Time and expense—Outsourced implementations claim to be “rapid,” but typically span months and may entail significant expense, which must be carefully managed.
High corporate visibility—Outsourced projects usually garner the attention of senior management.
The key to a successful outsourced solution is a thorough evaluation and selection of an outsourcing partner. Work with a provider that has a track record of proven technology and successful implementations. Often, success also can be driven by aggressively adhering to an outsource-implementation methodology that typically involves the following steps:
#1 Contract negotiation. Negotiate a contract that protects your position and is very specific in its Statement of Work (SOW)—outlining tasks, timelines, deliverables and costs. This not only will protect your company, but it provides commonly understood parameters for both you and your outsourcing partner to follow. The SOW should:
• Include a detailed list of CRM services to be provided.
• Identify the aspects of the technology/solution owned by the provider and the customer.
• Establish the length of time for which services will be provided. As expected, longer terms justify lower costs.
• List fixed versus add-on costs, annual fees, anticipated increases, and the billing approach for development.
• Identify your responsibilities for implementing the outsourced solution.
• Spell out the terms of support, types of support provided and availability (days and time of day).
• Provide early termination criteria and processes.
• Include contact information for business questions, technical issues, etc.
#2 Kick-off meeting. This meeting between the marketer and the outsource provider reviews the entire implementation work plan, roles/responsibilities, timelines and outcome. These meetings should set the level of expectations and ensure consistent understanding of the project.
#3 Business-requirements gathering. Conduct a series of interviews to determine the functionality required of the solution.
#4 Technical requirements. Identify the technical specifications and system requirements needed to support the solution.