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As is often found with the introduction of new and unfamiliar technology, staff and
management were initially resistant to the proposed changes in their working practices.
Staff feared that the changeover would involve a great deal of tedious work for little tan-
gible reward, and managers feared loss of control over business processes and strategy as a
result of an increase in automation.The personal touch that defines SCRAN's dealings
with its contacts needed protection, and staff members were initially unsure that this fea-
ture could survive the introduction of standardised practice. In order to allay the staff 's
first fears, a temporary worker was drafted in to begin the process of transition and to
perform much of the tedious and often difficult data conversion, verification and align-
ment.
Implementation and training was completed in-house.This saved an estimated
5000,
effectively halving the total cost of the system's introduction. All in all, from planning to
final implementation the SCRAN installation took six months, a portion of which
involved staff doubling up on both the old and the new systems.
Configuration of CRM software is one of the key issues for all but the smallest, sim-
plest of organisations, organisational simplicity and standardisation being rare in the her-
itage sector. It must be planned thoroughly and implemented carefully in order that the
system meets its potential, justifies its expense, and is workable by users of any existing
system. It has been estimated that without the existing in-house experience with the
ACT!
software package, the total rollout time could have been doubled.
The principal benefit to SCRAN of the
new CRM software is the ease with which
reports can be created. A variety of monthly
and quarterly reports must be produced, and
ACT!'s
calendar system is able to track both
scheduled and actual dates of transactions and
tasks, as well as managing slippage between
segments on the reporting timeline; for exam-
ple a report that must take into account certain
transactions made just outside the calendar
month. Patterns and trends can be made more
accessible through their presentation in visual form, cutting down on analysis of figures
and providing a more intuitive interface between management and statistics, thus easing
the strategic planning process. Product distribution can easily be tracked. For an organisa-
tion such as SCRAN which has significant dealings with local authority education
departments and their central ordering systems, this cuts down on lost and wrongly-
delivered products and the frustration of tracking them down.
One additional (and largely unanticipated) benefit to the SCRAN back-office staff
was the suitability of ACT!'s reports for auditing. Before the introduction of CRM,
auditors had to wade through voluminous paper records, but the Deloitte & Touche
auditors were more than happy to accept the ACT! system as an auditable structure in its
own right.This had the bonus of acting as an external validation of the usefulness of the
system, further easing the fears of the staff.
As previously mentioned, the staff 's initial reservations and fears regarding the intro-
duction of new technology were perhaps the greatest obstacle to overcome in the CRM
implementation process. Once staff members were made aware of the benefits offered by
ACT!
particularly its potential for eliminating dull and time-consuming tasks these
Customer Relationship
Management
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ACT! 6.0
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