CRM Case One – Mashkin Group

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CRM Case One – Mashkin Group
Mashkin Group Inc. (Mashkin), a wholly owned subsidiary of Amir Inc., a British
financial conglomerate, is a medium-size, asset-management group based in the
US. Mashkin consists of three primary divisions: a mutual fund company with
$10 billion in assets; a separate, but closely affiliated asset management company
with $15 billion in assets; and a financial services company. Since the early 1990s,
these three enterprises have shared the same client database and other software
programs. The first program utilized, an inexpensive, off-the-shelf system with
limited capabilities, was used by the sales department of both the mutual fund
company and the asset management company primarily to store names,
telephone numbers, and notes of salespeople. A second program was used by the
IT department to update the database as new clients arrived and record daily sales
data. A third program was installed at all internal and external salespersons’
workstations and laptops to provide current data to the sales force. In addition,
the Client Service Call Center used a separate designed-in-house program to track
incoming call activity.

The technology systems utilized by employees in Mashkin were designed to
support general sales activities. None of the software was designed specifically for
the needs of their financial divisions (either the mutual fund or the asset
management side) and lacked the analytic functionality as well as the collaborative
functionality to interface with other systems within Mashkin. This limited
functionality of technology forced employees to spend an inordinate amount of
time manually jumping between applications and creating new reports to import
and export data between applications that could not be currently integrated.
Significant effort was also expended in e-mail and other communications
between users throughout the firm to collect information that was not recorded
in the system.
Working around the limitations of the technologies had been possible when
the sales volume and number of clients was small, but with the expansion of the
company the situation had become unacceptable. Management felt that it was
time to implement a comprehensive CRM strategy with integrated technology
specific to the needs of their financial divisions (both the mutual fund and the
asset management sides). The three companies under the umbrella of Mashkin
shared the same objectives for their new CRM approach:
1. To provide superior service to customers in addition to the benefit of
the core product;
2. To identify, focus on and retain key customers;
3. To develop customer’s profiles; and
4. To improve managerial decisions and workflow.
The desired (and expected) outcome of the new strategic approach, which
included the internal reorganization of the use of resources, was increased
productivity through faster access to comprehensive client records; faster
response to customer needs; better reporting and analytical capabilities; reducing
duplication of efforts; and gaining data manipulation capabilities.
In order to deal with the complex issues of identification and
implementation of the appropriate CRM program, a CRM taskforce was formed
consisting of managerial level employees. While large firms have the resources
required to buy comprehensive custom systems, smaller firms are often forced to
use low cost, off-the-shelf products, modify products developed for other firms,
or build a system in-house; and in Mashkin’s situation, budgetary constraints
prohibited the outright purchase of a fully integrated custom system. An outside
CRM consultant was hired to assist in the program and help select an off-theshelf, integrated system for
use throughout the firm. Working with the
consultant’s input, the task force determined the strategy for the implementation
process including software requirements, vendor selection, budget, project
timeframe, personnel involved and user training. After months of comparing
programs that could be adapted to the unique needs of the companies within
Mashkin, one was selected that was successfully in use by a similar, but larger,
firm. Mashkin finally committed to a chosen CRM system and the software
licenses were purchased. The IT department ensured that all networks for the
new CRM program were in place. The new system was populated with current
data that was transferred from the old databases. In order to minimize risk, the
old systems were left in place to run parallel with the newly installed CRM
Despite careful planning Mashkin faced major challenges during the project
implementation. The cost of the new CRM system implementation turned out to
be substantially greater than was budgeted. Controversial issues concerning cost
overruns began surfacing at every board meeting.
In the process of data transfer tens of thousands of client files with contact
notes and client profiles were transferred and aggregated, without regard to their
chronology. This lack of chronology meant users had to scroll through years of
notes to locate recent entries and move them near the top of the file in order to
render them useable. The files most affected were those of long-time clients,
many of whom had done business with the firm for 10 or more years. These
clients had lengthy files that were made cumbersome and difficult to navigate as a
result of the data transfer. Among the users, those doing heavy sales volume and
those attempting to glean useable data out of the scrambled files were affected
most. User efficiencies in this less-than-optimal system declined further.
Another shortcoming was user training. The firm provided on-line training
of sales personnel in the new CRM system, but the system was based on on-demand user training and
there was no structure in place that ensured employees
completed the training instead of merely employing it as a “Help” system. As
employees left and new ones replaced them training deteriorated to an associate
spending a few minutes demonstrating the system to a new employee, who was
ultimately left to figure it out on their own. While an integrated CRM application
specific to the financial industry was implemented, financial advisors and
salespeople were not utilizing it. The end users preferred to rely on old
technologies and juggled different applications instead of using the newly
installed, comprehensive CRM system. Ultimately, the outcome of the CRM
implementation at Mashkin was completely the opposite of what management
envisioned with end results of employee confusion, wasted money and lost time.
Basic Steps to Your Case Write-ups
All Sections
No unread replies. No replies.
1. State the problem (or situation)
2. Develop alternatives
3. State pros and cons of each alternative
4. Select an alternative
5. State how to implement your chosen alternative (this should be the bulk of the case analysis)

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