In CRM software, cost control is impulse control

David Taber

All those items are along the lines of "extra work, extra pain." It's important that these not be sloughed off as some poor schlub's uncompensated duty. Wishing costs away or hiding them yields bad decisions and burned-out workers.

CRM Software's Ends Must Justify the Means
There's another dimension to requirements: Their value to the business. Ease of use is important to user satisfaction, but it's hard to convince Wall Street that making it easier for your employees will be worth a penny of earnings. Guide the conversation toward the consequences of the new features. These include the following:

  • Will there be a measurable increase in revenues?
  • Will there be a measurable decrease in costs?
  • Will there be a measurable improvement in customer loyalty — something beyond just "better customer experience?" Will customers have an propensity to renew or repurchase?
  • What internal decisions will be made better or faster as a consequence of these new features? What decision or process will actually have a different, and more profitable, result?

The business benefit will justify the expenditure, and measurability is the acid test for bogus requirements. If you work with sales, you can even use the ultimate Poison Dart: Have the department estimate how much improvement its requested new features will enable, then have the CFO ask to raise the quota by that amount. You won't make many friends, but the bogosity will instantly recede into the shadows.

Let the person who claims to need the new feature be the one who bears the initial cost of creating and testing the feature; the ongoing effort of inputting, validating and maintaining the data, and the time involved to get everyone trained and happy with the changes.

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