Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Things You Need To Know When Switching A Crm

CRM database migration is never an easy undertaking for any company, no matter what its size. Naturally it is always best if you thoroughly evaluate and choose the right application for you first. Then moving to new a customer relationship management application becomes unnecessary. But unforeseen things can happen and making the switch can become something that simply cannot be avoided.

One possible reason could be that your company's needs change. A new manager may recommend a system that he is more familiar with. Or the company may have outgrown the old system, requiring a CRM with greater functionality than the old one can provide.

There are many issues to consider when migrating from one CRM application to another. It is important to ensure that there is not system downtime. This can mean that both systems are running concurrently for a short duration while the switch over is made. The data migration needs to be properly monitored to ensure success with no need for data fixes required.

Even with the best attempts to get everything right you can still run into problems. For example, if you are currently running the latest version of ACT!? software, and you want to switch to another popular application, such as the GoldMine? software, you will discover all manner of difficulties. Transferring the complete calendar, history and customer information across will prove difficult at best, and because of restrictive measures built into the newer versions, impossible in some cases.

Contact management software like ACT!? and GoldMine? are desktop based. But web based systems fare no better in many cases. Extracting the full files with all the history information required, along with calendars and notes for your sales team, may prove equally impossible, or very difficult at least.

After years of using one CRM system, such as the GoldMine? software for example, it is likely that you will have made many customizations that are specific to you and members of the sales team. It may be the case that it is not possible to make the exact same customizations in the new application. Modifying customizations in the new system so that you have something similar to what you had in the old system may not be acceptable.

It is likely that staff members will require some degree of training before they are fully comfortable with using a new customer relationship management system, whether it be ACT!? or GoldMine?, or any of the other applications available. Proper training will reduce the need for tech support. Sometimes the changeover from an old familiar system to a new unfamiliar system needs more training than may be obvious. Old habits can die hard.

On the other hand, if your sales team are totally fed up using an outdated system, they may welcome a new one that has all the bells and whistles they have dreamed about, with open arms. This kind of staff attitude is likely to reduce any training time required.

If the task of database migration from one CRM system to another seems to be just too daunting, there are companies who specialize in these matters. One such company is CRM Switch. Really Simple Systems produce a free online guide outlining the 10 CRM pitfalls to avoid, which may help in getting it right first time.

Syed Ali, is the lead CRM consultant for a Toronto based company. His company offers, GoldMine CRM and ACT! Software CRM Syed can be reached at Tel : (905) 815- 1995 ext 22, email :asyed@cqsolutions.com


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