Headlines: November 11th, 2005

A comprehensive survey of Britain’s local councils has revealed that most Customer Relationship Management projects are running at least two years behind schedule and eight out of ten councils with completed CRM programmes said their new systems fell short of expectations. The in-depth survey, involving half of UK local authorities, was conducted by ndl-metascybe to gain understanding of the progress of government backed CRM initiatives across the UK.The company, formed from a merger of two of the UK’s leading software manufacturers, first conducted the research last year, gathering data from 232 authorities across England, Scotland and Wales. It says that compared with the findings 12 months ago it is now clear that although authorities have progressed in their understanding of the benefits of an efficient CRM system, there were huge disappointments with massive delays and frustrations caused by the complexity of many of the implementations.

The survey found that a third of councils interviewed had no idea how they were going to integrate their back office systems with their new CRM programmes, a situation that would leave them unable to benefit from a fully integrated approach.

Declan Grogan, managing director of ndl-metascybe said, “The sheer technological difficulties of delivering systems of this nature, pale against the challenges of cultural change, within the authorities themselves. Moving from a departmental, vertical silo approach to a horizontal cross functional way of working is causing significant difficulties. Nearly half the authorities we interviewed cited this as their biggest barrier.”

The company says that more worryingly a further third of the authorities it spoke to had no CRM programmes underway and the overall trend revealed a slippage of nearly two years as the timeframe for completion on the initiatives. England, particularly London, led the way with more than 70 per cent of authorities claiming a CRM system to be in place. By contrast Wales was lagging behind with only a quarter of organisations having installed or currently installing a CRM programme.

Mr. Grogan said it was disappointing that while so many local authorities recognised the benefits of a CRM solution, problems of integration combined with political issues were hindering their ability to realise those benefits.