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Team okays CRM value for Wickes

Daniel Thomas
Pinning down the return on investment of an enterprise software project was so important to leading DIY retailer Wickes Building Supplies that it set up a team dedicated to the problem.

Measuring return on investment has proved difficult with business-wide customer relationship manage- ment (CRM) projects - research by analyst firm IDC shows only 43% of organisations across Europe are using CRM technology.

It cites lack of understanding and high costs as reasons for the low take-up.

But Keith Riley, IT director at Wickes, emphasised that the company had carried out "an exhaustive business case" to establish the value of its CRM project.

"We had a separate team purely dedicated to analysing the business benefits of the project," he explained.

The £1.6m project is a bid to streamline processes in its showroom business and cut costs.

Based on Internet data language XML, the system is designed to offer user-friendly interfaces for both customers and staff within the Wickes showroom business, which designs and sells fitted kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms.

The showroom CRM implementation is due for completion by the end of the year, with the second phase, which will see the technology moving up the supply chain to both the call centre and home delivery operation, due to take place next year.

The single platform for showroom, call centre and home delivery operations will replace a set of disparate systems that have proved to be inefficient, according to Riley.

"The whole process is manually intensive and error prone, resulting on occasion, in poor customer service," he said. "For example, design consultants cannot book a delivery date for a customer, this has to be arranged at a later date by the call centre."

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