A BUSINESS CASE FOR MOBILE CRM
OBJECTIVES OF THIS ARTICLE
At the end of this lesson, readers should be able to:
Discuss how a business case can be built for mobile CRM
Discuss the elements of a good business case.
Here, I will be using Oracle software as a service (saas) as an example with CRM on Demand and sags CRM, it all about actual business results. Purchasing a CRM application as an on-demand service should motivate both the buyer and seller to maximize quantifiable business improvements. The extent to which customers gain business value from saas CRM applications drives their level of usage. In turn, the level of usage determines the success of the provider. This is a welcome change from the traditional on-site license model, in which the upfront costs led both parties to put significant effort into justifying the investment while doing little after deployment to measure and improve results.
NOTE: ROI is still important, but focus on actual business results.
When purchasing saas or on-demand CRM, companies should complete an ROI analysis.
However, a greater portion of their efforts should be focused on measuring and improving the actual value enabled. It is also important to continually assess results.
Determining how much the service should be used in the future. Is part of this ongoing process of accessing and improving actual results.
Companies should ask the following questions when considering investing in a CRM on demand or saas application.
- What business goals will the application address? Is it meant to increase revenue by improving the effectiveness of generating new business and /or add on sales; reducing costs by improving the efficiency of marketing, sales and/or service processes; improving IT cost-effectiveness by reducing the cost of supporting a CRM application?
- How will the actual results be measured? This has to do with calculating revenue per representative, marketing/sales cost per order, revenue/ margin per account, CRM solution cost per customer among others.
- What improvements do you expect from using the application and how do they impact the bottom line? Note: The focus should be on the value of the application (The ROFROI), not merely the fact that the cost is reduced (the I of ROI), a serious shortcoming with many saas CRM business justification.
- Does the expected quantifiable benefit justify the total internal and external costs of using the saas for at least one year, including costs to terminate usage or transition to another service provider? Note: The cost used to assess the investment should include expenses related to making changes to business processes, skills roles/responsibilities and the incentives needed to achieve the expected results.
- Who in the organization will be accountable for each of the major expected improvement? Note: Senior business managers should be accountable for expected improvements in revenue and business costs. Senior IT managers should be accountable for improvements in IT cost-effectiveness. Lack of accountability is another major shortcoming of CRM initiatives.
- What additional metrics, such as leading indicators and drill down comparisons, can managers use to identify and address the issues that will inevitably arise?
QUESTION TO ASK VENDORS
- Besides the standard implementation and technical support, how will you help maximize the business results? That is business oriented training and support, proactive communication and assistance, providing updated/best practices/templates, active community of other users.
- Based on your experience work with similar customers, what business, metrics, reports and dashboards will be useful for us to track?.
- How does your application help to track and improve business results e.g. dashboards, results, analysis compatibility?
These answers given by the vendor to these questions will help to
- Determine whether the investment in the application is justifiable.
- It will also help the organization to select the appropriate service provider.
The vendor should also set up the metrics, dashboards and processes for measuring and continuously improving the actual value the application is implemented.
ELEMENTS OF A GOOD BUSINESS CASE
A solid business case is a must to secure resources allocation of operating funds or capital investment in any project, especially when pursuing a new product opportunity, new capacity, or major product extension.
There are a number of critical elements to consider when formulating a business case.
Good business planning forces you to think through all the critical elements of your product strategy. The problem is that taking several weeks or months to write a big document largely based on non-validated assumptions and guesswork is a waste of time. According to Steve Blank, he said a business plan is a document investor make you write that they don’t read”.
We need a more lean and systematic way to approach crafting product strategy and constructing business cases something that: Captures our vision, yet forces us to think through all the most important elements of any product strategy.
(1) SCENARIO ANALYSIS
When working to build a Great Business case, research must be conducted and reasonable, an educated assumption must be defined in order to clearly present the anticipated project benefits. While some factual, real data may be known. This might include a number of employees, allowances must be made for variation or uncertainty.
This awareness of not only the “most likely” results but also the “best case” and “worst case” scenarios is a crucial element in creating a compelling business case.
(2) CLEARLY DEFINE “CAUSE” AND EFFECT.
Failure to clearly link and explain how each feature or characteristic of the project contributes to a specific operational effect can potentially sabotage what otherwise could have been a great business case. If the business case reviewer, such as the CEO questions the purpose or inclusion of a particular benefit, the business case builder must be able to justify its cause and efforts and how it affects the company’s bottom line.
(3) KEY PERFORMANCE INDEX (KPI).
The KPI is that factor in any given benefit, whose data ultimately demonstrates the resultant impact from the potential project. There are several factors that are used to construct a specific benefit formula; If not clearly defined, the KPI can quickly become lost in the assumptions used in the formula if anyone benefits.
Identifying which factor measures the success of a particular benefit is crucial to the understanding and acceptance of a business case. Without clearly defined KPIs, executives will not have the ability to determine the validity of a specific benefit or measure the progress of an implemented initiative.
(4) ASSES THE ECONOMIC RISK OF NO INVESTMENT
Often overlooked, but just as critical is the “Risk of No Investment outcome. If the investment is not made what could happen to the company’s bottom line? Could the company case customers? Or market share? Could some future costs be avoided if the investment is made today?
To clearly explain all the potential risks associated with any given project, a great business case must not only include the possible risks of moving forward but must also consider the economic risks of not investing.
(5) ALIGNMENT WITH COMPANY’S STRATEGIC GOALS.
A good business case provides a justification of a particular initiative or solution, often resulting in a positive ROI. A project with a high ROI is great, but it is not a complete business case justification if the proposed solution does not align with the company’s strategic goals. In order for a potential project to be deemed “visible” by a decision-making executive, it must be aligned with the company’s strategic business and technological goals.
At the end of this lesson, we have been able to discover that:
- Oracle software operates on “pay as you use” basis.
- An organization must calculate its Return on Investment before they go for any software implementation project.
- Some of the questions that an organization needs to ask themselves when considering investment in CRM on Demand: What business goal will the application address? How will the result be measured? What improvement are you expecting among others?
- You have to ask your vendor: how they will provide support, their experience about the software, how does the application help to track business results.
- Elements of a good business case include: Scenario Analysis, clearly defined cause and effect, a key performance indicator, know the economic risk of not investing, and alignment with the organization’s strategic objective.