Capability: ‘A capacity, ability or talent that has significant potential for development or use’
The basis of many of my recommendations to clients in establishing an xRM Strategy is firmly themed upon the positioning of XRM within an organisation as a capability and not a project or software application. I believe that this fundamental change in mindset is necessary to fully exploit the benefits that xRM can bring to an organisation and to establish a suitable framework for its support.
In treating xRM as a capability it is strategically positioned in a way that removes the common project and application level boundaries and limitations. Two common mistakes in the management of xRM within an organisation are to classify and therefore resource and fund xRM as a project or as a software application.
If defined as a project, xRM will always be restricted in its scope, resourcing and allocated funding. All of which will result in customer relationship management being delivered in an ad-hoc fashion and laid on top of an organisations operations rather than embedded into them. Treating xRM as a project will also limit the efficiencies that can be gained in the development of common or reusable components as each piece of work will be bounded by its required functionality and will not consider its application elsewhere. Resourcing levels are another item that is limited within a project framework as they are generally limited to the achievement of the projects scope and not the exploitation of the capability from an enterprise level.
The mindset of project work by definition does not cater for ‘business as usual’ operations, which should be the end goal of any xRM strategy and as such will never assist an organisation in making xRM a core competency of it’s business.
Similarly, the categorisation of xRM as a software implementation is another common mistake. This approach sends the wrong message to the business areas of the organisation and reinforces a technical supplier style relationship rather than one of collaborative working. As can be seen within the xRM maturity model (which I will cover in a later post) those steps that are technical in nature are only a portion of the overall lifecycle and shouldn’t be given additional emphasis. This approach also usually sees funding become an IT function, which can adversely impact the business case justification process.
Capabilities, on the other hand, span both the business and technical areas of an organisation and bring with it ‘enterprise-level’ support and commitment. This approach ensures that the strategic framework under which xRM operates can combine the delivery of targeted implementations and the integration of xRM practices into an organisation’s core business. By not limiting the scope of xRM it ensures that resourcing can be applied in the correct areas (and change over time as required), and that a suitable funding model is applied that supports xRM under both the initial implementation and ‘business as usual’.