CRM Consultants Focusing More on Process, Less on Technology

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Just last week I wrote about a convergence of CRM and business process management, based on the idea that even the latest and greatest CRM technology won't amount to much without the right processes to support it.


(I suspect this is true for just about any tech-oriented acronym out there -- BI, ERP, et al -- but especially so for one with the kind of convoluted workflows commonly found in CRM systems.)


So I was interested to see a destinationCRM.com article about a "new breed" of CRM consultant, one who focuses less on system implementation and other technological aspects and more on the processes involved in creating and maintaining successful customer relationships. Says Woody Driggs, managing director of Accenture's CRM service line:

Whether it's SaaS or a niche application or a large [enterprise resource planning] module, you have to figure out how that fits into your current technology environment--into current data, into the overall process and operating model environment. The key message is that when you're implementing these technologies, you've got to think about all three of those pieces.

Another consultant interviewed in the article, Jodi Cicci of Top Step Consulting, says before ever looking at a company's CRM technology, she meets with executives to find out how employees spend their time. She focuses more on topics like employee training and less on technical specifications.


One reason for the shift is the growing popularity of software-as-a-service (SaaS), which cuts installation times from months to weeks. With less revenue coming in from system configuration and customization, consultants are focusing more on helping clients with the operational shifts that may be needed to accommodate a SaaS model.


Says Matthew Goldman, a Gartner VP:

I think where a buyer used to look at consulting to understand the technology and make it fit, now [consulting provides the] buyer an understanding of how it fits.