The global labour shortage is well documented, with stats from the US indicating that there are five job vacancies for every software developer already employed. And Gartner reports that IT executives list talent shortages as the most compelling barrier to the adoption of 64% of emerging technologies (above cost and security!). To put this in context, it was only 4% back in 2020. 

So, how can you ensure that you are equipped to resource your project, and support (and improve) it after Go Live?  


What internal resourcing do we need to be successful?

Pre-and-during project is the time for your in-house subject matter experts (SMEs) to shine! But be aware, a CRM project can require a significant time commitment from each, and you may need to backfill their roles for a while to allow them time to focus.   

As well as SMEs, you need to nominate a strong product owner. This will usually be a senior person who owns the product vision and makes the final call on any contentious inter-department requests or requirements based on their business experience. Your ‘the buck stops here’ product owner won’t necessarily need a technical background, just the ability to adhere to the vision and make those hard calls that come up during any CRM (or technology at large) project.   

These are the roles we recommend you fill internally, and the responsibilities that come with each: 

Project Sponsor

Your project sponsor has overall responsibility for the project, leading your governance team, and ensuring continued project support from the business’s executives. Other responsibilities include resolving strategic and policy issues for the project team to minimise their impact on the timing and quality of the project, approving changes to the project scope and authorising any additional funding required.

Product Owner

Your product owner liaises between your project manager and business executives. Their to-do list includes providing critical business guidance for the project team, ensuring availability of user resources, and determining the nature of critical high impact issues and change requests.

Project Manager

Your project manager works in tandem with your technology partner’s project manager to manage project budget, scope, and timeline. They are also in charge of facilitating scheduling and resource commitments to specific tasks, managing internal tasks, budgets, and schedules, and raising issues and change requests.They’re also responsible for tracking and reporting on the business aspects of the project, including project financial controls and budgeting, and assisting to develop project plans. 

Project Team Members

Your project team members provide in-depth knowledge of the business, and work with your partner’s consultants in analysing and documenting detailed business requirements. The team also participates in configuring the system, providing functional leadership, ensuring the quality of the solution (and making sure it fits your business requirements). They’ll also assist in developing system configuration documentation, investigating, and confirming reporting requirements, developing testing scripts, conducting system testing, and working with your partner to determine the setup for security and the solution menu.

QA Analyst

Your QA analyst is responsible for developing test scenarios and test cases, logging defects during test execution, ensuring the quality is maintained in the build, and that systems aren’t compromised as a result of your changes. Other tasks include performing integration tests to ensure other applications are thoroughly verified and known issues are raised through the correct channels to resolve them, or helping the business agree on a resolution timeframe.

Organisational Change Manager

If you choose to handle this role internally (rather than use your technology partner’s resources) your organisational change manager will own the OCM plan and execution. This will include co-ordinating communication and training plans, end-user training materials and technical support guides, as well as driving and measuring value post Go Live.

End Users

Your end users will provide source information to the team, as well as stepping up with expert understanding of their business area. They will represent the users’ area in identifying current or future procedures, and may participate in design, testing, training, and procedures.

IT Team

The IT Team will assist in setting up access and licences for the system users. IT will be involved in any security, integration or data cleansing assistance.

A great implementation doesn’t stop with hand-over and a celebratory cake. After go-live, an internal system owner generally takes over from the project owner. This person acts as a CRM evangelist and a protector – both evolving the system’s capabilities as well as governing requests for changes. If changes are accepted, they will determine the deployment cadence and whether they will be done internally or through your technology partner. The system owner needs to not only understand the platform but also have experience in navigating and prioritising requests from internal users.  

How can we ensure that we will use our new system to full advantage?

Most project ‘failures’ are due to poor user adoption and engagement. And this can be directly attributed to a lack of investment in change management.  

Luckily, over the last decade, the perception of organisational change management (OCM) has gone from ‘nice-to-have’ to ‘can’t-afford-to-do-without’. Here’s why. 

Prosci is a globally acclaimed leader in change management. According to their ‘An Introduction to Change Management’ paper, initiatives with excellent change management are six times more likely to meet objectives than those with poor change management. They reported that 79% of the executives and senior leaders they surveyed recognise the value of change management in their organisations. Prosci also says that with OCM, organisations will be 6x more likely to achieve project objectives; 5x more likely to stay on or ahead of schedule and 2x more likely to stay on or under budget. 

All of which talks to the importance of bringing your people along on the transformation journey through an investment in and commitment to OCM.  

But once your people are onboard, how do you keep them engaged and educated? Most leading vendors, like Microsoft in particular, and/or their partners, make available online user training and support materials (from videos to documents). Not only are they a great learning resource for new joiners, but act as a much-appreciated refresher for existing team members. 

Most technology partners recommend and offer a train-the-trainer approach, so you end up with an internal super-user able to provide on-the-spot help to your team (in preference to pointing them at an external support desk for every issue or question). Also watch out for opportunities for your users and super-users to join industry user groups and avail yourself of partner-led education and knowledge sharing sessions. Staying upskilled and engaged will improve how your people use and improve the system.  

Who do we need to hire to look after this system?  

In an ideal world, you will ‘own’ your system. Gone are the days when customers are encouraged to be totally reliant on their technology partner.  

Obviously, your ability to internally manage, improve and evolve your solution (at your own pace) is dependent on the technical, governance, and administration abilities of your current in-house resources. Or your willingness to find and hire them.  

However, if like most of the world, you’re struggling to grow your technical capabilities through recruitment, we recommend you invest in identifying and training aspiring employees. You may need to look no further than an internal web developer or someone with Power Platform experience keen to improve their ‘low-code, no-code’ skill set. The technical resource can usually share their focus on other projects across the business, as can the administrator.  

Or you may decide to focus on being able to make the on-the-go changes internally, and rely on your partner for more significant or challenging development work.  

In summary

Once upon a time, you may have been heavily dependent on your partner to deliver a successful CRM project. Thankfully times, attitudes and technology have changed, and businesses are encouraged to become deeply involved in the process of continuous improvement and to own outcomes. And a good partner will empower and support you to do just that. 

Great outcomes start with great conversations


Great outcomes start with great conversations

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