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Getting Requirements Right the First Time

As business systems analysts, our primary function is to elicit and document solution requirements. We start with broad business objectives. Secondly, we narrow in on specific marketing objectives. Finally, we get to the heart of the CRM solution, working with various stakeholders, end users, and colleagues to fully understand and document the solution requirements — both business and functional.

As a capability, we’ve become very good at this. Our experience, training, templates, and methodology allow us to work efficiently and effectively. Whether approaching a new solution from scratch, a large change to an existing solution, or simply a new data feed, the business systems analysis discipline is a critical and effective component of the delivery team.

Companies often ask what critical elements they should consider as they embark on implementing marketing technology solutions with their preferred partners. As you work with your implementation partners, there are three important areas that you should ensure their requirements team is addressing to meet the ever-changing demands of data-driven marketing solutions: consulting, vertical expertise, and functional specialization.

1. Consulting

It is no longer sufficient — and hasn’t been for a while — to conduct interviews and requirements workshops and expect the stakeholders to know exactly what they want when asked. The reality is that our customers don’t know what they don’t know. More and more we hear from our customers, “you folks are the experts, what do you think we should do?” While this may be a given within the realms of strategy and creative consulting, it is no less true when it comes to technology solutions. It is important for your partner to be more prescriptive in their approach and have options ready to talk through in an effort to combine their experience with your specific objectives.

2. Vertical Expertise

Data-driven marketing looks different across industries, from retail to insurance to financial services. Ensure your partner is aligned vertically, and is able to staff solution teams that know your unique business, know your customer base, and know best practices specific to the industry.

3. Functional Specialization

Functional specialization is also an important aspect. What does this mean? The role of a business systems analyst intersects and supports all components of a technology solution. Data integration, identity management, campaign management, business intelligence, response attribution, and digital systems integration are all deep functional domains in their own right. Having specialized knowledge within the teams ensures the component expertise is there to support a consultative approach to driving the requirements process — the most successful implementations involved requirements teams who are aligned to these functional domains.

The depth, breadth, and complexity of CRM solutions demand that we rise to meet challenges in a way that benefits our clients and creates world-class solutions. These are just a few of the ways in which we are developing competencies and expertise in order to best service the industry, and ultimately our clients