The short answer is yes! It’s because we are a Franchise business.
This was the overarching edict when it came to a project that ReCognite recently delivered for a leading franchise group. When the project began, the writer also had concerns as the Project that we were taking on involved the replacement of an undocumented, largely unsupported, end of life, end to end system, with a best of breed model being facilitated by systems that had already been chosen…..so why complicate this with multiple CRM offerings and potentially add an ongoing support headache for the business? It seemed like an unnecessary duplication of services.
Well it turned out to be a bold stroke with some clear pro’s and cons. Whilst some franchises run a very rigid model and state “you must do things the way Corporate says and use the systems that Corporate state”, our client recognises its franchisee’s run as slightly different businesses due to their individual markets and staff needs. So it offers an operational framework with a degree of flexibility in the way things are done. To that end, they went to market and selected multiple CRM systems that facilitated core functionality, but did some things differently. They then gave their franchisee’s the choice and let the franchisee’s manage the relationship directly with their CRM provider of choice.
• Empowered Franchisee’s by giving them the decision of CRM choice
• Kept the IT vendors honest by adding an element of competition for the group
• Potential reduction of group buying power due to loss of potential numbers of clients available to CRM supplier
• Reduction of Corporate’s influence with IT Vendors at the conclusion of the project, as commercial terms lay with the franchisee’s and the IT CRM suppliers not Corporate
• Technical integration challenges
• No single source of authentication or identity management
How was it solved?
Well a picture is worth a thousand words. The environment went from this:
Authentication and system integration were the main challenges as there was no centralised Active Directory for the client to manage security and access control and multiple CRM’s provided a data aggregation challenge for the Franchise Management system. By having an authenticator passing authentication information via between all of the systems, this kept all security data in one place. In addition a piece of middleware was developed to facilitate queries between the CRM’s and the Aggregator to ensure that Corporate got the information it required.
An ambitious piece, but we got the outcome thanks to some careful planning, a constant dialogue with key stakeholders and most importantly great relationships with Key Partners, whom without, this simply wouldn’t have been possible.
End result? The client got the stable platform they need in order to continue to build extra technical capability where required. In addition, they also got the ability to swap out components and function as required, thereby reducing reliability on any one IT supplier.