Forrester Research's Five Best Practices for Mobile CRM
Forrester Research VP, Principal Analyst William Band, believes that mobile CRM has reached a tipping point for most enterprises as smartphones and tablets continue to flood into the hands of employees as their dominant mode of communications. The challenge, as Band and his supporting researchers state in their just released report, “Best Practices: The Right Way to Implement Mobile CRM,” is that many companies have no mobile CRM best practices in place to deal with creating order out of what increasingly is a chaotic situation.
The report states that we are dealing with a tsunami of personal devices that employees wish to use and have supported at work. However, in most organizations it is still unclear:
- What the business value of such use may or may not be.
- Who is in control of mobile CRM implementations -- IT or CRM managers -- and thus who can and/or will make critical decisions about the devices and apps that should be supported.
- How to reign in employee use of their personal devices when they feel the devices already make them more efficient and effective and the company is just going to have to play catch up.
The summary of the report frames the issues.
“Business process pros that support customer-facing employees agree: The primary value of mobile customer relationship management (CRM) is the ability to access and update business-critical information while employees are on the move. But three corporate constituencies — IT executives, business decision-makers, and employees — each have specific and sometimes conflicting goals and requirements driving their mobile device and application initiatives.”
Based on interviews with business and IT professionals, CRM solution vendors and professional services organizations, the report defines five key mobile CRM best-practice strategies and describes more than 50 tactics to make them stick.
Band and his associates at Forrester (News - Alert) recommend five best practices which can help managers avoid common problems as they shape their organization’s mobile CRM strategy — something not surprisingly (point #3) Forrester thinks needs to be done now rather than later. The five are:
1. Understand users' roles and needs. Forrester says to start with identification of different user environments and determine the type and level of support they need. As cited in a SearchCRM.com article, report contributor Jeffrey Hammond says, “Often, companies don’t do this homework and don’t study how people work.” The bottom line is, one size does not fit all circumstances and picking inappropriate technology can be costly on a multitude of fronts.
2. Determine business objectives. It may seem obvious, but Forrester advocates ensuring that the addition of new mobile CRM functions passes the litmus test of helping meet business goals. Just because something can be supported does not mean it should be if it does not improve a worker’s productivity or help streamline a process.
3. Define the mobile CRM strategy. Band recommends the mobile CRM strategy align with the overall corporate mobile strategy. However, as he notes, “It could be a chicken-and-the-egg thing, but CRM could drive the use case for mobile computing.” He and Hammond also believe that if a company has no overall strategy, or is developing one, this is a great opportunity for CRM managers to help lead the way and build better bridges with IT.
4. Choose the right technology. On the practical front, Forrester recommends a comprehensive assessment of the demands new mobile technology will put on network and computing resources, and on how this may impact the ways IT services the needs of different groups in terms of speeds, feeds, security (authentication and administration), synchronization, types of access, integration with existing CRM solutions, etc.
5. Follow the correct implementation approach. The recommendation here is, use tested project management techniques to assure a smooth implementation including making sure there is an executive sponsor.
As pointed out in a recent article on Alcatel-Lucent’s (News - Alert) Genesys organizations strategic initiative to transform mobile customer engagement, the introduction of mobility to all aspects of CRM —from the enterprise operations side of things to how the customer experience is improved —is a critical component of future sales and marketing success for enterprises. Forrester is correct in saying we are at a tipping point, and that it is time to not just act but do so in a reasoned and systematic way.
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Peter Bernstein is a technology industry veteran, having worked in multiple capacities with several of the industry's biggest brands, including Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, Telcordia (News - Alert), HP, Siemens, Nortel, France Telecom, and others, and having served on the Advisory Boards of 15 technology startups. To read more of Peter's work, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves