilization of the standard customer information advancements alongside the systems of relationship promoting gaining the business objectives for the concerned business organization. The CRM systems enable the PeerSupport to predict the trend in the market so that the company can perform better in the market. This things are measured as the part of the strategic plan of the business that are generally projected for the organization to acquire and retain the potential as well as existing customers in the market. Furthermore, it also helps in offering business opportunities and better understanding about the requirements of both parties (Ali, Ishaya and Hassan 2015). With use of CRM system in project management, the customers are invited through use of customer portal in order to participate into the key projects. Within the organization, the CRM system helps to view as well as response to the support enquiries and check for the unpaid invoices. The project team members those are involved in the plan are able to gain trust of the customers and result in progress of projects (Josiassen, Assaf and Cvelbar 2014). Customer service software is able to manage the outcomes of project successfully. With use of CRM, project management software, the customer support respond becomes faster as well as there is an increase in close rate of requests.

In the service provider organization, it is critical to track the customer lifecycle and keep them up-to-date with the project status reports as well as deliverables. The order request of client, history related to sales as well as contact and personal information are involved in the CRM system (Corner and Hinton 2015). The data as well as information such as budget related information, the project manager involved with the projects keeps timeline within the project management system that are accessible. There are some strategic benefits of connecting the CRM with the project management such as help in managing the consumer lifecycle within single system and help to divide the team collaborate on deliverables, budgets and reports. It also connects with feedback of customers as well as provides entire return of investment for purchase of products and services (Ali, Ishaya and Hassan 2015). Finally, it is concluded that CRM uses to manage the customer interactions and improve the relationships with customers in customer retention.

Risk management

In this particular CRM implementation project, there are several risks that can affect the success of this project. Some of them are, issues in end user acceptance after the launch and implementation of the CRM at the organization, complex deployment process of the developed package, and change in the scope of the project and most importantly the performance issues after the implementation of the system (Basahel 2016). Some other CRM implementation project risks are invalid assumptions on the project, removal of project planning, delay in conversion of data, failure in user adoption problems and mission of sponsorship.

It is observed that 60% of CRM implementation projects results into failure. These failure rates decrease business confidence, bringing about further deferrals in the more extensive adoption of CRM (Josiassen, Assaf and Cvelbar 2014). In any case, while several researchers feel that these client centered projects fails due to the technology or innovation, it has been found that CRM project failures mainly occurs due to the absence of management and an absence of business process definition amid execution, among different other factors. Some of these factors are discussed below and the ways to mitigate those risks are also discussed.

Wrong strategy: Technology driven CRM projects are in most of the cases are started with wrong reasons. Some of these key undertakings are started absolutely to execute new technologies in the organization without ensuring that the innovation supports the particular business case (Basahel 2016). In the event that CRM is viewed as an IT project and not a business activity utilizing latest innovation/technology, then the organization would not be able to drive the changes in its own business operations.

The way to mitigate this risks are, the top level management of the organization have to understand that, CRM can just "automate” the business operations, not define them (Steel, Dubelaar and Ewing 2013). Accordingly, the implementation strategy will be developed in such a way that, the project can support the business case strongly.

Risks related to the employees: Changes to existing work practices can make stress and instability in the work environment. Use of the new CRM package in the organization may prompt to the substitution of old information systems, procedures and individuals.

Above mentioned vulnerabilities can make dread and prompt to resistance or an absence of assurance amid key activities of the project (Ali, Ishaya and Hassan 2015). It is basic to obviously address individual’s issues and have a steering committee set up to oversee variables which are to a great extent outside of this project deliverables. In multicultural organizations, an absence of managing different cultures can likewise bring about an absence of confidence, high attrition and poor motivation of the employees.

In order to avoid this risk it is important for the leaders of the organization to convey the benefits of the newly implemented system for completing different business operations (Corner and Hinton 2015). Furthermore, training must be provided to the employees to motivate them to use the new system.

Risks in selection of the vendors: This kind of risk can occur in the CRM projects due to over-customization of the CRM solution by the vendor (Basahel 2016). Contracting and collaborating with a new inexperienced, unstructured system developer who does not have the essential business and system integration experience can be vulnerable in the implementation of the CRM projects.

In order to mitigate these risks there must be an exhaustive evaluation of different CRM vendors before settling on a choice for the implementation of the system at the organization. The adaptability, its impact on the organization, upgradeability and maintenance cost are the key factors to be considered in the selection of CRM vendor(Keramati et al., 2013).

Organizational readiness: PeerSmart must be prepared with the quality information that is going to be inserted into the newly implemented system and to collect the latest customer information adequately. The framework results might be in the same class as the information that is stacked and gathered (Ali, Ishaya and Hassan 2015). The information is the most important entity in the business. The business operations are then implemented according to the new business rules which should be defined clearly (Josiassen, Assaf and Cvelbar 2014).

Change management

Change management is frequently characterized as a crucial factor in determining the success and failure of the CRM projects. While most of the researchers conclude that, managers of most of the organizations are confused about implementing an appropriate change management as a component of the CRM implementation project (Basahel 2016). CRM implementation projects are intended to make the whole organization client centric and implementation of these new systems in the organization requires systemic change throughout the organization.

In order to motivate the employees of the organization to utilize the newly implemented CRM system at the organization, it is important for managers to encourage the employees to use the new system by any means (Corner and Hinton 2015).

The managers of the organization can consider educating and (by providing training to the employees) and providing incentives for the adoption of the new system and completing their roles and responsibilities using it.

In the change management process leaders or the managers of the organization have to communicate with the employees about the benefits of the new system, the way this solution can affect the professional life of the employees.

Another important component in the change management process is the communication plan after the implementation of the CRM in the organization (Josiassen, Assaf and Cvelbar 2014). As the new system will ask for change in the different business operations (that will be completed using the new system) that are completed manually by different individuals previously, therefore it is important to change the organizational culture to fit in the new scenario.

The new business procedures may require marketing and sales division of the organization to cooperate more intently and in various courses than previously (Basahel 2016). Generally, the marketing division has of the organization concentrates on longer-term planning, for example, the consequences of a product campaign or accomplishment in conveying a volume of prospects to the sales department of the organization (Corner and Hinton 2015). Interestingly, the sales department of the organization has short term objectives, frequently making performance report on monthly basis.

After the implementation of the CRM package , sales department of the organization need to concentrate on the developing long term plans and relations that includes more amount of marketing, while advertising must work all the more intimately with deals so as to better gage promoting adequacy (Ali, Ishaya and Hassan 2015). As a result, the marketing and sales departments of the organization must align their objectives in order to improve the performance in the market. Each of the organization is consisted of different culture, which is shaped by the management teams. Implementation of change management program starts with the communication plan as well as approach to respond to resist in changes (Josiassen, Assaf and Cvelbar 2014). Communication plan helps to interact with the customers and help in preparing of staffs to erode to change resistance. Use of CRM system in change management makes the business processes a time consuming.

Conclusion

From the entire report, it is concluded that the CRM system helps enhancement of satisfaction level of the customers, increase their value, cost reduction as well as improve in project profitability. The project team members those are involved in the plan are able to gain trust of the customers and result in progress of projects. Customer service software is able to manage the outcomes of project successfully. A web based CRM solution for the organization helps in faster customer feedback as well as the business process becomes time consuming.

In the risk management plan, with use of CRM system some risks are identified such as project plan delay, budget issues, improper project plan and issues in user adoption failure. In change management, the organization consists of various culture and business processes, therefore the organization should utilize the newly implemented CRM system and it is required for managers encourage the employees to use the new system. Different departments of organization must align their objectives in order to improve the performance in the market. A proper CRM vendor is required for the organization to mitigate the identified risks so that the organization can use of better CRM system so that they can interact with customers properly and successfully. Therefore, the customer support respond becomes faster as well as there is an increase in close rate of requests.

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