If you are considering a new CRM database for your organisation, here are our top ten tips to help make the process as smooth and efficient as possible:
- Understand your current needs
What do you want a CRM database to do? Identify your ‘must haves’ and ‘would likes’.
- Understand your future needs
How much will you grow and how might your services change in the next 5-10 years? Your investment needs to be future proof, and flexible enough to change with your needs.
- Involve all staff/users as early as possible in process
Your staff will have valuable input and feedback, and will be more likely to embrace the changes if they have been part of their design
- Appoint a lead for selection and implementation
Without a person to take overall responsibility for making decisions and keeping things moving along, you could find the project taking much longer than anticipated.
- Find a provider that understands your organisation
It is easier to work with someone that ‘gets’ you and your objectives, and has experience of working with similar organisations.
- Consider your data
It can sometimes be easier to clean your data before importing in into a new system, and makes the technical side of data migration easier. However, if your existing data comes from a number of spreadsheets it may be better to cleanse it within the database as some have excellent cleansing tools (eg CiviCRM).
- Stage implementation if possible
This enables you to iron out any problems on a smaller scale and gives you time to get buy in from staff.
- Ensure all staff are supported
Some staff cope with change better than others. Managers will need to give staff the support and time they need to help them adapt to the changes.
- Develop support documentation
Clear documentation outlining roles, responsibilities and timescales, new procedures and quick ‘how to guides’ will aid the implementation process.
- Anticipate and budget for post implementation support
In a perfect world you will specify your needs and processes correctly from the start. In reality once you’ve completed implementation, you are likely to find you need to make a few tweaks to ensure the new system works at its best for your organisation.
For more advice about choosing and implementing a database, contact the GMCVO Databases team on 0161 277 1020 / databases[at]gmcvo.org[dot]uk