10 Sep 2006

On Day 3: CRM Project Planning

Author: q | Filed under: SMB Nation

I sat in on Anne Stanton”s CRM Project Planning session this morning. CRM is an avenue I”m looking into, and I”ve worked with Anne on a couple of leads for CRM application implementations. She focused specifically on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product, but the basic concepts can apply to all CRM applications in general.

Anne started showing a project proposal template that she uses as a building block (living document) to work with a potential client and discussed the different phases of a CRM implementation. (Note to self and others – CRM implementations are more involved that just installing the software.) She then covered the basics of what it takes to install CRM SBE onto SBS. CRM SBE does integrate well with SBS, because it integrates with many of the components of SBS, but there are some “fun” points dealing with ISA.

Anne followed next with a deep dive into the implementation process. One of the most important phases, if not the most important, is the data migration process. This is taking all the existing data the client has and migrating it into the MS CRM app. One of the key aspects of data migration is data cleansing – making sure that the data you”re importing is ready for importing – this is where some of the pain points of the entire project are really evident, because if the client data is not really “clean” this phase can take an extensive amount of time.

Audience question: How do you price data migration? Sit down with the customer to see where they are and try to find out how many records they have. If they have a small number of records, it might make more financial sense to have a temp re-key the records in the system, but a larger number of records might require some outsourcing for custom programming to get all the records imported.

Next, Anne showed some of the different planning templates. These documents have screen shots of each and every piece in the interface that you go over with the client and find out what they need or not in the interface and you can note in the template what changes you need to make. The template also breaks down the structure of the record so you can see what the individual fields are and what the data type is for each field. These templates are available for download from the Partner web site as a ZIP file.

As you”re going through configuration, document everything that goes on during the research and deployment phases. Scope creep can really impact the project,but if you sufficiently document every request,at least you have the information that can back up any questions the client may have during the process.

Now on to the next magical session…

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