(note: This is Mitch’s first post as an actual “outsider.” Mitch left SugarCRM a couple weeks ago to pursue his passion for social media and helping others find their way though the web 2.0 maze. As Mitch strikes new ground on his own, I have invited him to share his thoughts and experiences here. Fortunately for us, Mitch will be continuing his relationship with SugarCRM, as he launches his new venture Comity Technology Advisors …)
I read all sorts of diverse articles, and yes, I do still like the feel of a hard copy magazine in my hands. I did spend yesterday trying desperately to convince myself of the need for an iPad – but that did not work. Sorry, going off on a tangent here. So, what exactly did I learn from my Gardener? (Gardener not Gartner) And, how in the world can I apply it to CRM, or further, a CRM implementation?
Plant a $5 shrub in a $10 hole
When I am not in front of a computer screen, (which seems to be a little too often) I long to use some of the handy skills, which my dad taught me when I was young. Build it, fix it, rinse and repeat. About as close as I come is reading my monthly issue of Popular Mechanics, looking at all the cool things I should be doing, or getting some advice on topics such as gardening. The inspiration for this post is the May 2010 issue, page 126 (yes, I bet it is online somewhere). The simple statement, in bold above, “Plant a $5 shrub in a $10 hole” really just sunk in (bad pun, sorry). The small blurb goes on to say: “In other words, your extra labor will be repaid with vigorous trees and shrubs.”
I hope that you, the reader are able to make the leap. If the focus is too heavily skewed towards technology and not the planning, requirements gathering, analysis, design and then implementation – not too mention people, culture, process changes and role changes – then how can you expect success in deploying a new system of any kind? Spend the time, up front figuring out what you need to do in order to make the project a success.
This is not only about something new
The article referenced above is not only about a new ‘hole’ for a new ‘plant’, it actually starts with a question about what to do if a plant does not seem to be doing well after a long hard winter. Hmmm, I wonder if I can get away with calling the economy we experienced during the past 2 years a ‘long hard winter’ – yeah, I think I can. So, in this scenario, do I just say ‘out with the old in with the new’? I am not only talking about CRM, I am talking about technology of nearly any type. Extending the metaphor just a little further, if I simply swap the plant, without checking the soil, making sure there is enough water, or proper drainage, putting in another plant will likely lead to the same end result.
Simply replacing technology with newer technology often seems like the easiest solution. But ask yourself, and your team, what is the real reason we need to do this? I have read from many highly respected sources, that technology is rarely the problem, it is properly preparing for the technology that is the problem. Again, I am not talking about net new here, I am talking about ‘rip and replace’ because of that new shiny object in the corner over there.