CRM Consolidation — Getting From CRM Siloes to Enterprise Wide CRM


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A common challenge of large and global companies is the consolidation of many separate and siloed CRM systems into a single, enterprise-wide CRM application. Many times large or decentralized organizations accumulate separate CRM systems via acquisitions or departmental initiatives. At some point in time, the organization desires to get everybody on the same application in order to get a single view of the customer, improve cross-departmental processes, share information and achieve economies of scale.

Having recently finished a CRM consolidation project, I wanted to share some recommendations and program governance measures that can aid this evolution.

  1. Begin with a master schema and business model templates. Decentralized organizations typically operate divisions, departments, geographies or other lines of business of varying scale and sophistication. Attempting to force fit a one size fits all CRM application will likely result in overkill for smaller business units and challenge user adoption. A governance program may instead lead with a master business model which permits child tenants of reduced or alternative feature sets. Another option is to offer small, medium or large business model templates so that each business unit operates from a common schema but can select the operational model best suited for their environment.

  2. Consider Master Data Management (MDM). According to Gartner, “CRM leaders must understand the benefits of the MDM discipline to CRM and make it part of their CRM strategy. MDM is critical to enabling CRM leaders to create the 360 degree view of the customer required for an optimized customer experience.” The analyst firm goes on to advise, “This single or 360 degree view of the customer requires that all the operational master data pertaining to the customer — and often to product and service as well — be combined from all of the data silos where it currently resides … This data is then checked and cleansed for duplicates while selecting the highest quality values across all data sources for each master data attribute. The result is a single version of the truth for the master data that can then be integrated in different ways with those remaining data elements specific to transactions and interactions in the operational systems.”

  3. Create a library and catalogue of common views, workflows, dashboards, reports and maybe even integrations and customizations. The goal here is twofold. First, to accelerate deployment tasks, and second, to achieve economies associated with repurposing the same effort multiple times. This later goal will continue to deliver cost savings in the forms of improved support services, reduced system administration and faster upgrades. Making your library social – via user comments, rankings and ratings – will democratize the library assets and achieve improved community participation.

  4. Consider a Center of Competency (COC) approach for the delivery of strategic services. For example, workflow automation and business intelligence are two areas which can deliver big results. However, these areas require focused practitioners, strong business analysts and deep technical knowledge. These factors may be reasons why so few CRM adopters capitalize on these opportunities.

  5. Apply a shared services model for technical services such as architecture frameworks, system integration and software customization. These services require thorough standards and highly technical staff. A central group can codify standards, best practices and support processes into a governance program in a way that repurposes these efforts and ensures the benefits reach the maximum number of users. For example, no need for every department to invest in security staffing, audits, tools and remediation practices. Let one central group make this investment and provide this service across the enterprise.

  6. A CRM governance body is needed to provide company direction, align potentially conflicting CRM objectives and apply disciplined evaluation criteria in order objectively find the balance between line of business and enterprise goals. While this group will vet technical recommendations from many different constituents, their decision criteria are based on decision trees which consider current and future business outcomes for both the requesting business unit and the organization. Many times these governance groups are committees composed of executive management and departmental leaders. End

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Chuck Schaeffer
Chuck is the North America Go-to-Market Leader for IBM's CRM and ERP consulting practice. He is also enjoys contributing to his blog at


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