A New Future for Management Consulting

Posted by on Feb 21, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

The Centre for Management Consulting Excellence is drawing together views of how management consultancy practice will need to evolve in coming years. On 28th February the Technical Symposium 2019 will take place at Coventry University London Campus. Simply repackaging the “same old same old” is not enough. The rapidly changing business environment means that consultants need to upgrade their services and develop new ones if they are to survive. The process of identifying and developing new products is commonplace in manufacturing, but of a different order in consulting, where the product is intangible. In this year’s Technical Symposium, we will be examining the process of product and service development, learning from a variety of industries with the intention of identifying useful practices for the future. The guest speaker is Shailendra Vyakarnam, Director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield University who has recently published “The Scale-up Manual: Handbook for Innovators, Entrepreneurs, Teams and Firms”. Shai will be building on his research to both inform and provoke thinking about the future of consultancy. All welcome. CMCE research is sponsored by The Worshipful Company of Management Consultants. Book...

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Low Code CRM Design Challenges Programmed-Process CRM

Posted by on Oct 15, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

There are several design ideas evident in top CRM systems. After 20 years of CRM, 2 very different types of design now clash. Most prevalent is traditional programmed process CRM. ‘Low-Code’ changes the landscape along with the COTS ‘No-Code’ designs.

Since May 2018, BPM’online as a ‘Low-Code’ competitor has emerged as the only product in the Gartner ‘Magic Quadrant’ classed as a ‘challenger’ (copyright Gartner). As a ‘Low-Code’ competitor, it is introducing a new customisation/personalisation paradigm which is the disruptive technology due to upset the established order.

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Enterprise Management of Project-Structured Future Commitments

Posted by on Oct 1, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

A new kind of enterprise resource management and planning is taking shape with Smartsheet. For the basic needs of managing a project, providing a Gantt chart for presentation to management, reviewing resource demand and timing, Smartsheet handles the basics so intuitively that even the simplest project portfolio benefits fromthe Smartsheet way of managing projects. In recent years, organisations with larger portfolios have found that their dependence on Gantt charts and spreadsheets has been a problem. When there is a need to re-shape future financial commitments, greater visibility, greater detail, and new tools to look at alternatives are needed.
User quote: “I got my team rallied around Smartsheet and what we’ve been able to do in a relatively short period of time is move from an organization that didn’t know what they were spending on project budgets to an organization that knows exactly what they are spending.” (Read the whole story?)

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How to select the right CRM system in 3 easy lessons

Posted by on Apr 5, 2018 in Blog |

In CRM investments bigger isn’t always best; Cheaper isn’t always better value; Best isn’t always most appropriate. It should go without saying that appropriate business choices must benefit the business. They must pay back. It is important when considering a CRM investment to pause and consider what ‘appropriate’ means.  In simple terms it means understanding yourself, your needs, your payback possibilities. Meet those and you’ve got a good business decision. But, sadly that’s not the way every organisation  approaches business purchases today, so it’s little wonder that the CRM success rate of 25% of projects pleasing their owners with acceptable benefits has remained unchanged for 20 years. And CRM shoppers this is for you; the chances of you getting it ‘right first time’ are slim. Business hasn’t yet come up with a successful process for ensuring good CRM decisions. For many, the ‘brand leader’ is the no-brainer choice. It used to be said that if you don’t understand what you are doing you won’t get fired for buying IBM. Why is CRM so difficult? I believe that one of the reasons is that people think it should be easy. Delegating a software purchase to the staff sounds like good participative management. It seems democratic. Knowing the CRM business as I do, and with 20 years experience watching people fail and helping some to succeed it looks unwise. Why? Well for a start, a staff committee can’t know what the business needs to do to transform customer relationships into business growth. Lesson one: Business growth is a senior management job. For years we have been encouraged to believe that business purchases can be managed using the same skills we learn when shopping at a major trusted supermarket.  And we are all aware how we demand immediate gratification. Go to the right aisle select the best you can afford, put it in the shopping basket; Job done! We also know that with so many excellent products to choose from we can quite rightly say ‘If it isn’t on the shelf, I can’t buy it’. If it was rubbish, Tesco (or other) would not allow it on the shelf. Of course you could always try some other similar outlet or web shopping, and the answer would only be slightly different. In a well-behaved market, there is little risk of getting it wrong. I know this is not yet sounding like a lesson in how to buy CRM, but stick with me. If you go shopping for CRM in the belief that you can’t get it wrong you might just skimp on the diligence with which you examine how the benefit will materialize and deliver to the ‘bottom line’. If you want coffee...

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Be Likeable… and Use your CRM System

Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Blog |

Why are some sales people less successful than others? They create customer relationships that should lead to a sale, but it doesn’t. Does CRM make a difference? What can they learn from successful sales people? In my youth, shortly after beginning my career in business (which was a long time ago), I got to talking with a salesman on a long train journey. He was making notes in a black book. (This was in the days before Blackberry and PDA’s and IT-supported CRM.)  He noticed my curiosity; didn’t seem to mind my rudeness. I asked what he was doing. “These are my customers”, he said. I said, “It doesn’t look much like an address book to me; you seem to be writing a lot about each one. He said, “I write in the names of spouses and kids and birthdays and anniversaries.” I said, “Why?” He said it helped when visiting a customer to ask how his wife was or to ask how the kids were or if one of his kids had some critical exam at school; how did he get on? I don’t remember what he was selling, but he had to keep in touch with over 500 customers. “Remembering something personal establishes some common ground”, he said, “which helps a lot. It helps re-construct some relatedness from previous calls and visits before we talk about new products and getting an order. I might not have had an opportunity to visit for 1-2 years so I can’t remember things like I would with personal friends.” I was a recently graduated engineer and was working in a team at Dupont, where remembering personal things about colleagues was an unconscious part of working together. I had difficulty feeling comfortable with this ‘black book’ kind of relationship-support way of relating to people.  I said, “This sounds a little bit phony to me;  don’t people find it offensive?”   He said not. “If you ask about someone’s son Arnold and how was their skiing holiday, they take it as a compliment. Get his son’s name wrong and it’s an insult.” “It takes a little while to learn how to do it sincerely; it’s a different kind of relatedness builder, but it’s not dishonest. It has to become part of who you are, seamless, you know? You just need to remember that there is a business purpose to your relationship, and you don’t have all day, and you need to close the deal; and that’s who you are.” This was my introduction to CRM systems (though the label and the TLA came much later). Looking back on this encounter with many years of sales force consultancy work and CRM projects behind me (JI Management Consultants),...

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