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CRM in HE: Getting Best Value From General-purpose CRM

Staff in HE whose job responsibilities are of a relationship or service type need to have CRM (Customer Relationship Management) that supports the way they work. Because no one CRM product can be ‘all things to all people’ we believe it’s time for a change. Now university-wide CRM success must be built on choice.  Some universities are now referring to this as a Mixed Estate CRM strategy. Greater understanding of relationship transactions, job roles, and performance enhancing system functions must now drive CRM implementation planning.

People who need an intuitive ‘enabling-type’ CRM like Maximizer are likely to have greater personal discretion and broader job scope, but are probably not IT process-driven.  In these jobs, ease-of-use, flexibility and responsiveness have advantages over heavyweight process-focussed CRM designs. Easy compatibility with Outlook is vital, with user-specified dashboards, as is support for commitment management, to-do lists, and appointments, linking to notes/documents and making information easily shareable. Maximizer is really an integrated office-working support system that people find empowering rather than the conventional, process-driven call-centre way of working.

Maximizer’s general purpose suitability is ideal for Public Relations, Marketing, Business community selling training and consultancy programmes to the wider business community, student job placement, research project sales, recruitment, secondary education Outreach, Alumni, fund-raising and many more areas. Proof of its acceptability within HE can be taken from the StudentRelate Maximizer success in Student Services in 20 Universities.

Implementing Maximizer is quick and truly user-driven in a way that programmed-process CRM’s can never be. Solutions are built as prototypes which are then reshaped by users. Keeping view screens, process and reports up to date is an Excel-type skill so the department with its Applications Administrator has the skill to evolve the system as requirements change. They become more agile with self-sufficient CRM.

By contrast Heavy-weight CRM’s need custom-written software to implement the new ways of working. This is expensive and time consuming. Communication problems between business systems analysts and users, and between BS Analysts and software developers/programmers is human and ‘normal’ in new software development. The cycle (left) may need to be repeated 3-4 times before the correct solution is arrived at. Imperfect software deliveries and re-writes disappoint and frustrate users working under pressure.

For smaller teams, the cost of customisation may never be recovered by the anticipated productivity gain. Maximizer offers a fundamentally different, low cost, rapid deployment option. The Maximizer solutions however complement large CRM deployments through integration at the database level. Choose programmed-process interfaces for heavyweight data jobs (eg Oracle, Dynamics etc.) and enabling CRM from Maximizer Hybrid solutions to support CRM supports people; people create value.

Independent consultants have been reporting for some years that roughly a quarter to a third of administration staff with relationship-type jobs can’t get on with the CRM systems that have been chosen for them. These are primarily ‘programmed-process’ type CRM’s implemented by business systems experts. Users just know when systems make them less effective in their jobs. They complain but within a user group ‘settling in’ process their concerns are not resolved. If the problem wastes precious time or for example, results in providing poor quality service to students they become frustrated. Within a Single-Estate CRM deployment however, IT has no flexibility to meet their needs.    The purpose of this page is to encourage you to explore how a different type of user interface complements programmed-process CRM deployments and helps IT do a better job for the university at large. If you see the symptoms we describe above contact us and tell us how you work.

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