This article excerpt originally appeared here: http://www.crmsoftwareblog.com…/

Congratulations! You’ve made a wise decision and gone live with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The CRM has been deployed and everyone has been trained. The system is working and now you can breathe a big sigh of relief. Was that really the finish line or just another step in the process? A well implemented CRM system is a living, breathing part of your business. Just as your business adjusts to change, your Users, your data, and your system must change with it.

At xRM³, we have identified 4 critical factors for success with Microsoft Dynamics CRM that must be managed after the go-live celebration winds down. These items are consistent across all implementations and the process to handle them must be applied system-wide to allow your deployment to still be successful 12 to 24 months in the future.

#1 – User Adoption Demands Vigilance

Are your Users working in the system every day? Are they adding, updating and using the data you took so much effort on getting in the system? How do you know for sure? A system can be as elegant and functional as you can make it, but without Users actually using it, what do you have? In order for CRM to be a success, User adoption is critical and needs to be continually encouraged, if not mandated.

#2 – Data is Only Relevant Until It’s Not

We reinforce with our customers the 3-legged stool approach to data in CRM. Simply put, you need a plan to address the following 3 questions about your CRM data: Who enters the data? Who maintains the data to keep it relevant? Who consumes the data and how? If any of those questions can’t be answered, your CRM data probably will become obsolete.

#3 – Processes Change and Your CRM Needs to Change With Them

As your business adjusts to changes in the marketplace, you need to identify and replace outmoded or misapplied business processes. Think about what could happen with CRM if you don’t. Users still have to get their jobs done. If the system doesn’t help them they will figure out a way around the system. The longer this goes on, work-arounds act like a virus that diminish the value of your CRM system and eventually make it irrelevant.

#4 – Keep Your Eyes On The Road

With software as your platform, it’s always important to know what is coming next. Vendors, at least the right vendors, have a roadmap and generally share it throughout the year. Knowing what new functionality or improvements are coming can be the difference between a relevant CRM and one that will be outgrown.