The key lessons for CRM success have not been technical, but organizational. Software problems rank low on the list of causes for failure of CRM initiatives. And yet, our experience working with organizations of every size has been that companies want to start with the technology decisions.
They spend a tremendous amount of time and energy looking for a technological solution without having first established a clear business case with goals and objectives and metrics to identify the results they hope to achieve. They don’t understand it’s not technology that drives CRM, it’s intelligence about the customer. James Goodnight, CEO of SAS Institute, the world’s largest privately held software company, says, “Take customer relationship management but leave the intelligence behind and what do you have? Just a fancy Rolodex.”
Technology vendors are often responsible for this disconnect. At the CRM Expo in New York City in August 2002, keynoter Martha Rogers, Ph.D., founding partner of the Peppers and Rogers Group, hammered home the point that strategy comes first, before technology. Yet, on the floor of the Javits Center, where the Expo was held, vendors talked only of the technology with no mention of an overarching strategy.
National Center for Database Marketing Winter Conference, New Orleans, December 2001.
Jeremy Epstein, “Report from CRM Expo: Strategy First, Technology Second,” marketingprofs.com, September 17, 2002, p. 1.