The Successful Spend Ratio on Database and CRM Projects

Successful database projects are 50% about people, 30% process, and 20% technology: so why do so many projects have such a high budget on technology and such a low budget in comparison on people and processes?

Why are these ratios important? Well, there is no point in just buying a database and that’s all – it won’t install itself, it won’t configure itself and it won’t know how to manage your processes on it. And yes your staff and the CRM supplier can do that, but in order to do so they will need time, resources, maybe back-filling of existing roles and so on.

Of course, the database is not unimportant, but there are other factors which are more important in terms of ensuring successful usage and implementation of databases. I.e. If the data is not clean, useful and comprehensive then it doesn’t matter how good the hardware or database software is; if staff are not trained and business processes put in place, then, again, even the best database may struggle to correct such issues; and so on.

And for implementations of new databases in particular, the need for project management cannot be underestimated, nor the influence and importance that the data migration will have on at least the initial go-live period of any new system.

Whether or not the specific figures detailed at the start of this post are always exactly this ratio, they show the correct approach. So do take this into consideration when you are budgeting for your new database. With some of the CRM systems available now, where software licenses are reducing in cost and where hosting is offering good cost-benefits, you might find you can spend appropriately more easily on people and processes. But even if you don’t find yourself in that situation then do review your budget and ask yourself if it is definitely correct.

I understand it is sometimes far more difficult to ask for money for spending on the people and processes when the software and technology appears to many senior managers at charities to be what you are really buying, but fight your corner and explain how important the other two factors are.

Successful projects and procurements work because wise organisations understand this ratio is critical.

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