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March 18, 2016

Addressing challenges for CRM implementation in Public Sector

In my previous blog, I talked about key challenges which we faced while implementing CRM for public enterprises. The only way that we could successfully overcome these was by finding solutions to address them. As part of this blog, I wish to discuss key aspects which helped us overcome these challenges during the course of CRM implementation.

Since stakeholders in public sector enterprises are myriad, the strategy to manage them effectively is to address key concerns which each of them have. In our implementation, we identified the following direct stakeholders - Client IT team (including their architecture division), business users of our solution, interacting legacy systems and their resources, and obviously the finance team. There were indirect stakeholders as well for instance, end customers. The needs of these indirect stakeholders were automatically met if needs of internal stakeholders are effectively handled. 

Categorization done, what next?  The next step was to identify the key challenges and mitigation strategy for each stakeholder group. For instance, 'change management' was a key concern for business user community. A complete Organization Change management strategy was created to identify the impacted users, map the user roles to the system roles in order to prepare and train this user group. The business user community was continuously kept updated by showcasing application build (at key check points) and sharing proactive updates to build confidence, assuring them of new system meeting their requirements. Training documents were created and training sessions were conducted on key functionalities. Business SME's were identified as solution champions to help improve the adoption of the solution in the user community. 

From a complexity perspective, any public sector implementation is highly data intensive. Our CRM implementation was no different - complexity can be gauged by the fact that the planned solution was planned to replace an existing legacy system (built over a period of 20 long years!). One area was to identify key legacy systems - which fed information and others which queried information stored in application in order to provide real time 360 degree customer snapshot. Another piece was to classify and determine the best architectural approach for servicing complex business requirements. We implemented a business rule processing engine to process an intricate set of business rules and fetch requisite results. This rule processing engine churned close to 500 + rules on a daily basis. It also provided the flexibility to the business to modify their rules based on the changing environment, without having to depend on long IT cycles. 

As they say, game of cricket is not over till the last ball is bowled. We actually realized this when it was a last minute regulatory change which was mandatory to be incorporated for the successful project completion. (Not doing was not an option as it would have compromised the entire implementation). Though this led to marathon meetings, consultations and negotiations, we were able to finally push it through. How did we do that? It was by having a strong risk management framework along with having strong communication mechanism in place, which was successfully leveraged. Hence, for any implementation, it's critical to have risk identification and mechanism strategies. 

Challenges are always there, and with CRM projects in Public domain these are myriad. Success does not lie in circumventing these, but in leveraging the right strategy at the right time!