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Does CRM pay off?

There is so much bad press about CRM these days. Should we believe that it's not paying off? And, what does Aberdeen see as key success factors?
I might refer you to Mark Twain: "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." As a matter of fact, there have been CRM failures and there will continue to be failures, though we can hope that the absolute number goes down as the ratio of success to failure goes up.

Early CRM failed for lots of reasons that were related to implementation and many of the drivers of those failures have been addressed. Some of those drivers included long implementation cycles caused by frequent changes to the basic plan, and delays caused by the need to integrate disparate products, both of which resulted in high costs so that breaking even was hard to do. The recent introduction of modular architectures for CRM systems, vendor integration of acquired modules to achieve full suites and most importantly, customer self education through services like this one have brought down the time and cost associated with CRM implementations and resulted in greater success.

Dealing with the root causes of CRM failure was relatively easy -- the next frontier in proving CRM's worth will be more interesting because it will deal with successful use of the systems. I see situations right now where successfully implemented CRM systems are not providing the returns expected, not because the software isn't working but because the users are not using the applications properly. That gets us into methodology, something I've been talking and writing about for over a year. If you are interested in learning more, check out the Aberdeen website in a few weeks, I'll be publishing something on the topic. Most of the research there is available for free so it's one of the sources lots of people use when researching topics like this.

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