It will not be enough for the company simply to have the appropriate tools; the ability to absorb new technology will be critical to success. This will require creating new guidelines and training to be sure everyone in the workforce uses the new tools effectively. Whatever time line you project, double it. Take into account the fact that key players will not always be available the moment you need them. Process changes will be greater than you have planned. Vacations, other priorities of the business, and delays in vendor deliverables will also stretch your time line.
Working with a large retail client, Seklemian/Newell established a plan to develop new CMR initiatives in two phases. We projected that Phase 1, developing the strategy, would take nine months, and that Phase 2, testing the implementation, would take six months. As we progressed we soon realized that Phase 1 would take twelve months and that, even then, we would not be ready to make the leap to Phase 2 without adding a new step. We revised the schedule to include an interim Phase 1.5, which added six months to the process. This is a classic example of the why it’s important to factor in extra time.
Break the budget into specific project tasks for best control. There have been cases, even in rather simple CRM deployments, where, because of poor project structure, the budget is consumed before projects are ready and without consideration of what is being delivered. Not only does that result in cheap and rushed implementation, but also starts the program off on the wrong foot. Early investments in expensive software and hardware can diminish the start-up budgets before a company is ready to implement its program, resulting in a rushed and weak rollout. It is imperative to keep each expense category separate and controlled from the start.