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CRM -- where to start?

Within a CRM development project, how important is it to start with the analysis of the existing processes (e.g. Sales, Marketing, Customer services), of the economic aspects of the project (e.g. TCO, forecasted ROI) and of the possible impact of the project on the business strategy of the company?

This is an excellent question, because it gets to the heart of what CRM is, and is not. It is very important to realize that CRM is about change to the organization; change from being product centric to being customer centric. As such, firms need to look long and hard at the impact a CRM "project" will have on the organization. Many CRM projects fail because they are viewed as technology projects, that are designed to automate existing processes. This simply allows firms to do their old product centric processes faster, in many cases, lowering customer satisfaction. The key is to redesign around customer processes, then use CRM solutions to implement those new processes. Truly successful CRM practitioners take such a view of life.

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