Change Management -- a Case Term Paper

Pages: 36 (9852 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 22  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business


For instance, lack of a communication between each person in the customer relationship chain can cause a system to paint an incomplete picture of the customer.

Poor communication can result in technology being implemented without proper support or buy-in from users (Deck, 2001). For example, if a sales team does not believe in the system's benefits, they may fail to input the type of demographic data that necessary for the program's success.

One Fortune 500 company failed to successfully implement a CRM system because its sale force resisted its efforts to share customer data.

Theoretical Perspectives, Concepts and Practices Involved in Implementing a CRM

In today's global economy, it has become increasingly difficult to manage customer relationships in any type of business. For telecommunications companies, this task is especially complex.

After decades of sales, marketing, and customer service activity based on a monopoly business model, many telecom companies, including British Telecom, realized that their previous systems would not suffice in meeting the relationship management challenges of the modern marketplace.

Companies like British telecom decided that the creation of a fully integrated CRM systems environment was the answer to these challenges (Mattison, 2002). This was a smart move, as the management of customer relationships is at the core of telecom businesses. Without CRM, these companies have no business.

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However, in the initial stages of CRM's popularity, many companies made the mistake of investing millions of dollars and a great deal of labor into costly, high-tech solutions that delivered little or no value. Many of these companies failed in their initial efforts.

As businesses became more aware of the true meaning of CRM, they realized that certain business practices were necessary for successful CRM implementation. The business practices include (Mattison, 2002):

Creating and managing an optimal sales force

Motivating sales people and teaching them to be more effective

TOPIC: Term Paper on Change Management -- a Case Assignment

Getting more positive impact from customer service investment

Invigorating and managing agent channels

Fine tuning and expanding web presence

Enhancing and automating customer self-service capabilities

Strategically managing, cutting, and tuning overall channel interface strategy

The real value and the real challenges of CRM implementations lies in understanding the implications of the changes required with implementing a CRM system and qualifying them before proceeding.

CRM implementations tend to be complex and multi-dimensional. Each implementation involves the following issues (Mattison, 2002):

Channel balance

Customer channel preference

Cost per customer contact

Customer contact quality

Customer impact

360o perspective on the customer experience

360o perspective on the corporate experience

Technological implementation

Employee competence

Employee willingness to change

Culture, values and vision

Organizational impacts

Financial implications

While plans for a fully-integrated CRM system may look good on paper, and sound even better when a software vendor describes how effective it will be when the system has been installed, few CRM systems implementations can be made without a series of major challenges.

Each company will experience different problems and successes with the same CRM solution. However, research reveals that there are a few key issues involved with successfully implementing a CRM system that apply to most businesses (Mattison, 2002).

A major challenge to any major CRM consolidation and streamlining activity is organizational and political resistance.

Implementation of a new CRM solution that truly delivers high value returns on the investment must, by definition, break down barriers between departments, specialists, and legacy systems. Of course, if those entities had wanted to be integrated and streamlined in the first place there would be no reason for the CRM system (Mattison, 2002)."

Basically, any system that is designed to deliver value should address and resolve any organizational, operational, financial, political, personal, and logistical challenges that arise as a result of its implementation.

Unfortunately, many businesses view CRM as a technical process, failing to realize that software and methodology can not resolve many of these issues. "There is only one way to address this: one issue and one person at a time. That takes sensitivity, awareness, foresight, and persistence (Mattison, 2002)."

To successfully implement a successful CRM system, businesses must resolve the variety of people problems that are likely to be created by the new CRM system. When this is accomplished, a second set of challenges must be addressed: the IT systems.

For telecom companies, architecture is often complex, and billing systems must be tailor made. The level of information retrieval and integration that most companies expect to get from their CRM systems deployments means that the data and systems challenges will be great.

When the systems integration process is complete and the new system in place, businesses must learn new ways of operating. "New processes, new procedures, and much new information will have to be analyzed, understood, and integrated into the way people do their jobs (Mattison, 2002)."

Even when this difficult task is accomplished, there is still one more step before the benefits of the system are effective. Management's attitudes and pre-dispositions, as well as the company's core strategies and beliefs, must change, as well.

In most cases, management does not accurately predict the level of changes in corporate culture, values, and strategic direction that new, truly effective, and well integrated CRM solutions is bound to create (Mattison, 2002).

In many ways, CRM systems enhance the entire organization, as the experience of new systems implementation and utilization teaches employees on all levels to look for many other ways to improve the business.

Change Management

Change management is an extremely important aspect of implementing a CRM system, as CRM initiatives rely more on shifts in work processes than they do on technology (Milloy, 2002).

Change management is a tool that, when used in its proper context, can help businesses integrate and maximize the potential of their CRM efforts. Effective Change Management involves a serious commitment of time, energy and resources directed towards preparing a business to use the new technology effectively.

In addition, change management provides a way to reduce risks of failure, maximizing return on CRM investments in the technology.

Change management is often referred to as people management (Brown, 2002). While many aspects of CRM relate mainly to the process and the tools, the people are the driving force behind the success of a CRM system.

Any changes made by implementing CRM are bound to have a direct impact on how people do their jobs (Brown, 2002). Businesses can expect that the majority of their employees will resist change. However, with an effective change management strategy in place, resistance should not prevent a business from implementing a CRM system.

The key to implementing a CRM system is employee acceptance. There are a number of proven techniques that are commonly used to minimize resistance and enable a company to resolve it when it occurs.

The following are some of the most widely used methods (Brown, 2002):

Getting all employees involved in the change process early and thoroughly. With good change management techniques, employees often make good decisions and create plans that assist management. However, they are more likely to embrace the idea of CRM if they are allowed to be a part of it, rather than if management simply dictates it to them.

Providing training and facilitation to all employees. For example, many large companies now incorporate change management as a standard training program offered through the company.

Communicating effectively with employees. One of the biggest challenges of change management is dealing with rumors and fear of the unknown. Companies can deal with this challenge by keeping the entire staff informed and up-to-date.

Change management is in some ways the toughest obstacle to successfully get a CRM solution into production. A company may have many solutions in place from spreadsheets to internal databases to client-server applications.

These solutions may meet a portion of a company's requirements or they may meet the requirements for an individual group within a company, so there is typically resistance from that group when they are required to change (Reed, 2002). Managing this change is critical to the success of any CRM project.

It is important to note that because change initiatives are often value-based, they may clash with cultural patterns of values, thought, and action that already exist within an organization.

For example, if set cultural patterns are inconsistent with the new values and cultural implications of change management, then defensiveness, withdrawal, and distortion of important information may be a challenge in change management (Argyris, 1992).

Schein (1992) refers to culture as "a pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to these problems. (p. 12).

As organization's ability to implement a successful CRM system relies on its ability to develop and implement strategies for examining and redesigning cultural systems as an integrated aspect of change management.

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