So many problems with CRM end-user adoption

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on December 24, 2002

Even among the most prominent companies using CRM, some 47% report serious difficulties with end-user adoption, often putting projects in jeopardy, according to the latest AMR Research report, 'CRM: Inflicting Pain or Profit?'.

The study examines the most common reasons why many customer relationship management (CRM) implementations fail. Most often, according to the report, companies bought CRM to meet corporate needs but failed to take the needs of the end-user into account. By 'end user', AMR refers to employees, business partners, and customers.

The study revealed that, in order to make CRM work, a balance between corporate and end-user goals must exist. "Our analysis concludes that corporations can only achieve benefits from CRM software if end-users see an application as a blessing rather than a curse," explained Joanie Rufo, AMR's research director of customer management strategies.

Adoption issues
When companies overcome (or, better still, find ways of avoiding) end-user adoption problems, they can be very successful with their deployments. The report asserts that those planning to implement CRM should plan their systems from the individual end-user upward, and vendors should take more responsibility for what could be seen as CRM's biggest challenge.

Key findings
AMR's study is a compilation of 80 interviews with flagship reference clients of 12 major CRM vendors. The analysis shows that CRM implementations that don't make daily tasks more productive for individuals will not create significant corporate benefits. The four most common root causes of end-user adoption problems included:

  1. No perceived benefit: The most regularly reported inhibitor occurs when end-users can continue to perform their job and still meet their goals and objectives without ever touching the system.
  2. Fear of replacement: From the employee's perspective, putting working knowledge into the system makes them less valuable to the company and augments their fear of being easily replaced in the future.
  3. Board level commitment: Another root cause is the lack of executive-level commitment throughout the software's life with the company.
  4. No user buy-in: Companies experience a number of serious problems when they introduce business process changes with the software without first getting end user buy-in.

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