CRM: A Necessary Evil or Simply Defining Risk Management vs. ROI?

I spoke with a customer today that referred to CRM as a “necessary evil” and that expects they’re recent implementation to provide them with a “global tool that will enable our sales force to coordinate,” but outside of that, no other return on investment…at least not for the foreseeable future.


The conversation, which summarized their migration to a new CRM and ERP system, seemed to highlight a trend you still see taking place in the market today: failing to fully understand the business case and risk assessment associated with implementing any type of new mission-critical application.

Any business endeavor is a risk; CRM is no exception. Determining whether your project carries more risk than the organization can bear is critical, regardless of the system you decide to implement. That said, I don’t necessarily think that the optimum investment may not necessarily be the project with the least risk.

Determining this helps serves as a tool to drive the business case by identifying and quantifying the benefits and costs for purchasing a system. In addition, I think it also helps to define the initial scope of the project so those first steps of the implementation don’t result in the company biting off more than they can chew, and thus becoming overwhelmed with too many options.

In the end, it should ensure thoroughness in investing in the optimal solution.