With CRM application moving from on-premise to the cloud, managers need to ensure that this change goes as smoothly as possible.
While it may seem simple (and sometimes it can be), there are a variety of ways in which cloud migration can be poorly done. We have compiled three “don’ts” to consider when migrating to cloud-based CRM applications.
- Don’t rush into implementation of cloud CRM without complete understanding.
Too often business rush into implementation without understanding the challenges they may face. Experts have said it is dangerous to just undertake these migrations because cloud environments are significantly different than other environments. These environments are not always the same quality vendor to vendor. Remember that IT environments such as cloud have often been so called “blank slates” so organizations can create whatever structure they want. There is significant potential for cloud environments but they do not come without risk. So you must test it.
Remember, do not launch without a proper pilot and without a backup plan if things go wrong. Successful integration testing is essential, but at this point so is the analysis of the user experience. Prepare your data for migration and be sure that the data is complete and spend some time updating and refining your database. Save backup copies of data and be sure to allocate the appropriate resources to regular system maintenance.
- Don’t stop communicating – often.
Cloud CRM projects fail due to poor communication between employees and CRM managers. So there is the potential danger of a major misstep as a result of poor communication. We have already established that it is critical not to rush into implementation, so make sure that your team does not get left out of any communication on how and when you are going to make the move. Do not stop communicating with your users, your team, your employees or your vendor. During all phases of the migration communication is everything. A successful integration means careful planning and an awareness of your businesses commitments. Everyone needs to be aware of the risks and everyone needs to know what the plans are for continued success. Develop and agree on the rules. Make sure that the people who handle the data and are closest to it are the ones working closely with its migration. Remember, you need to work with those who understand the data best.
- Don’t forget to thoroughly review and understand the agreement clauses and SLAs with your CRM vendor when signing the contract.
Vendors are different when it comes to the quality of their service and the SLA they agree to. Some are extremely reliable but others are less so and some can even be volatile. Some vendors migrate from country to country or may be acquired by other larger organizations. Know what you are getting into and read your SLA thoroughly to understand the possible limitations. Understand how you get out of a contract if you decide it is not worth the investment. What are the repercussions in doing so? How easy is it to move? This is a critical item to assess before signing an agreement. Without this analysis, things could go wrong quickly.
Gartner Analysts urge caution when making decisions: “Any cloud-migration decision is, in essence, an application or infrastructure modernization decision and needs to be approached in the broader context of related application portfolio management and infrastructure portfolio management programs. This decision is not solely an issue of migration but is truly one of optimization: Which cloud platform and migration techniques offer the chance to optimize the application’s contribution to stated and implied business and IT goals? Those business and supporting IT goals, described next, should be driving any cloud migration decision — not a rush to experiment with new toys.”
As a manager, your role is to maintain a level of control throughout this transition. You will do your best to build confidence by communicating effectively, reviewing all levels of your vendor agreements and ensuring you and your team have a concrete understanding of the transition and all its possible benefits and challenges. By following these few “don’ts” you can make the transition easier and make everyone more prepared.