CRM and ERP Use Cases are a Must
To successfully implement a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) system, it's essential that you follow best practices. Without undergoing change management procedures, business process modeling and other critical tasks, you put your entire investment at risk of failing to generate widespread user adoption and streamline your unique operations.
One of these best practices is creating use cases. Use cases are documents that detail how actors (employees or other software applications) interact with the new system. They explain how your software should be used to meet particular goals and perform business tasks. The importance of use cases can't be understated. These documents serve a wide array of purposes not only during the implementation but for the entire lifetime of your software. Check out ten reasons for generating CRM and ERP use cases to achieve a well-executed software project.
1. Resolution for Errors
CRM and ERP use cases act as business modeling techniques that define the features of the enterprise software implementation. They map out how each function and process will be carried out in the system. This map of use cases can then be an invaluable tool to provide a resolution if any errors are encountered by users—they simply need to refer back to the document to see how the system was supposed to be set up prior to the error.
2. Approval Process
CRM and ERP use cases conceptualize the objectives of the implementation project. Generally, the internal project team is tasked with establishing those objectives and providing a proposed structure for the system. In doing so, use cases allow your business to verify the details of the implementation and see how the project team plans to meet their objectives. This is also a time when the consulting firm can level up additional requirements uncovered during the planning stage and discuss if change orders will be required with the client. In short, use cases open up an avenue of communication and understanding to simplify your project.
3. Executive Sponsorship
Use cases motivate business users at the executive level to become more involved in any enterprise project. Executives do not necessarily help create use cases, but they are ultimately responsible for their review and approval. This opportunity helps the project team and C-Suite stay on the same page. If they know the exact objectives of every aspect of the new software, you will avoid scope creep and disappointed executives once the software is in place.
4. Reference Tool
This is arguably one of the most important functions of CRM and ERP use cases and is central to the Datix process. Project teams will attribute all their use cases to a catalog at the conclusion of a project, which can then be sourced by business users later who need to reference the intended purposes of the software. Sophisticated project managers will also link use cases to the business process models, as well as the catalog, to illustrate how those use case processes triggered a new event. Essentially, the use case catalog will work as a road map for users. It is an excellent tool that enables businesses to continue using the system for its intended purposes.
5. Risk Mitigation
Another fundamental reason for assembling CRM and ERP use cases is to eliminate uncertainties and improve expectations throughout an implementation timeline. Use cases aim to improve the usefulness of a system from a very high level right down to the finite needs of a specific silo. In addition, project members and executive sponsors work together to approve the detailed information and assure that certain expectations are being met. Use cases illustrate how inputs trigger a desired output in the system using the best development practices. Thus, the description depicts a unique process that should remain consistent as agreed upon by project leaders, even after the software has gone live and the project team has been disbanded.
6. Scope Management
Use cases allow project teams to better manage the scope of a project. Businesses should prioritize use cases at the onset of a project, determining which cases are critical and which are luxuries of the new software. The process should recur throughout the project to ensure the most critical needs of the system are met first. Team leaders can then budget for resources based on their assessment of priorities, and avoid wasting valuable investment dollars on add-ons and customizations your system might not need.
7. Living Document
As you undergo changes to your software and your business processes, the use case should be updated to maintain user adoption and optimal functionality. System administrators must review how a process works now and how it will look in the future. The use case catalog therefore serves as a living document that can be modified later as upgrades and customizations occur. Having this constantly updated log of CRM and ERP use cases is a more effective way for our clients to see how something works, what they can expect from those processes and how a tool in the system can be improved using best practices rather than guesswork.
8. Technical and Functional Requirements
CRM and ERP use cases conceptualize the specific interactions between technical and functional processes. For example, your organization might include global locations, requiring use cases to determine how various users will utilize the ERP system to manage multiple sites and currencies. Use cases demonstrate functional requirements by documenting how a particular technical feature, such as multi-currency modules or global engines, can be leveraged to fulfill specific business needs. Thus, these cases can untangle your technical and functional processes, providing insight into how the two are affecting each other at every level of your business.
9. Process Improvement
Through use case generation and business process modeling, companies can discover roadblocks in their current operations. As they realize their current shortcomings, they can figure out ways to utilize the new software to smooth over these issues, documenting these processes to benefit project teams and users. Businesses can continue refining their operations and updating use cases to improve their business and reach new goals.
Fundamentally, CRM and ERP use cases serve as communication tools. The content of a use case outlines the preconditions, requirements and rules for the process. Use cases communicate the facts of the process for users to review. In addition, they give the project team a chance to voice any additional needs they may have and announce clear expectations for the project’s objectives to executives. Clear communication is one of the most crucial ways you are going to get your employees to adopt the software quickly—otherwise they will shy away from a system that they don’t fully understand.
CRM and ERP use cases must be included in the foundation of your enterprise software project. This process takes a bit more time on the project’s front end, but defining use cases will help you steer clear of implementation risks and get the most from your new investment.
At Datix, we know business processes. Our expert consultants have made business process modeling and use case generation a core part of our project strategy for over 20 years. With experience in several manufacturing and distribution industries, we can uncover current roadblocks that you've never noticed. As an Epicor Platinum Partner and certified partner of Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM, we know ERP an CRM inside and out. Streamlining our clients' unique processes through the power of the most advanced software on the market is our specialty.
Need someone to help you follow best practices throughout your CRM or ERP project? Contact an expert at Datix today!