Bruno is currently the director of information systems of a Lausanne-based humanitarian organization. He started his career at Hewlett Packard and then held various positions in multinational companies (PwC, Reuters) before joining the education world (IMD, EHL). He has been working in finance,
marketing, management consulting, and, now, IT. He is still teaching at an engineering school in Switzerland.
Since the late 1990s, organisations have been increasingly investing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to support their sales, marketing and customer service operations. Despite the significant growth in the acquisition of CRM systems and the widely accepted concepts of a CRM strategy, academics and practitioners repeatedly point to the high failure rates of CRM initiatives. Improving CRM systems’ use can provide organisations with considerable benefits. However, limited research has been directed towards understanding post-adoption CRM systems usage behaviour. This is an important and topical subject at a time when CRM has edged past Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) as the top application software investment priority and is expected to drive Enterprise System (ES) spending in 2013 and 2014. Using a multiple case study design methodology and Grounded Theory (GT) as the data collection and analysis technique, this process study strives to accomplish four primary research objectives. Firstly, it proposes a post-adoption CRM system usage process consisting of three phases (adaptation, exploitation, and benefits realization) and seven sub-phases (training assimilation, basic functionality discovery, basic functionality appropriation, advanced functionality discovery and appropriation, individual productivity enhancement, individual job objectives achievement, and company business objectives achievement) along which individual CRM system users can be placed. Secondly, it identifies ten misfit types (communication, supervision, user support, skill sets, commitment, functionality, data, strategy, organisation, and IT/business alignment) explaining for usage discrepancy among the user population. Thirdly, it looks at the evolution of those ten misfit types, and finds that their influence varies across the three post-adoption usage phases. For example, tool related misfits (e.g. functionality) appear early but tend to disappear by the end of the adaptation phase or the beginning of the exploitation phase, while company related misfits (e.g. communication of benefits, silo organisation) appear later in the exploitation phase, but seem to widen over time and significantly impact usage when not appropriately addressed. Finally, it identifies the organisation’s leadership style as a potential root cause explaining for CRM system usage behaviour.