Bite-Size CRM Staff

Updated · May 14, 2001

With the CRM market rapidly burgeoning many companies are implementing large and costly CRM packages – some, however, are finding that it's better to start small.

The market for CRM is estimated to reach $20.4 billion this year alone and the Meta Group forecasts that it will grow to $46 billion by 2003. Such explosive growth reflects a dire need for CRM solutions and vendors are cashing-in on this want by hyping instant large-scale CRM rollouts.

Vendors like Siebel and Oracle are offering hefty CRM rollouts that promise to provide seamless legacy system integration and increase the corporate bottom line. Instant solutions that offer to boost revenues and keep track of customers may be tempting, but at $70 million plus, companies can't afford to take any chances.
The fact is that only a fraction of the cost lies with the software – hardware expenses, software customizations, application integration and training frequently make up the bulk of CRM costs.

While vendors are lauding the ‘instant benefits' of large CRM investments, many consultants and industry experts are advising companies to start off with small with CRM pilot projects and proceed cautiously until they have a clear CRM road map into the future. "We don't do anything unless there is a pilot project … we're completing our CRM project in bite-size pieces," notes Evelyn Follit, CIO and senior vice president at RadioShack.

"CRM is not for the weak spirited … it requires a lot of management and money," cautioned Ned Liddell, vice president for business applications development at Liddell warns that companies need to exercise diligence when choosing a CRM package – conducting careful research and putting together a close-knit team of internal and external experts. "The more complex these solutions are, the greater the risk," he warns.

Ultimately, the caveat is: ‘beware those who promise instant solutions in a package.' One of the sad illusions of the new economy is that things happen effortlessly and overnight. Nonetheless it still takes good old-fashioned hard work to make things happen in due course – and it's no different when implementing a CRM solution. At the end of the day it may be better to start small and work your way up than to risk millions on a single solution that may very well go awry.

"Above all – don't just accept sales and marketing pitches from vendors," warns Liddell.

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