Tuesday, June 07, 2011

It's not the technology that's difficult, it's Everything Else

for Ally

I recently visited a comparatively small charity who wanted to extend the use of their fundraising database beyond the fundraising and marketing department. It soon became clear from our meeting that there was no problem with the technology in terms of doing that, they have a good fundraising package and it can certainly manage the other departments’ requirements.

But what was also evident quite quickly was that the main problems with the project would be the non-technology aspects: some objections from other people, training, data migration, standardising codes and terminology, adjusting business processes, finance flows, data protection, the time it would take other departments to enter what they saw as less useful data, record ownership, user licenses, ensuring new users attend workshops, planning future communications, budget… and so on and so on.

All of which just went to re-enforce my understanding and belief about all such CRM implementations in that the technology is the simpler part and the People, Processes and Everything Else is always the challenge. (NB: I’m not saying technology is necessarily simple, just simpler…).

This is of course what I have been banging on about recently to anyone who will listen (and, as anyone who knows me will testify, I can go on a bit…!) and my apologies if I am starting to sound like a broken record. But I hope that if I keep doing so, then even if just a few organisations who read this take on board the message and thus plan their future database and CRM implementations with this in mind, then that will make me feel much happier.


Paul Morriss said...

You mean that we can't solve all our problems with technology? What hope is there! I skimmed your ebook, but I can't remember if you mentioned Social Worker skills in there.

Anne Skinner said...

Very True!
Though technology can be a minefield at times, it can pale into insignificance compared with the issues involved in keeping the people using it happy.
The best database in the world is unlikely to be a success if all the relevant people and departments using it aren't willing to "buy in" to its use. And the biggest reasons for and against buying tend to relate just as much (if not more) to whether established hierarchies and working methodologies will be challenged or changed by the new database than to any specific features and capabilities that database may have.
Whatever the gods of computing might like us to believe, IT in any shape or form can only ever really work really effectively for an organisation if the people involved are willing to work with it.