Process Reengineering and CRM Projects

Data Management |

A key question that we are asked by our customers on many of our projects is "what is the best approach to our business processes?"

Another take on this is the phrase "this is not a CRM Implementation Project, it is a Business Change Project", which is sound advice, but what does this phrase mean in practical terms (in the context of business processes)?

A CRM project is an opportunity to make improvements to business processes that might have been constrained by IT systems or organisational structures, or have just "evolved" into their current form.

Examples of Reengineering Improvements

One organisation I worked with took the opportunity of their CRM project to change the membership qualification part of their application process from a manual assessment of CVs by staff to a capability and experience based scoring approach completed by the applicant and applied automatically.

Introducing CRM often means that the system is used much more widely, so there are opportunities for "task completion" - the person who makes a decision can actually make the changes in the system, rather than notifying someone in another department (i.e. a user of the previous system) to make the changes.

Workflow can be used to automate parts of processes - automated responses for example.

"Register your interest" steps in a process can be removed - just allow the application to be made there and then.

Introducing CRM together with website self-service gives a number of process reengineering benefits: 

  • Members want the immediacy of being able to access self-service 24/7
  • Administrative effort is saved
  • Data quality is improved
  • Online payment ensures that transactions are completed - no waiting for the cheque in the post and chasing payments

How to make the changes - The Silverbear FitGap Approach

SBMembership is based on best practice across our numerous customers and we have developed our industry-leading "FitGap" process to provide a clear, controlled approach to defining our projects. A key component of FitGap is the approach to business processes:

  1. Understand where core SBMembership best practice processes can be utilised - the FIT
  2. Understand where configuration of core SBMembership processes can meet the needs of the organisation - the Configuration GAP
  3. Define where new processes are needed to meet the needs of the organisation - the Development GAP

The job of our experienced Business Consultants in carrying out the above is to facilitate the discussion of: where it is sensible to change current business processes into a FIT; where configuration is appropriate; and where new processes are needed for the specific needs of a customer's processes.


I've come across a number of examples of organisations in danger of compromising the opportunities for reengineering or the project as a whole, mainly at the tendering stage (and mainly from my experience prior to Silverbear):

  • Specifying current (paper) processes - some organisations provide very detailed of "as is" processes as part of their invitation to tender, in an attempt to ensure completeness. This poses the danger of replacing the old with exactly the same in the new and completely missing out on the opportunities.
  • Open ended projects - the potential opposite, of having an open-ended incremental "discover and implement" approach to the project is also dangerous as the organisation will not know the likely cost of the new system until all the areas have been tackled.
Category: CEO & Board