The goal of the SMILE project was to define a methodology for an incremental and iterative introduction of a CRM (Customer Relations Management) system in small and medium enterprises. The method is independent of the used CRM system and was evaluated through 12 projects throughout Europe.The goal of the SMILE project was to define a methodology for an incremental and iterative introduction of a CRM (Customer Relations Management) system in small and medium enterprises. The method is independent of the used CRM system and was evaluated through 12 projects throughout Europe.
The SMILE project consisted of three phases:
- The survey and its analysis. This study is the result of a survey over 144 CRM providers, 154 companies using a CRM system and 40 companies having the intention to introduce a CRM system shortly. The data were gathered in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland. The result was a report with important recommendations and findings for the introduction of a CRM system. The two most important findings were: the fast introduction of a first version of a CRM system to let the customers get acquainted with the new approach and the provision of an appropriate training.
- The definition of a methodology. The results of the survey and its analysis, combined with the experience of the SMILE partners have lead to a SMILE methodology, described in detail in a handbook. It contains workflow diagrams for the activities (performed by the end users and the CRM provider) during the introduction of a CRM system, but also templates for several documents to be created during the course of the project. It also contains checklists for each part of the projects and clearly defines the roles of each participant (end user of provider).
- The evaluation using real projects. The SMILE method was applied on 12 projects distributed over Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy and Switzerland. During this phase, the methodology was evaluated and also refined. The most important conclusion was that the introduction of a CRM system is optimal when done in a few cycli (typical 1 to 3), each of which are short (maximum 2 months) and with a period in between them. All projects were quite successful and this was mainly due to the close cooperation between the provider and the end user (i.e. the customer), which is strongly supproted by the SMILE method.
The coordinator of the SMILE project was CAS Software AG (Germany) and the partners were CAD Rechenzentrum AG (Switserland), Emphasis (Greece), E2S n.v. (Belgium), Infoworld (Italy), University of Stuttgart IAT (Germany) and Kaleidoscope Consultants Ltd. (Ireland).
E2S uses the SMILE method in the realization of its Microsoft Dynamics CRM projects.