Budget blowout has almost become the norm in IT projects. Why?
There are many ways that the costs for a project such as CRM grow to well beyond what is expected. Perhaps as many as 80% of CRM projects go over budget – why? [Although this article is about CRM, the content is true for many other types of projects.]
Chinese Whispers is a game popular in primary schools, where people pass a message from one to another along a line by whispering into their neighbour's ear, and see how it has changed at the end. Regardless of how enthusiastic they are, a hearing impaired person is unlikely to be invited to the Chinese Whispers team. This may not be fair, but it is reality.
|A well known, although probably apocryphal, example of this comes from the First World War, when soldiers at the front line sent a message to the control area. The original message was "send reinforcements, we are going to advance". The message received was "send three and four pence, we are going to a dance".|
Put like this, it is obvious. So why then do we run some of our mission critical business projects with the equivalent of a deaf mute in the key position in the Chinese Whispers team?
Playing snakes and ladders can be fun, especially when you find and race up all the ladders; but when you seem to find all the lurking snakes, the fun will not seem fun for long. At least in the world of the children's games, you can put it down to the luck of the dice. In the real world, it can be even more frustrating, and usually there is no dice to blame.
Implementing CRM into a business is not easy. However, there are things that you can do that will make the project easier, bringing you closer to a successful conclusion (ladders), and equally, things that you can do that will make it harder making it less likely that you will meet your business needs on time and on budget (snakes).
CRM projects are only partially about technology. They key to a successful project is to be aware of all of the components:
CRM projects also require a different paradigm – one not focussed on development, but on delivering a solution. The vast majority of projects start from one of the established CRM technologies, so the project is not about developing a CRM solution from scratch, but about configuring the selected software so it meets the business needs well. This means focussing on the gap between the features that the selected technology offers and the business requirements, rather than developing from scratch. To achieve this, your team need to know what is available out of the box, and design the solution accordingly.
Below I will show some of the key ways to ensure success, i.e. to climb the ladders, and I will help you identify the lurking snakes, i.e. the quick routes to failure.
I am currently working on helping one of the Australian Government departments implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016. One of the requirements is that the project should be fully WCAG 2.0 compliant. This was new to me and I struggled to find any particularly useful information, so I set about writing this article. This article is a composite of material about WCAG, general accessibility and Microsoft Dynamics CRM as well as some results from our project.
One of the requirements for this implementation of Microsoft CRM is that we use no code, (other than for integration with the external data) and only use configuration in meeting the CRM requirements. The department in question has also elected to use Microsoft CRM Online for the project, which introduces some additional complexities. I blogged about some of challenges specific to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online here. and more recently with a stronger focus on licencing here.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is still one of the few true CRM technologies that is available both on premise and in public cloud – CRM Online. It can also be provided in a private cloud by hosting partners or if you already use a data centre.
The functionality of the two versions: - Online and On-Premise is very similar. The differences are in the licencing options and a few technical differences caused by how it is hosted.
Contrary to how it sounds, the on-premise version can also be hosted in a data centre, i.e. it can be private cloud. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can also run in the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Hosting partners, including Opsis offer Microsoft CRM as a public cloud offering and / or as Private Cloud.
That you do not have to purchase Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, because you need, or prefer, your Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the cloud, still causes confusion to some of our prospects.
Many people will know that the elephant and the hippo are both pachyderms – large animals with thick skins. Both will cause chaos if you let them get out of control.
This article is not about animals, but about derailers that can destroy your project – the HiPPO and the Elephant. The elephant and the HiPPO are capable of working together, using their weight, to wreck your project.
The HiPPO is the highest paid person's opinion – masked as expertise. The elephant is the elephant in the room - the need for communication, understanding and training, throughout and all across the project. The risk to you is that the elephant forces you to follow the HiPPO, even when he is not acting in your best interests.
Opsis is an expert Microsoft Dynamics 365 consulting company. Our focus is your Microsoft Dynamics 365 success - not licence sales or billable hours. As Principal Consultant, Gill oversees all business operations and strategic planning and execution, yet she still believes in offering personal attention to each and every client, so as to understand their needs and offer tailored solutions. We are based in Sydney, with clients in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and across Australia. We offer Microsoft Dynamics 365 strategy, Microsoft Dynamics 365 scoping, Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 technical support, Microsoft Dynamics 365 advice and guidance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 training and mentoring.