Aplicor CRM Implementation Lessons Learned
I finished managing an Aplicor hosted software implementation and wanted to share the experience and the lessons learned. This was my third on-demand or software as a service CRM engagement (the first two were salesforce.com jobs) and my first direct experience in working with Aplicor.
As far as working with Aplicor goes, I will testify that this company really practices what it preaches when it comes to cultivating and growing customer relationships. I first read a write up in revisiones de crm and never before have I received so many courtesy calls and genuine interest from so many levels in the manufacturer's organization. I routinely received proactive calls from the help desk, training staff, consulting staff and even the CEO of the company. And here's one for the books - the sales person actually periodically followed up even after closing the sale (I later learned that sales people and other staff compensation plans are heavily influenced by customer satisfaction). The few times I offered input, it was clearly followed up and acted upon. Aplicor takes its customer relationships very seriously.
Unfortunately, the client staff on the implementation team were not quite so proactive. To counteract the company's inertia, the significant staff turnover we incurred and the issues when dealing with users in several countries we implemented a change management plan fairly early. Much of the change management plan centered around vocal executive sponsorship, early and broad user involvement, testimonials from key managers and users, and a constant and progressive communication of chained messages. In the end, those users who first threw up red herrings and objections ultimately came around and endorsed the sales force automation (SFA) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
We implemented the Aplicor ENTERPRISE version 5 SFA, marketing and customer support modules and were very pleased with the product's ease of use, flexibility and reliability. Aplicor is clearly the most intuitive and efficient CRM system I have seen for serious users (that is, users who are truly leveraging and maximizing the system for their everyday effectiveness as opposed to users who view CRM systems more sporadically or just as a contact manager to look up a telephone number or address). The many-to-one account viewing in Aplicor is extremely useful for quickly reviewing account, contact, activity, task, opportunity, case, campaign or calendar records in a prioritized and rapid fire fashion. This user interface is something I haven't seen since Siebel Systems and I'd like to see it more non-hosted or hosted CRM systems. We mixed Aplicor's Menu Designer and Forms Designer with the one-click-to-anywhere concept to really streamline CRM system navigation and activities for virtually every role in the company. The training curriculum was well done, however, not that different from other CRM software training agendas. What was different was the near consistent positive and embracing response from the user attendees during and after the training classes. With the exception of one location (Germany), the users were extremely complimentary of the project team's efforts and the new CRM application. Germany eventually came around after a few more doses of change management and an additional training class which incorporated a few things they considered unique to their market.
All in all, it was an outstanding CRM implementation. It's always enjoyable to work with a flexible and reliable CRM application and I truly enjoyed the personal attention from the Aplicor operational staff and management team. I'm planning on attending this years Aplicor annual user retreat in Florida. If any readers are also attending, please let me know.
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Post: November 6, 2007 in Aplicor, Implementations | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)
Tags: Aplicor, on-demand crm, on-demand accounting software, system review
Comments to hailey[at]haileyblog.com
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We're in a software selection and considering Aplicor. The project team really likes the application, however, has some reservation about Aplicor's smaller size. Any suggestions?
Posted by Ian on November 9, 2007
I suspect many Aplicor customers faced the same issue. In my particular case, we chose to vet Aplicor from a viability and longevity perspective by talking to the executive team, an independent analyst and customer references. We found Aplicor to be a consistent growth company with respectable profits and no debt or foreseen liabilities. They offered four Fortune 50 references. We spoke to three and received consistent praise for the product and staff. Probably most important to me was Aplicor's very positive reputation. I find that reputations generally don't change and are indicative of a predictable experience and relationship. We are of course aware that Aplicor is much smaller than its direct competitors such as Salesforce.com, Oracle and Netsuite, however, we found this smaller size to be a big advantage in terms of obtaining a true partner (and not just a vendor) relationship.
Posted by Hailey on November 9, 2007
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