“The major trend that I see is platform providers are moving from a system of record to a system of intelligence,” he said. “That reprocessing of data collected from various touch points to try and make some kind of actionable insight . . . [and] CRM has an advantage of being a system of action."
“A good part of the implementation planning that we would do around the client would be time to value and putting a road map together about releasing that value that the business can cope with. Things like personal impact and organisational change as well as the technical, to potentially upgrade dependencies across the organisation so that release planning is critical.”
Much of what Ryan and his department do — and everyone else in this article too — is to ensure that these platforms can deliver the best value to organisations without overwhelming them. A potential problem is that you start off getting one piece of the puzzle and then eventually end up with numerous different pieces that don’t connect with each other.
The majority of major CRMs avoid that by letting you scale up or down and for the most part, it makes more sense to go down that route, as the needs of a business will grow and change over time.
“Traditionally, those individual silos systems with lots of even manual or integration required to pull everything together,” he said.
“The obvious choice is to pick one of those mega platforms and if we’re talking about Microsoft, you’re talking about an Office 365 foundation rollout which means your identity is looked after, ability to secure your organisation’s data and make sure that security is all looked after. Then you got your office suite where all your clients are operating on the latest version of everything.”
That one eye on the future approach isn’t just general advice, it’s now part and parcel of any major business decision. Ryan usually advises clients to “be a fast follower,” that is keeping an eye on new developments and recognising the beats in which releases and updates appear.
Most companies like Microsoft have roadmaps telling customers what they’re working on and when these changes will arrive. The likelihood that they will be perfect from day one is generally unrealistic, but using it early can help you become accustomed to it and be prepared for when said changes become the norm.
Other pieces of advice from Ryan are more straightforward, like considering cloud as “it would be a retrograde and poor strategy to go on-premise anymore”, but in terms of data security he’s confident in Microsoft’s security measures.
“Data security is not an issue, in fact it’s more secure on Microsoft’s cloud than your own . . . hosted services,” he said.
“In terms of physical security and access, backups and high availability, that’s all taken care of so that question is dead now, that risk is dead now, it’s been proven by Microsoft’s uptime and service.”
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