A socio-technical approach to customer relationship management (CRM) systems

Steyn, Helena (2004-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The networked economy has resulted in the customer having an unprecedented choice and control over how he/she chooses to do business and with whom. In addition, the ever-increasing commoditisation of products and services has forced businesses to re-evaluate their sources of sustainable competitive advantage. The ability to differentiate an organisation from others has therefore become a major business advantage. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is considered the most significant and only remaining differentiator. Given this importance, it is of concern that high failure rates of up to 70% have been recorded with regard to CRM systems implementations. Findings from literature confirm that lack of or insufficient attention to both technical and social aspects contribute to failed implementations. A hypothesis has therefore been formulated that a lack of and/or insufficient attention to a socio-technical approach to CRM-systems is a major contributor to the high failure rate of implemented CRM-systems. The hypothesis was tested based on identifying the social and technical aspects from literature that must be addressed to ensure successful implementation and was utilised as a basis for conducting empirical research to ascertain to what extent these aspects have contributed (or not) to successful implementations. The empirical research entailed circulation of a questionnaire to organisations that have already implemented CRM systems for B2C purposes and are wholly situated in the Western Cape or have a head office in the Western Cape. Due to the limited responses received, it must be noted that the research results are not necessarily representative of the sample in general or the population as a whole. The research did however indicate some important trends. CRM systems have only been implemented in a relatively small number of organisations and are particularly prevalent in industries such as Life Insurance, Financial Services and Retail. This is considered to be directly linked to the cost and complexity of implementing these systems. Based on the responses received, it can be concluded that the nine organisations that responded generally followed a socio· technical approach to their CRM systems implementations and in most instances respondents rated their implementations fully successful. This is contrary to the high failure rates described in literature and CQuid in part be due to the fact that organisations with failed implementations may have opted not to complete questionnaires in this regard. Inconsistencies between the recorded successful implementations relating to, inter alia, certain aspects being addressed by some and not by others or being addressed during as opposed to prior to implementation warrant further research to establish the interrelatedness of the various aspects with one another and the extent to which certain aspects may carry more weight than others in ensuring success. It is recommended that further research be done regarding a socio-technical approach to CRM-systems implementation with a view to obtaining a representative sample and conclusive evidence as to whether this approach does contribute to success or not within South Africa. The research should also focus on the impact that addressing the various social and technical issues during implementation, as opposed to prior to implementation, has on the success of the implementation. This exploratory research can be utilised as a basis for further in-depth research regarding the impact of various social and technical issues on successful implementations. In addition it can be utilised as a guideline or roadmap for implementation by organisations intending to implement CRM-systems or to assist organisations in addressing problems occurring as a result of fa iled CRM systems implementation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die netwerk ekonomie het tot gevolg dat die klient 'n ongeewenaarde keuse en beheer het oor hoe en met wie hy/sy besigheid wil doen. Daarbenewens word besighede gedwing om, as gevolg van die toenemende gebruikersgerief van produkte en dienste, hulle bronne van volhoubare kompeterende voordeel te herevalueer. Die vermoe om 'n organisasie van 'n ander te kan onderskei het dus 'n belangrike besigheidsvoordeel geword. Klienteverhoudingsbestuur (CRM) word beskou as die belangrikste en enigste oorblywende onderskeidingsfaktor. Gegewe die belangrikheid daarvan is dit kommerwekkend dat hoë mislukkingssyfers van tot 70% aangeteken is met betrekking tot CRM stelsel implementerings. Bevindings uit die literatuur bevestig dat gebrek aan/of onvoldoende aandag aan beide tegniese en sosiale faktore bygedra het tot mislukte implementerings. 'n Hipotese is dus geformuleer dat 'n gebrek aan/of onvoldoende aandag aan 'n sosiotegniese benadering tot CRM-stelsels 'n belangrike bydraende faktor is tot die hoë mislukkingssyfer van CRM stelsel implementerings. Hierdie hipotese is getoets deur die sosiale en tegniese aspekte uit die literatuur te identifiseer wat aangespreek moet word om suksesvolle implementering te verseker en dit is as basis gebruik vir die empiriese navorsing ten einde vas te stel tot watter mate hierdie aspekte bygedra het (of nie) tot suksesvolle implementering. Die empiriese navorsing het die uitstuur van 'n vraelys behels na organisasies wat reeds CRM stelsels geimplementeer het vir besigheid tot klient (B2C) doeleindes en wat in die Wes-Kaap gevestig is of 'n hoofkantoor in die Wes-Kaap het. In die lig van die beperkte terugvoering , moet daarop gelet word dat die navorsingsresultate nie noodwendig as verteenwoordigend van die steekproef of die populasie as geheel beskou kan word nie. Die navorsing het egter 'n paar belangrike tendense uitgewys. CRM stelsels is slegs in 'n relatiewe klein aantal organisasies geimplementeer en spesifiek in industriee soos Finansiele Dienste, Lewensversekering en Kleinhandel. Dit wil blyk dat dit direk gekoppel is aan die koste en kompleksiteit verbonde aan CRM stelsel implementerings. Gegrond op die terugvoering wat ontvang is, kan afgelei word dat die nege organisasies wat gereageer het in die algemeen 'n sosio-tegniese benadering tot CRM stelsel implementerings gevolg het. In die meeste gevalle het respondente hulle implementerings as ten volle suksesvol beoordeel. Dit is in teens telling met die hoe mislukkingssyfer wat in die literatuur beskryf word en kan gedeeltelik daaraan toegeskryf word dat organisasies wie se implementerings nie geslaag het nie, moontlik verkies het om nie die vraelys in hierdie verband te voltooi nie. Teenstrydighede tussen aangetekende suksesvolle implementerings met betrekking tot, onder andere, sekere aspekte deur sommige aangespreek en nie deur ander nie en daarmee tesame of dit aangespreek is tydens of voor implementering, regverdig verdere navorsing om die onderlinge verband tussen die onderskeie aspekte te bepaal, asook die mate waartoe sekere aspekte meer gewig dra as ander om sukses te verseker. Dit word aanbeveel dat verdere navorsing ten opsigte van 'n sosio-tegniese benadering gedoen word met die doel om 'n verteenwoordigende monster en onweerlegbare bewys te vind van hierdie benadering se bydrae tot sukses, aldan nie in Suid-Afrika. Die navorsing behoort ook te fokus op die sukses daarvan met betrekking tot die aanspreek van verskeie sosiale en tegniese aangeleenthede tydens implementering teenoor voor implementering. Hierdie verkennende navorsing kan aangewend word as 'n basis vir verdere in-diepte navorsing oor die mate waartoe die onderskeie sosiale en tegniese aangeleenthede bydra tot suksesvolle implementering. Voorts kan dit ook as 'n riglyn dien vir organisasies wat die implementering van CRM stelsels oorweeg en kan van nut wees om probleme wat ontstaan het as gevolg van mislukte CRM stelsel implementerings aan te spreek.

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