Automate Your Business

While the adoption of any form of IT automation inevitably leads to some level of support requirement, even this is increasingly becoming automated. As companies have become more and more reliant on their connections to the internet, there has been a corresponding rise in the number of service providers looking to automate the management of their client’s systems. The business broadband provider PacNet, for example, provides a service that sees it taking responsibility for the security of the connection of its client’s business to the internet.

While users of SaaS applications already see all of the hosting and maintenance of their applications taken care of by the provider, Caminos says that over time it is likely that SMEs will send more and more of their IT, such as email systems and databases, out to third party service providers.

“After all, the main reasons for investing in technology are to drive down costs and improve quality and use of data,” she says.

Tips to Get the Most Out of CRM

A good customer relationship management (CRM) system will go a long way to help you make the most of sales leads and opportunities—seamlessly. Here are some tips to help you get the most from a CRM Solution.
1. Work with CRM experts. If you want legal or accounting advice you hire a firm to seek advice or help with the ‘doing’, the same goes for implementing CRM. An experienced CRM consultancy firm can help you define the outcomes in a project, select the most suitable software solution and mitigate risk to ensure a successful project outcome.

2. Start small and build on module by module. Get up and running fast with the core functionality and build on this as needed with marketing, customer service and other modules.

3. Define your priorities. Define exactly what problems you seek to solve and your priorities.

4. Work to your budget. Avoid budget blowouts and stick to your budget by looking at implementing the core modules and building from there.

5. Get a quick return on your investment. See a quick return on investment by getting up and running fast with the core modules and start seeing the benefits of CRM.

6. Make sure you know what’s included and what’s not. A good CRM provider should clearly define what your system can provide and what functions may be excluded, so there are no surprises.

7. Keep training simple for higher user adoption. Keep training simple so users only need to learn small amounts at a time by starting with the core modules. As more modules are added in time users can build on their knowledge.

8. Develop a new culture. To be successful be prepared to invest time and effort developing a new culture around your CRM solution.

—Antony Dutton, managing director, Aaromba (www.aaromba.com).

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