Even though most companies claim ROI is a top priority, the majority of enterprises implementing CRM applications are still unable to point to concrete returns.
According to new research by AMR Research, only 43 per cent of companies that recently deployed CRM systems claimed business benefits. The problem is compounded by the fact that many companies choose to measure benefits in so called "soft" returns, such as painless implementation, rather in hard return terms, such as cost savings or increases in revenues.
AMR's conclusions are based on a survey in which it asked companies that recently had implemented CRM software whether or not their investments yielded real business benefits and ROI. Over 40 per cent claimed that they did, but when questioned further only half of that number could provide specific measurements on which to base this claim. Around 30 per cent of the respondents said either that it was too early to report on whether they had seen any ROI or that they were unsure.
The research firm urges companies to examine the use of metrics and formal business-case evaluations more closely. "Developing a metrics-based business case increases the overall effectiveness of your CRM strategy," argues research analyst Heather Keltz. "A successful business case includes vision, goals, alternatives, cost/benefit/risk assessment, ROI justification, key initiatives, critical success factors, and an action plan. Create metrics that are simple, specific, and result-driven.
"CRM is never static. Nearly half of companies with live applications today are implementing or evaluating additional installations. Invest wisely, and ensure future funding by avoiding difficult-to-measure benefits. Aim for achievable ROI metrics that clearly prove project success."