Why business leader stamped CRM upgrade project as a disaster?
Gustavo & I completed our dinner. We started walking across the Copacabana beach and pick a table a little bit back from the stream of people passing by to avoid almost endless stream of beggars, vendors and weirdos.
I requested Mr. Gustavo to share what happen in the meeting called by Alva.Gustavo sucked a deep breath and started sharing with me what happened that day in the meeting room.
In the city of Rio it was a clear day. The blue sky touches the tops of buildings and sends a crisp breeze through open windows. It was a nice summer day to enjoy time in beach with potato chips, but we were busy in our office.
I received an urgent meeting invite from Ms. Alva followed by a call from her office to join at second floor conference room. The agenda of the meeting was the closure of CRM upgrade project.
I have a feeling of a knotted belly. Several questions rushed into my mind at once.The project can't be over with so many open issues and without a formal classroom training. I quickly print the top pending issue list and proceed to the meeting room.
Candace, assistant of Alva greeted me and helped to sit in the proper place. Amy (CFO), Stuart (Supply chain head) already in the room.
The atmosphere in the meeting room was very glum. I asked Cadence “What’s up? Why Ms. Alva called this must attend an emergency meeting on the closure of CRM upgrade with such a short notice. Where is she?”
Cadence took few hesitant steps towards the projector and started adjusting its focus.
“Hi! Sorry for being late. I was just compiling the final status report on CRM for the last half an hour”. Alva entered the room with her trademark chocolate brown suit along with two of her colleagues.
While walking towards her seat, she started talking “Dear all! This morning, I have a two-minute chat with Mr. Ranga on CRM upgrade project. Mr. Ranga mentioned that the CRM upgrade is over from his perspective”.
Alva continued, “I called this meeting to know what your opinion on CRM upgrade. Is everything all right in your area related to CRM? Do you have any plan to manage the ongoing issues? ”
Stuart responded "Thanks Ms. Alva...for calling us together. I have a serious problem with this new version of CRM. Most of our existing processes are not working. There are additional validations due to new security checks, which are affecting our SLAs for various business process. Now, there is no ready-made system generated daily/weekly report. My team has to run queries to generate reports. This is outrageous."
Amy highlighted that 80% payment already made to the vendor. It was news to all of us.
You know I was so frustrated that I commented “Let's move to cloud and outsource the damn IT".
My expectation was new CRM would help us to give a better customer experience by providing mobile apps, online self-service for mundane activities, etc. Customer care center got the worst hit because we didn’t add extra agents to support increasing load to avoid additional costs.
Ms. Alva commented, "I too have some problems. Entire money looks like went to drain and it's a complete failure of IT department, But Mr. Ranga & his team got an outstanding rating from MD & Chairman for completing the project on time and within budget."
In the mean time, Alva and Amy joined us.
Alva joined the discussion and remarked that she still remembers Stuart's comment, “Why can't IT department roll back to old CRM? We will live with old systems & existing process. Let's escalate this to Mr. NoMo in our next leadership meeting."
Alva looked at Amy and said that she had terrible moments as she cleared almost 80% of the payment to vendor based on IT report.
Amy said in response " I got anxious about money and the time lost. In last board meeting NoMo presented his business plan and a lot of his plan has depended on new functionality of CRM. Failure in a CRM upgrade project will have a very bad impact on our company’s performance. What we will reply to our shareholders and owner?”
Amy looked at me and said "You know Babi Alva asked me to forward the concerns of the business team to NoMo. I was about to push it back, but saw Alva is looking at the ceiling as if she has no idea what to do next. So, I prepared the note and forward the same to NoMo with a request for an urgent meeting."
Now the most unusual things happened. Neither NoMo called me nor he sends a long list of questions in the customary style of asking more details. He just called a luncheon.
Editorial comment - This is a classic example on how IT project should not be executed. Business has different expectation but IT team has different goals. In this reminisce of Mr. Gustavo on IT projects failure shows lack of IT governance within the organization. In next post, we'll see how MD & CEO reacts with Project Review Report