Description of Objectives and Success Factors of Mobile CRM Projects
Matthias Hartel, Rebecca Bulander
Institute AIFB, University of Karlsruhe, Englerstr. 11, 76 128 Karlsruhe, Germany
Keywords: Mobile Customer Relationship Management, CRM, Objectives, Success Factors, mCRM-Projects.
Abstract: Mobile Customer Relationship Management (mCRM) frames the interface between business and client by
supporting mobile actors using mobile terminals with mobile business processes. Experiences from the
CRM background show difficulties in the implementation phase. Two reasons are responsible for these
difficulties: poor execution of the project and unattainable project objectives. Therefore achievable
objectives and success factors of mCRM projects are identified in this article, analysing scientific
publications and best-practice cases. Initially the potential project objectives are discovered. Following the
success factors of mCRM projects are determined and finally the achieved goals in projects are ascertained.
Within commercial environments the significance of
the interface between a company and their clients
increases. Customer Relationship Management
(CRM) “is the infrastructure that enables the deline-
ation of and increase in customer value, and the
correct means by which to motivate valuable
customers to remain loyal – indeed, to buy again”
(Dyché 2002, p. 4). Information and communication
systems are employed to enhance the customer
relation and to standardise the CRM activities and
processes. Mobile CRM is a term for CRM systems
integrating actors using mobile terminals. In terms
of our research mobile terminals are mobile hand-
held devices like cellular phones, PDAs and
Smartphones but also on-board vehicle computers or
notebooks. Mobile CRM (mCRM) expands the
channels of CRM to the customer (Sundararajan
2002) and assists both actors of CRM – employees
and customers using mobile terminals via public and
private communication networks. In mCRM
scenarios employees (e. g. field manager gets mobile
access to customer information) and/or customers
(e. g. customer receives flight information on his
cellular phone) are in the state of being mobile
(Hampe & Schwabe 2002). In the mobile state the
mobile actor is not located within its homelike
In the course of so-called mCRM projects
mCRM is implemented in businesses. They consist
of defining the strategy and the activities of mCRM,
launching a mCRM system to back-up the mCRM
activities and audit the success of the executed
activities. The status of the implementation of
mCRM in businesses is at its initial stage as shown
in the research of Salomann et al. (2005). Experi-
ences from the CRM-background exhibit the danger
of project-failure. Several studies (e. g. Thomson et.
al, 2002; IOMA, 2003) document the failure of
CRM projects in the past. To prevent mCRM pro-
jects from failing it seems reasonable to inspect the
success of the projects.
Pinto & Prescott (1990) give planning and tactics
as dimensions for project success. Insufficient
planning may inhibit that the desired added value is
not achievable by the project itself. Consequently,
the reachable objectives have to be defined.
Mistakes in tactics affect the project execution.
For a proper project execution the project’s success
factors must be kept in mind. Therefore, the subject
of this article is to discuss reachable objectives and
success factors of mCRM projects individually.
The article is organized as follows: The second
chapter deals with the applied research method. In
chapter three the empirical results of the research
method are outlined. A summary and an outlook are
provided in the last chapter.
Hartel M. and Bulander R. (2006).
SUCCESS FACTORS OF MOBILE CRM PROJECTS AN OVERVIEW - Description of Objectives and Success Factors of Mobile CRM Projects.
In Proceedings of the International Conference on e-Business, pages 306-312
DOI: 10.5220/0001428203060312
2.1 Literature Review
Management projects such as mCRM projects can
be considered as a “sequences of events” with three
different stages (see figure 1): Development,
implementation and evaluation (Packendorff, 1995).
Figure 1: Generic sequences of a mCRM project
(according to Packendorff, 1995)
In the development stage the corporate environ-
ment is analysed, the objectives are defined and the
business units as well as the products are planned
(Kotler & Bliemel, 2001). Objectives are imagina-
tive statements about aspired future conditions (Kuß
& Tomczak, 2002). The stated condition has to be
measurable and changeable (Homburg & Bruhn,
2000). Objectives related to mobile CRM are part of
the corporate set of objectives and have to be
achieved by the mCRM project. An objective is
considered as successful when its measurable target
value was accomplished.
During the implementation stage the planned
objectives of the development phase are executed
and controlled (Hippner, 2004). The success factors
of the project have to be kept in mind in this stage.
Success factors “are those few things that must go
well to ensure the success for a manager or an
organization” (Boyton and Zmund, 1984). The re-
search on success factors has been actively pursued.
Originally the research referred to the identification
of global factors as attempted in the PIMS study
(Neubauer, 1999). From 1990 on researchers began
to look for success factors within market strategies
(Fritz, 1990). Nowadays the quest for success factors
is limited to particular corporate activities (Alt et al.
2004; Belout et al. 2004). Success factors of mCRM
projects have not yet been identified.
Finally in the evaluation phase the project has to
be evaluated. Project impacts and acquired results
have to be measured against the objective settings
and actions of adjustment have to be taken (Hahn,
Salomann et al. (2005) interrogated 89 decision
makers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Only a
minority of the survey’s respondents (9 %) have
already completed a mCRM project, whereas 60 %
are introducing or planning to introduce mobile
CRM in their company. This indicates that mCRM
projects are at their initial stage. Previous projects
with CRM background confirm minor success rates
(Kemp, 2001; Thomson et. al, 2002; IMOA, 2003;
Unknown author, 2004). The reasons for the project
failures can be assigned to the following three areas:
Technical aspects of the implementation of the
CRM system. The system or application com-
plexity can be too advanced for the use of later
Deficient description of CRM activities. Com-
panies stagger often how to realize CRM in an
appropriate way for their business.
Lack of project management. Coordination and
organisation of the project are often executed
2.2 Key Questions and Methodical
Up to now observed mistakes only accounted for the
implementation stage of a project. However failure
of projects can also be caused during the de-
velopment or the evaluation stage. In the develop-
ment stage unfeasible objectives can be defined. In
the evaluation phase the control of the effectiveness
of the projects can be left out. Therefore the key
questions of this article are:
Which objectives can be theoretically and prac-
tically reached with a mCRM project?
Which factors need to be considered in order to
implement the project successfully?
In order to answer these questions, three steps in
accordance to the three sequences of management
projects have to be conducted.
The first step is to identify the potential objec-
tives of a mCRM project. An extensive review on
literature concerning the objectives of CRM and
mCRM shall lead to this.
Secondly the success factors of mCRM projects
have been ascertained by a secondary analysis of 65
recent scientific publications from Europe and USA.
The publications were derived through enquiries of
information databases such as EBSCO and Science-
Direct as well as of available studies and publi-
cations referring to mCRM and CRM. The key
words of the research have been expressions repre-
senting success factors or obstacles in CRM or
mCRM projects. The publications are based on both
conceptual and empirical research. The success
factors were determined by the quantitative fre-
quency of mentions according to the procedure of
Implementation Evaluation
SUCCESS FACTORS OF MOBILE CRM PROJECTS – AN OVERVIEW - Description of Objectives and Success
Factors of Mobile CRM Projects
Fritz (1990). Fritz carried out a literature analysis to
find success factors for corporate prosperity.
The third step is to identify achieved goals in
completed mCRM projects by a further secondary
analysis. Analysed were 62 best-practice cases of
mCRM projects in Europe, USA and Asia. The
cases extensively comment the course of events and
the outcome of each project. The absolute frequency
of occurred successes was recorded. The successes
deduced the formulation of reached objectives.
3.1 Potential Objectives
The possible objectives of the mCRM project were
derived from a review of over 100 publications
dealing with CRM and mCRM. According to Diller
(2002) the objectives in marketing can be sorted into
a system of objectives. They consist of performance,
interaction, customer, market and income objectives
(see figure 2). The performance objectives refer to
inner corporate activities. They are composed of
reductions in process time and costs as well as
advancements of employee productivity, data quality
and coordination of tasks. Further performance
objectives are a precise function of the mCRM
system as well as improved employee satisfaction.
Interaction objectives deal with the customer
relation. Among these are the offering of novel
services, the integration of order processing
elements and the option that the customer overtakes
parts of business processes (e. g. customer
information, sales process). Both interaction and
performance objectives support the customer objec-
tives which have impact on the market objectives.
These are retention of existing and acquisition of
new customers. The customer objectives support the
market objectives composed of increased revenues,
rise of market share and improved competitiveness.
The market and performance objectives affect the
income objective resulting in higher profits. Figure 2
shows the possible objectives of mCRM projects.
Interaction objectives
Re-acquisition of customers
Termination of unprofitable business
Offering of novel services
Customer takes over parts of the
Integration of elements of the order
Market objectives
Increased revenue
Rise of market share
Improved competitiveness
Income objective
Increase of profit
Customer objectives
Customer retention
Aquisition of new customers
Performance objectives
Process time savings
Elevated productivity due to superior
Cost reductions
Improved data quality
Precise functionality of the mCRM-system
Advanced activity coordination
Employee satisfaction with the mCRM-
Figure 2: Potential objectives of mCRM projects.
3.2 Success Factors of mCRM
We identified 65 relevant publications which
mentioned 450 times one out of 31 different success
factors. The mentioned factors can be divided into
three categories that have been responsible for pro-
ject failure:
Project management
Processes and activities
Technical factors
Other factors were only stated four times in
publications and can therefore be neglected. The
success factors with project management back-
ground were mentioned 161 times. Those factors
need to be considered when the mCRM is not an
extension of a CRM project but entirely novel.
Factors related to processes were stated 177
times and those with technical background 108
times. Process and technical factors were mentioned
especially by publications based on conceptual re-
Altogether, 12 critical success factors were
detected. These factors were mentioned by at least
18 % of the databases and have a special relation to
mCRM. The following factors deal with project
Interdisciplinary project team. The team imple-
menting the mCRM system has to incorporate
marketing and IT specialists. This team has to
work together intensively.
Involvement of later users. Later users (front
office personnel, field service, customers) have
special insight into what is needed for
successful mCRM. Therefore they have to be
involved in the implementation procedure at an
early stage.
Sufficient project resources. The project team
needs to be equipped with sufficient skills and
know-how as well as financial and human re-
Top management backup. The support and the
encouragement of the executive board is essen-
tial to prevail changes in business processes.
The following four success factors are related to
mCRM processes:
Customer-oriented processes. The activities of
mCRM should be connected to the customer
buying cycle. This process consists of stimu-
lation, evaluation, purchase and after-sales.
Process customising. The mCRM activities
need to be customised and standardised accor-
ding to specific needs of both customers and
Customer analysis. Before the proper activities
of mCRM are executed, the data of the custo-
mer base needs to be integrated into the system
and wisely analysed.
Mobile process. The mCRM activities must
bear utility on customer and vendor. The mobile
interface needs to be interactive, emotional and
Technical success factors are as follows:
Technical integration of the system. Any error
in the mCRM-system has an impact on the
customer relation. Therefore the system must be
carefully integrated.
Mobile application and service. The mobile
application is to be usable with clear menu navi-
gation. The mobile service needs to be fun-
Selection of mCRM system. The system and the
mobile hardware need to be carefully selected.
Transfer requirements. The transfer of data
must be stable and safe.
Figure 3 indicates the relative frequencies of the
mentioned success factors.
Int erd iscip linar y p ro ject t eam
Invo lvement o f l at er user s
Suf f icient p ro ject reso urces
To p management b ackup
Project management
Customer-oriented processes
Process Customising
Cust o mer analysis
Mobile process
18 %
Technical integration of the system
M obile application and service
Selection of mCRM system
Transf er req uir ements
Figure 3: Relative frequencies of the mentioned success
3.3 Reached Objectives in the
mCRM Projects
The 62 best-practice cases could be divided
according to which actor of the mCRM scenario was
in the state of being mobile: the employee who want
to sell products and services and/or the customer.
In the majority of cases (43) the employee was
mobile. In those cases the field service was visiting
the customer at his homelike infrastructure. Through
mCRM the field service was better informed and
more productive. The result was a reduction in costs
and process time. In 18 cases the customer was mo-
bile and used mobile services. The customer was
able to request these services autonomously. There-
by the acquisition of new customers is enhanced as
well as the retention of existing customers. In one
case both actors were being mobile. In this case a
novel service was offered and supported by mem-
bers of the field service. mCRM activities can be
categorized into marketing, sales and service activi-
ties which have activities concerning the customers
and the contact to the customers. Marketing activi-
ties support the identification of new customers.
Those new customers are yielded to demand inde-
pendently. The effect is an increase in revenue.
mCRM marketing activities are conducted by com-
panies of the production sector. Sales activities sup-
port field service and mobile customers to encourage
the sale of product or service. If the customer is
mobile, novel services are offered. The customer is
supposed to follow the sales process as independent-
ly as possible. The field service is supported with
better information. This reduces time and costs and
SUCCESS FACTORS OF MOBILE CRM PROJECTS – AN OVERVIEW - Description of Objectives and Success
Factors of Mobile CRM Projects
increases data quality and employee motivation. The
mCRM service process encourages customers to
repurchase. Existing services are provided to mobile
customers. The customer requests the service inde-
pendently. This is reducing cost and process cycle
time at the company. Additionally the field service is
linked to the company. The main target is to increase
maintenance or service activities at the customer site
in order to drive more business.
Of the 18 originally identified potential objec-
tives were 13 actually met in projects. Among these
are all of the performance objectives:
Process time savings. Due to more efficient
field service and better information inside the
company, process time is reduced.
Improved productivity. The field service can be
supplied with information about customers and
products through the mobile device. Therefore
productivity rises.
Improved data quality. Either the client or the
field service create and modify customer data.
This enhances the quality of the material.
Cost reductions. The process savings and the
fact that the customer performs parts of the
process is reducing costs.
Functionality of the mCRM system. Due to the
interface function of mCRM the customer
registers every inconsistency of the mCRM
system. Therefore mistakes must be avoided.
Advanced activity coordination. The field ser-
vice can be better coordinated through mobile
Employee satisfaction. The later users of the
system must be satisfied with the changes in
business processes.
Furthermore three interaction objectives can be
Novel services. Novel services can be offered to
customers by mobilising existing services or by
creating new mobile services.
Overtaking of process parts. Process parts or
entire processes such as the sales process can be
conducted by the customer.
Elements of the order processing. The field
service can handle elements of the order pro-
cessing such as payment, order confirmation
and availability check at the customer’s loca-
Performance and interaction objectives assist the
customer objectives:
Customer retention. Better information about
customers helps to keep a good relationship
with customers. This results in higher revenues
per customer and more frequent repurchases.
Customer acquisition. mCRM marketing ac-
tivities help identifying new customers.
The market objective is as follows:
Increased revenue. Due to retention and acqui-
sition of customers revenues rise.
Figure 4 shows the reachable objectives as result
of the second analysis.
Interaction objectives
Re-acquisition of customers
Termination of unprofitable business
Offering of novel services
Customer takes over parts of the
Integration of elements of the order
Market objectives
Increased revenue
Rise of market share
Improved competitiveness
Income objective
Increase of profit
Customer objectives
Customer retention
Aquisition of new customers
Performance objectives
Process time savings
Elevated productivity due to superior
Cost reductions
Improved data quality
Precise functionality of the mCRM-system
Advanced activity coordination
Employee satisfaction with the mCRM-
Figure 4: Reachable objectives of mCRM projects.
Uncertain is whether profits ascend through
mCRM (income objective). The rise of market share
as well as improved competitiveness can not be met
with mCRM projects. Furthermore, re-acquisition of
customers and the termination of unprofitable busi-
ness relations are not reachable objectives of mCRM
4.1 Summary
In this article success factors and objectives of
mCRM projects were empirically determined by
secondary research. Our two analyses led to the
formulation of 12 success factors and 13 objectives.
Success factors of mCRM projects: Successful
mCRM projects need to pay attention to project
management, processes and technology. Within
the project management the project team has to
be interdisciplinary and has to incorporate later
users. Top management and sufficient resources
must back up the project. Process specific
success factors are that mCRM-activities have
to be customised and need to refer to the
customer buying cycle. Additionally, customer
data is to be analysed and requirements of the
mobile process need to be considered. Technical
success factors are the diligent selection and
integration of the mCRM system as well as the
consideration of technical requirements regar-
ding transfer, application and service.
Objectives of mCRM: Reachable objectives of
mCRM projects are customer, market, inter-
action and performance objectives. Customer
objectives deal with acquisition of new and
retention of existing customers. The market ob-
jective is to increase revenues. The interaction
objectives offer of new services to the customer
and shifts business activities to the customer
through mCRM. Therefore, the customer can
overtake and execute independently activities
such as the sales process. Elements of the order
processing could be carried out at the custo-
mer’s location. Finally the company’s perfor-
mance is enhanced through mCRM projects due
to improved productivity of employees, reduced
costs and process time, better coordination of
activities and a functional mCRM-system.
4.2 Outlook
Since objectives and success factors of mCRM
projects are disclosed, causal connections between
and within objectives and success factors are further
areas of research. Moreover, the process specific
success factors were held quite general due to the
fact that there were no restraints concerning products
or industries. A sharper formulation of these success
factors is wishful. Finally, our analysis could neither
assure nor decline the effectiveness of mCRM to
increase the profit of companies. This aspect how-
ever is of high interest to decision makers of future
mCRM projects.
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SUCCESS FACTORS OF MOBILE CRM PROJECTS – AN OVERVIEW - Description of Objectives and Success
Factors of Mobile CRM Projects