The first three things to get right when undertaking any CRM implementation or digital transformation project

For modern membership organisations, the CRM system is at the heart of their operations. It facilitates more effective user journeys, drives member engagement and provides the necessary data analytics and insight to intelligently steer business strategy. These systems also automate an extensive list of manual tasks without which, the organisation would be unable to operate.

Maintaining competitive profitability requires organisations to leverage these technologies which in turn means regular investment. The MemberWise Digital Excellence reports repeatedly call out technology investment as a key differentiator for successful operations. But embarking on a Digital Transformation project is a lengthy process which of course carries some risk. In MillerTech’s experience, guaranteeing a successful result from any type of digital transformation depends upon getting the following three key steps absolutely right.

1. Project governance

Before any work begins, it is vital that the internal teams understand and agree on the reasons for the digital transformation. If done correctly, these projects can be expansive and involve many departments and levels within the organisation so obtaining buy-in from the outset is crucial.

The project also requires a robust governance structure so that team members and partners know exactly what milestones require what approvals. As the project gets underway, this structure will also drive the sharing of necessary information and updates so ensure everyone in the organisation knows the status, the upcoming demands on their time and the final objectives. This can extend outside of the organisation too, keeping external stakeholders in the loop and requesting their support with discovery and beta testing if needed.

The composition of the project team is vital. Even when working with outside technology partners, MillerTech recommends allocating an internal project manager together with “business champions” to the project. With the appropriate levels of responsibility and authority, the communication benefits these roles provide can help to make even the most demanding projects run more successfully.

2. Review of business processes

It is common and understandable for organisations to view their current approach as the only possible solution to the challenge of member engagement. Having spent many years developing and refining the incumbent system, it is sometimes difficult to widen the focus and consider other methods to overcoming hurdles.

But a new CRM provided by a new technical partner usually has capabilities that were not available before. To ensure the digital transformation delivers a significant upgrade, it is important to step back from the way things have always been done and undertake an honest and objective review of current business processes. Objectives should be restated, and a fresh look should be taken at how challenges are being addressed. What new opportunities can the technology offer that were impossible before? How can the business processes themselves be modified to capitalise on the new CRM without requiring it be customised unnecessarily?

The choice of technology partner is central to success here. They need to bring expertise, experience and best practice examples to these discussions to intelligently drive the transformation and streamlining of business processes.

3. Data migration

All too often, the data within the CRM system is considered as an afterthought to the technical implementation. The infrastructure and software are setup, tested and approved with example data and then stumble when real operational data is uploaded into it.

Data migration is an entire project in itself and quality issues such as missing fields, data errors and duplicated entries all have the potential to derail the larger development. For this reason, data migration needs to start early in the project timeline and be properly resourced and analysed from both the client and technology partners perspective The performance of any system is dependent upon its data so never underestimate the importance of this digital transformation step.

Preparing for success

It would be easy to consider these three steps as being intuitive, obvious or straightforward parts of any data transformation. And many organisations might frame governance, planning and data as simple prerequisites to the “real work” of CRM implementation. But this approach can significantly underplay the foundational importance of getting these things right. It is often said that all projects include a period a heightened activity than many call “thrashing”. But this is only a problem if it happens at the end of a project when deadlines are short, and budgets are tight. By putting in this extra work at the start, and proactively addressing these three areas, membership organisations can maximise every opportunity for success in their digital transformation.

For a no obligation discussion on how these issues might affect your organisation’s digital objectives, contact sales[at]millertech.co.uk and we’ll be delighted to walk you through a best practice case study from one of our 30-year catalogue of client projects.