Trial without error

Of all challenges faced during IT projects, user resistance can be the most difficult to solve.

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By  Brid-Aine Conway Published  July 26, 2008

Of all challenges faced during IT projects, user resistance can be the most difficult to solve. Mada Communications found the best way through this trial was to figure the users into the project from the start.

Time and time again, it is the users' resistance to change that can make the difference between success and failure (or delay) for an IT project. As users take time to adapt to the new system, the promised returns on investment are held back by weeks, months or even years - particularly when the time is not taken to prepare the staff for change and then to train them.

Kuwait-based Mada Communications (formerly Arab Telecom) looked into this challenge when evaluating its options for a CRM system, and made ease of use one of its main criteria.

"One of the features I like to mention about Microsoft CRM is that it is easy to use," says sales and marketing director, Shahad Ibrahim. "You know, when you get people, especially sales and marketing people, together with a new application and system, it's very well known that they have this resistance to any new application. But it is the advantage of the Microsoft CRM that it has the same interface as Microsoft Outlook, so they don't feel like it is different.

As well as ensuring that the new CRM system would be familiar and easy for the staff to use, Ibrahim also valued the input from Microsoft partner, Bluelink.

As Mada's implementation partner for the project, Bluelink assured the employees that getting to know the new system would be a worthwhile enterprise for them.

"Bluelink did a good thing for us, which was to gather all the staff that would be using this system and show them the benefits of the system and how it would save them time and effort. When they had been acknowledged and they knew that ok, the system in the beginning would be a bit hard - because of updating the data and using a new system - they also knew that after the full implementation of the system it would be very efficient for them, really save them time and effort and all the data would be there," Ibrahim explains.

An important factor in the choice of partner for Mada was that the company it chose could be there to deliver such presentations.

"We researched the partners and came up with information on companies that specialised in CRM, and we knew that Bluelink was a Microsoft partner here in Kuwait. And in my personal opinion - and my managers agree with me on this - I'd like to have somebody here in Kuwait, it's easier and much more cost-effective - especially when it's an application that needs so much customisation," says Ibrahim.

Two years ago, Mada came to the conclusion that it would need a CRM system to supplement the in-house portal it already used, according to Ibrahim: "Before we were using an in-house portal to manage all our connections and clients and we found that, with our growth, we really do need something more efficient like a CRM to manage our client dealings, invoicing, and to be more efficient because we are expanding our customer base.

"We felt that we needed such a technology because our business and our customer base were expanding and we needed something to monitor this - without a CRM you cannot monitor this, you cannot just manually go customer name by customer name and calculate their length of contract and their services," she adds.

A brief history

"Arab Telecom Company was established in 1984 and the major activity at that time was communications consultancy with the Ministry of Communication in Kuwait.

In 1997, we were awarded the wireless broadband licence from the Ministry of Communication here in Kuwait and we established the first wireless broadband network, not only in Kuwait but in the region and it was state of the art technology, it was even new to the technology world.

We have been commercial since 2000, selling our wireless and broadband connectivity with high bandwidth to the private sector in Kuwait - to banks, financial institutions, government - who are seeking a fully reliable and efficient kind of media," says Shahad Ibrahim, sales and managing director of Mada Communications.

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