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eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001
New systems can be a challenge, according to research.

Altering the culture of council employees is the biggest hurdle local authority IT managers have to overcome when implementing customer relationship management (CRM) systems, according to research to be published next month.

The survey of 258 egovernment and council IT heads by connectivity software vendor NDL-Metascybe, in association with Computing, shows that 42 per cent of respondents find persuading co-workers to adopt new CRM systems much harder than they expected.

Julie Holmes, head of IT and customer services at Herefordshire County Council, says it is difficult to get staff to relinquish work from their remit.

‘For a professional expert there is some fear in handing over something to someone they think of as just answering phones in a call centre,’ she said.

‘The idea that it is good because it lets them focus more on their area of expertise, without having to take time to deal with outside enquiries, takes some getting used to.’

But cultural change is not an impossible barrier, says Danny Rubie, head of IT at North Yorkshire County Council, which has recently installed a CRM system.

‘As with any change, people need convincing that things will be better once the implementation is done,’ he said.

‘Once we got through that initial change the reception was more positive, and we found that people started to engage with the CRM system.’

Despite the challenges associated with implementing CRM, 66 per cent of council IT managers surveyed now use the technology. Three-quarters of them believe that CRM has improved efficiency in their authority.

The survey also shows that councils are increasingly wary of spending large sums developing CRM systems in-house. Fewer than five per cent are considering such a move, compared with 13 per cent in 2004.

Instead, most council IT leaders prefer to use commercially available systems with specialised functionality, which do not require much additional work or time to be installed.

City of York Council is implementing a Lagan-supplied CRM system, and head of IT Tracy Carter says the decision to buy off-the-shelf is proving popular.

‘It has come pre-configured with a lot of local government functionality,’ she said. ‘To buy a less specialised commercial CRM system would have meant a lot of reworking that we just did not want to have to do.’

Datamonitor analyst Tom Pringle says there are many obstacles associated with implementing a CRM system.

‘Everyone has to go through acclimatisation processes to get the end result of better customer service,’ he said.

The full report will be published at the Society of Information Technology Management 2006 conference next month.

Download the report: Customer Relationship Management systems in local authorities 2006

Autor(en)/Author(s): James Brown

Quelle/Source: Computing, 21.09.2006

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