Tuesday, 12 May 2009

CRM - Sour CReaM

It's been a while - time to try to catch up....

When we first looked at SAP, the VP then in charge of sales wanted the CRM package. He completely bought into the promises - linking into ERP, all the pipeline reporting etc. We had a number of different systems used all over the group and it made sense to buy a single package that every one could use.

When the consultants did the first presentation of the CRM, I was not impressed - it just didn't work. The guy doing the demo showed the pages, but no actual data or processing. We had a second demo a couple of months later, and they didn't show the product at all.

After the project started, it was several months before they had gotten the system installed. I setup user accounts as instructed and the client software. It was only about 2 months after this that we were told we would be using a browser based version - and I was given no information on setting that up.

The "CRM specialist" provided for us finally gave a URL for the sales people to use - but it didn't actually work. I'd bought some books and one of those had some info on setting up the BSP application in the user favorites - without that, we'd never have got started. After several hours of working to try to identify why it wouldn't work thru the browser, I worked out it was a security issue - there were some settings in IE6 that needed changing (even more in IE7). Once these changed, it got us started for real.

We then ran into some more issues. It actually took the "CRM specialist" a YEAR to realise that there was a specific user role that had to be used by all users. Prior to that, I had to give everyone the SAP_ALL profile just to allow them to work in the CRM. He also failed to provide any real information on setting up the business partner relationships, which I was told were essential to getting it working; I did find some info in one of the books, but to this day, I don't know if what I did was right.

There is a component for "organizational model" - this sets out the relationships between staff so that (I think) it allows the workflow to process jobs giving the relevant alerts etc. He created this model and I've not seen a bigger pile of crap in my life. The names of staff were mixed in with the names of the consultants, plus what I think were made up names. The actual job functions were all wrong, the site details were wrong, people in the wrong user groups, wrong sites, wrong job functions - well you get the picture.

I did work out how to change this and managed to correct it - then was told that this cannot be transported between systems so has to be manually changed in each client. Having made the changes (taking several days), I was not happy when I found out that he had gone in and modified it further, making a mess of it again.

So far, it would fair to say that this was just teething troubles - but it was far worse than that. The sales staff had real problems using the CRM software - it was slow, painfully slow. It would take literally a minute to open the main page. Then to go between sections could take 20-30 seconds at a time. It was flaky as hell - the system would crash regularly even when only one person at a time was working in it. Four sales staff spent an afternoon doing some testing - in one hour they crashed it a total of 19 times. Even when it didn't crash, they found it impossible to enter data at the speed that is required when someone is on the phone giving you an order.

We moved onto the test system from the development system - and the sales manager found out that the consultant had copied over all of the crap data from the dev system. (Subsequently found that this had gone to the production system as well). It was then discovered that the CRM didn't link to the correct ERP system - this was only finally corrected 6 weeks ago - and yes that was because I had found out where it was going wrong and corrected it.

They had also promised that the CRM would link into Exchange /Outlook, but when this was tested, an error message was produced that we needed to install a CDO from Microsoft. Having checked on this, I discovered that this is a bullshit message - it's only required for earlier versions. In fact it is a security issue and can be easily corrected. However, the senior consultant kept insisteing during meetings that we were being awkward because we wouldn't install this CDO despite my showing them that trying to install the software produces a message saying it is not needed.

There were numeous messages back and forth - but they took their sweet time to answer anything, sometimes weeks and on one occasion a month. It seemed impossible to get anyone that actually knew anything about the product. They sent a guy over from Germany, who spent 2 days on site, and I'll be damned if I know what he actually achieved.

So there we are - the CRM is pretty much unusable for anything. The sales staff really don't want to waste any more time on it and I don't blame them. At this stage, they would be far better off using an Excel spreadsheet for what they want. We've had about 4 meetings between the director from the consultants and our CEO in the last 3 weeks. The last one was really nasty - our CEO has asked for our money back and has been told he won't get a red cent. That's about $80,000 down the pipes and he is pissed as hell. We've actually held off on making any payments to them in the last 4 months - and they have no chance of getting any more money from us.

Bottom line - the CRM is piss poor and we are already looking at finding another product.


  1. Hi, great post! I've been reading it to my wife and we were both laughing loudly. Needless to say that I am working mainly on SAP CRM and I share your comments: these are situations that I've been experienced, but with less troubles. We don't use the web version. I understand your sales persons. Our sales staff decided to use another product and now we are migrating to something different. Good luck !!

  2. Dev, I'm going to pass your comment to one of our sales managers. He is so hacked off at the moment, because the consultant director insists thats the CRM is being used by thousands of customers without any problems, so it must be down to our inability to work with it.

    For reference, the CRM specialist was not happy the last time he was on site, because the office he normally works in was in use for a training session. He was quite snotty about it - how dare we use his office!!!.

  3. Send me an email. I can help. :) ceo@salesforce.com

  4. Thanks for the posts we are professional web design and development company offering an array of services like template customization, web designing, CMS solutions, eCommerce solutions, Search engine optimizationand Internet marketing.
    crm sales