Definitions of Project Success in Implementation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Information Technology (IT) Solutions: Perspectives of Consultants from India †

By Mukerjee, Hory Sankar; Prasad, U. Devi | South Asian Journal of Management, October-December 2017 | Go to article overview

Definitions of Project Success in Implementation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Information Technology (IT) Solutions: Perspectives of Consultants from India †


Mukerjee, Hory Sankar, Prasad, U. Devi, South Asian Journal of Management


INTRODUCTION

Relationship Marketing is not new in business. Evidences of building relationships in the 16th century is available from the times of silk route trades (Sheth and Parvatiyar, 1995) although in academics its usage is new. Ryals and Payne (2001) explained Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as a philosophy to manage relations with customers and other stakeholders associated with an organization, focused on customer retention, identification and selection with the enablement of technology to deliver value. CRM therefore is an extension of relationship marketing primarily focused on customers. It leverages information technology. Palmatier (2008), explains 'relationship marketing' as the physics of relationships and CRM as the application of it. However the use of technology in CRM is not well understood and organizations today are using some form of CRM, with or without the aid of technology (Payne and Frow, 2006).

There are definite reasons why CRM is of a great research and business interest. CRM helps improve sales revenue, customer satisfaction, customer retention rates, process accuracy, provides a better understanding of the customer base and of the cost to maintain a customer (Rogers, Stone and Foss, 2008). CRM projects have yielded direct as well as indirect benefits as some studies indicate (Ang and Buttle, 2002; and Klie, 2012). In spite of its importance, failures rates are high. Kale (2004) estimates 60 to 80% of the CRM projects do not reach their objectives. A study by Gartner revealed that over 50% were failure (Kale, 2004; and Foss, Stone and Ekinci, 2008).

The failures are mix of multiple factors. According to researchers, the definition of CRM is evolving and complex, with over 600 technology product vendors' available, stakeholders having various perspectives and confusing sales pitch of the vendors (Plouffe, Williams and Leigh, 2004; and Hart, 2006). The confusion can be summed up like this: "If you were to put 10 people in a room and ask them to define CRM, you will get 12 different definitions" (Campbell and Roberts, 2007). Other reasons for failure have been studied (Goodhue, Wixom, and Watson, 2002; Nguyen, Sherif and Newby, 2007; Chalmeta, 2006; Kale, 2004; Forsyth, 2001; Rigby, Reichheld and Schefter, 2002).

CRM implementations can never be successful without top management support, employees and the support of stakeholders. Time, resources, setting up of a steering committee, data availability, reengineering of the processes, selection of the technology, hiring of consultants and the final implementation of the technology is a long process. All of these processes have long gestation period and needs the support from every corner. The IT consultants may face challenges in every part of their activity including their internal project management activity or management of the client organizations or technology vendors (Chen and Popovich, 2003; Van Bentum and Stone, 2005; Nguyen, Sherif and Newby, 2007; and Prasongsukarn, 2009).

For the IT consultant, project management is the key. The project needs to be run, like any other IT solution implementation projects. Therefore the success of the implementation and having a satisfied customer is essential. Definitions of project success have been changing over time and have different meanings for different stakeholders.

The need for this study arises primarily on the following account. First, the role played by IT consultants are key and therefore it would not be inadequate to look at what parameters they would use in selecting the CRM solutions and what project success would mean to them. Secondly, there are no rules to measure project success. Successful project is not a default condition, neither it is when a project meets the time, budget and cost deadlines. It has been frequently seen that projects which do not meet the deadlines turn out to be more successful, and projects which meet deadlines fail to be successful. …

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