PA makes a case for CRM

PA makes a case for CRM

Systems integrator Professional Advantage has completed its first installation of Oracle's new 11i customer relationship management (CRM) suite at credit data services specialist Data Advantage (an unrelated company).

Professional Advantage spent around two months assessing the data requirements of the credit information company, then another six months implementing a CRM system.

PA has implemented CRM systems in around 35 organisations, CEO Steve Howcroft is the first to admit that CRM has been slow to take off in Australia.

"There are a large number of projects that start up and fail," he said. "It has created a great deal of anxiety in the market around CRM."

PA associate director Alex Gelman said the Data Advantage implementation was particularly rocky due to external factors, but with the right processes in place it has already proved its value to the credit information company.

The day before the new CRM system was set to go live, Channel 9 television show Money aired a story on Data Advantage, claiming it kept track of individuals' credit details in a "Big Brother" fashion.

Hits to Data Advantage's Web site peaked that night, exceeding the site's capacity to handle enquiries. By 8:30am the next morning, the company's telephony systems had also failed from the excess traffic.

Despite the chaos, the launch of the system went smoothly, which Howcroft attributed to excellent planning and change management. "If you ever doubted the effectiveness of change management, that day would have made you a total believer," he said.

Professional Advantage leaned on the resources of Oracle's consulting services division during the deal. Howcroft said that as PA was the prime contractor, there was never a problem with working alongside the vendor's services division.

"We have a good relationship with Oracle, and tend to act as a cohesive team with them," he said. "I hear complaints about [Oracle's channel strategy] all the time, but our experience has been different."

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