Due to the slow growth of Tangle, it is imperative that various stakeholders are engaged in the process of building Tangle’s market share. Despite the acquisition of a competitor in 2011, the company has not managed to capitalize on this acquisition, and has thus had stagnant growth. Therefore, it is imperative to the company’s prosperity to acquire major investment into infrastructure in order for the firm to promote growth.
A major stakeholder who should be included in the processes is the engagement of the family that founded the company, which now has a role on the non-executive board. These individuals, who build the company from the ground up, need to be engaged in the processes in order for us to use their valuable knowledge in order to continue from where they left off when the firm was acquired from them in 2008. Certainly, their input can be put to better use if they are put into executive roles, rather than simply sitting on a non-executive board that has not been consulted enough in order to provide valuable input towards the advancement of the company.
Also, more decision-making powers should be given to Frank Jones, our General Manager. He has been involved in the business activities, but the final decisions have been left to our CEO, Alice Lien. Jones should be given the authority to act more quickly on his decisions, rather than waiting for approval to come from our CEO. This is part of an overall effort to ease the red tape surrounding many of the activities of the firm, which have been slowing it down when it comes to making decisions that can lead to expansion.
In order to convince relevant stakeholders that the proceeding project management plan should be adopted, the following steps should be taken:
The IT team should be briefed on the need for a customer relations management system, or CRM. Their input as direct stakeholders should be taken into direct consideration prior to making any decisions regarding what steps to adopt and what features are or are not feasible to add into the resultant system.
The family that owns the company should be convinced as to the value of the CRM. The benefits and drawbacks of the system should be clearly delineated in the plan presented to them.
The CEO should be deferred to for final approval after the benefits and drawbacks have been presented to her in a full project charter.
The financial benefits of CRM systems should be noted to appropriate stakeholders.
Stakeholders should be advised as to the potential ROI and cost/benefit analysis involved in implementing a CRM system.
Stakeholder engagement will be balanced with addressing risks to the project.
Increasing Tangle’s market share will necessitate the absorption and integration on Tangle’s relatively recently purchased competitor. A way to do this seamlessly would be the introduction of a Customer Relations Management system, or CRM. The CRM would collect, analyze, integrate, and extrapolate from collected customer and client data in order to draw conclusions from trends and take action on the behalf of customers at a high level.
Tangle is a multinational manufacturing company servicing a myriad of consumer demographics. As such, their ability to quickly meet the needs of a changing market and economic decision making is significantly hampered by not only their lack of internal centralization, but also their lack of a cohesive internal database that allows them to make decisions when looking at high level data in the abstract.
A CRM system would increase their internal cohesiveness as everyone would be on the exact same page in terms of customer trends, economic conditions, and associated departmental outputs. The improved computer networks and associated multilingual capabilities involved in creating and installing a CRM would also confer competitive advantage upon Tangle in a global market.
CRM systems have numerous benefits. They enable companies to properly organize information. These may include consumer buying patterns, demographic trends, and economic indicators that can be checked through the aforementioned factors that may enable the organization to predict downturns and upswings through the assistance of an analyst.
A CRM also enhances communication and customer relations. Customers can interface with the CRM directly through online portals, that enable the automation of every day tasks and increased consumer confidence in the organization. When customers do need to call or interact with the organization directly, the CRM enables customer service agents to quickly interface with the customer’s profile and make requested changes accordingly. Again, this increases overall consumer trust and confidence.
Finally, a CRM increases overall organizational efficiency. Every department and employee has access to the same information, allowing them all to make centralized and organization wide changes on behalf of customers, which increases consumer trust in the organization’s competencies (Salesforce, 2019).
Product Scope Description
The scope of this project will involve the following:
Upgrading and installation of new computer hardware and networking capabilities. This will enable Tangle to properly integrate and run the new software and communications technologies that will be required in order to successfully run a cohesive CRM among an international organization.
Installation of improved VPN technologies in order to facilitate secure communication between all of Tangle’s associated offices in order to ensure a high degree of consumer trust and limited to no data loss.
Development, deployment, and testing of new CRM software and associated database technologies in order to limit data loss and ensure a seamless transition period.
Transfer and migration of records from existing systems to the new one with a period for testing and backup in order to minimize the possibility of data loss.
The development of new policies and procedures in order to properly delineate what is acceptable use on the new systems and what is not.
Training users and staff prior to go live in order to ensure a seamless transition and minimal downtime/growing pains.
Training and assistance will be provided to IT staff in order to ensure a seamless transition and limited downtime.
A secure website interface will be developed in order to safely manage, take, and track user generated orders.
Mobile devices will be enabled and deployed in order to interface with the new CRM with associated secure mobile app development.
Previous CRM operations will then be fully migrated to the new system and a staggered go-live will take place with integration between the two systems slowly being phased out over the period of one month to ensure a seamless transition and limited possibility of downtime and associated data loss.
The project will be accepted as complete when the following conditions have been met to the satisfaction of the stakeholders:
The CRM has been developed to stakeholder specifications and has all of the features listed in the project scope statement.
The CRM program itself contains appropriate comments and documentation so that the IT team can seamlessly understand the work that was performed and make updates in the future/fix bugs as appropriate.
Staff have been appropriately trained on the new system and have access to appropriate documentation to answer any questions they may have in the future.
An app that allows mobile users to interface with the CRM securely has been developed and deployed.
All computer, VPN, and communications systems have been developed and deployed in order to appropriately interface with the CRM with minimal chance of data loss.
Multilingual competencies and policies/procedures have been developed.
The deliverables of this project will be as follows:
An updated computer system, VPN, and communications network that will allow for successful integration and use of the new CRM system.
Complete migration of old databases to the new system.
The development and deployment of a secure mobile app that will allow employees to interface with the CRM remotely.
The development and deployment of an online form that will enable end users to place, track, and pay for an order securely.
Multilingual policies, procedures, and competencies that will allow Tangle to integrate a CRM capable of handling a global market.
The CRM that will be produced by this project is not meant to solve every problem at Tangle. It will not perform the following actions:
It will not force departments at Tangle to communicate with one other.
It will require an analyst to help in the decision making process, as the software will only collect and aggregate data – it will not draw conclusions about that data nor will it make decisions independently of the stakeholders.
The software will not have machine learning or recommendation engine capabilities.
It will not independently send information to various departments.
It will not contact users on its own behalf unless directed to do so by a stakeholder or other high level user.
A CRM cannot be expected to solve internal issues within the organization. The expectations regarding what the CRM can do should be reasonably managed by the project manager without compromising stakeholder engagement. Stakeholders should have the overall benefits of the project thoroughly explained to them in order to maximize engagement.
One of the key ways of managing risks while preserving engagement is to discuss the potential ROI on the project. The standard calculation when it comes to a CRM is to assume $8.71 in return per every dollar invested in a CRM system (Brigham, n.d.).
An 771% return on investment is virtually unheard of in the business world, and this truly serves to underscore the ROI that a CRM can provide to relevant stakeholders.
A CRM will enable Tangle as a company to expand their overall market share through an associated expansion in efficiencies and consumer trust. By enabling better customer service and large scale data analysis, Tangle can eke out a competitive advantage where none existed before.
Additionally, a CRM will enable Tangle to finally take advantage of the acquisition of their largest competitor. While it would easily enable them to integrate and absorb their competitor, it also enables them to use their competitor as a corporate sockpuppet.
What this means is that consumers value having a choice, even if said choice is a complete illusion. Customers will readily choose the brand that they prefer even if both brands are owned by the same parent company.
Tangle can thus utilize the CRM to effectively target both sets of customers, and maximize their potential ROI on both the CRM itself and on their corporate acquisition.
The CRM will be heavily limited in what it can achieve for Tangle in several key ways:
It will not fix the rampant communication problems at Tangle on an interpersonal level. It will only collect, aggregate, and display consumer data that will then be read by an analyst and disseminated appropriately.
Tangle will additionally be limited in this endeavor by its size and budget. Integrating the CRM in a manner acceptable to the stakeholders of the project may require a ground-up rebuild on Tangle’s entire IT infrastructure. The cost of this project may take up a significant portion of Tangle’s revenue, and borrowing may become a necessity.
Additionally, Tangle will not have access to its existing systems at times when the new system is undergoing the go-live process. This may result in data loss and financial loss through an inability to access consumer data.
Ultimately, the CRM will not be able to fix the deficient business practices and interpersonal communications strategies already identified within Tangle as an organization. These deficiencies will have to be corrected by the staff themselves with or without the help of an outside consultant in order to ensure Tangle’s success in the long run.
The CRM in this case is merely a tool that can be used to increase the market share of Tangle and its subsidiaries in the long term after these deficiencies have been duly corrected.
This project scope and associated Work Breakdown Structure assume a flawless project development cycle, integration, and go-live. This rarely happens in reality, and as such an additional 20 000 dollars has been included as a buffer fund.
According to Soltech, the project scope that has been included is appropriate. The average custom software development project can cost anywhere between 75 000 and 750 000 dollars. As such, the estimates that have been provided are modest in their nature and would return an industry-standard final product (Soltech, 2019).
Because the proposal put forth assumes a modest product, the assumptions of the marketing team and associated stakeholders should be managed appropriately.
Whether or not the stakeholder team requires more or fewer features and functionalities than have been put forth in this plan will dramatically effect the cost of this plan. The 20 00 dollar buffer that has been put forth is solely to effect contingencies within the current plan. Additional features and functionalities may raise the overall cost significantly, and the stakeholders should be appropriately prepared ahead of time for this potentiality.
The following work breakdown structure shows how tasks and associated funds will be divided over the course of this project.
A total of 147000 dollars will be applied to technical development
A total of 30 000 dollars will be applied to human resources endeavors.
A total of 7000 dollars will be applied to data access and migration endeavors.
Project Milestones and Risk Management
In order to effectively integrate and develop this project, adherence to a strict milestones and risk management system should be performed.
The project cannot go forward if these milestones are not effectively met. Additionally, repeated delays can easily go through the buffer budget of 20 000 dollars that has been set forth due to research into standard going rates for the services highlighted above.
The following risks have a chance of de-railing the schedule put forth in the proceeding schedule and milestone Gantt chart:
Delays in the development cycle that lead to an unacceptable loss of time and productivity, evaporating the budget and forcing Tangle to borrow in order to complete the project. This can be ameliorated by following an agile development strategy with strict adherence to the milestones put forth within the project charter.
Data loss resulting from careless migration practices. The accepted development team will endeavor to make backups of the existing data as set forth in the project charter.
Delays in staff and end user training leading to growing pains in the go live process. This will be ameliorated through the potential use of outside staff training consultants, and the development teams agreement to document the program and associated code appropriately so that the IT team and end user staff can answer their own questions and may any potential future upgrades easily and with little to no data loss.
The mobile devices and associated end user web page not adhering to appropriate security practices. The chosen development team will agree to adhere to proper data security best practices when the contract is extended. Data security will be tested by the stakeholders prior to acceptance of the project.
Market changes leading to a decrease in Tangle’s funds. This will be guarded against as best as is possible through responsible spending and adherence to the budget set forth in the work breakdown structure and project charter.
The proceeding Gantt chart breaks down the associated schedule and spending decisions that will need to be made: