Outcomes Measurement = An Important Discussion that Needs to be Actioned

Outcomes Measurement = An Important Discussion that Needs to be Actioned

I remember the day and I definitely remember the guy. Nick Haney’s on the phone talking about CRM but for a different purpose. He was talking about client management and he was looking for a way to track outcomes and to measure the difference that his organisation is making in people’s lives. Wow I thought – this is awesome!

I was fascinated and excitedly set a time to meet with Nick. In my preparation for our  meeting I researched the organisation and gained an understanding of the services provided by this Not-for-Profit which included programs that encompassed working with children with an disability. As the father of Kate, born with Down syndrome, and having increasingly become involved in pro-bono work with Not-for-Profit’s, I could not wait to talk to Nick to understand more.

I still remember how I felt walking out of the meeting after Nick had introduced me to a whole different way of thinking. He talked about this guy Mark Friedman and his book Trying Hard is Not Good Enough” and this approach Results-Based Accountability™ (RBA). This thinking was so compelling and made such good sense. Armed with an understanding of the goals, current situation of the organisation and the capabilities they required for an outcomes focused client management system I wondered if trying to customise a generic CRM to meet this need was the right answer.

This was to be first of many meetings and discussion with Nick – deep often passionate discussions about how technology could support this RBA approach. Nick ultimately left this organisation and I never ended up providing a solution but by that time Nick had started me on a journey of discovery in how to apply technology to operationalise this outcomes based approach.

And that’s the great thing that Nick provided me with – an insight and way of looking at things that took me beyond just a discussion on “Outcomes Measurement”. My reflections come after 5 years and hundreds of meetings and discussions with:

  • Some of the leading thinkers around outcomes both locally and internationally
  • Organisations that had formed a Community of Practice
  • Organisations that aspired to and achieved Outcomes Management
  • Board members and executives struggling on where to start
  • Communities and some “leaders” that talked and theorised a lot but just never got started

Just as I had experienced in adopting the concept of CRM in the For Profit world what developed was two very different paths an results, based on how people and organisations tackled this problem. The challenge for Social Good organisations was rooted in the challenge that I saw in poor performing organisations in the For Profit sector. There was a disconnect between the aspirations, the mission/vision of the organisation, and how things were actually being done on the ground. It manifested itself with a lot of good people with great intentions not achieving the impact that they were capable of because there was no compass to guide their work.

This was where the road became divided as for some organisations the discussion is all about the measurement and just as in the For Profit sector the domain of slow moving, consultant led projects stuck in theory that seem to be all talk but with limited clarity and poor execution.

What transpired for me and was the link between what I had seen be successful in the For Profits and what was needed in Social Good organisations in applying technology. It was all about operationalising the process, ingraining it into the day to day, engaging with it, reporting and analysing it, talking about it, acting on it, living it, improving it and using it beyond the boundaries of their own organisation in how they worked with others.

The simple analogy that many would have seen can be identified as follows:

  • A CRM implementation that is effectively a glorified address book and often “automated chaos” that resulted from a lack of clarity and simplification
  • A CRM that been implemented based on a deep understanding of complex processes where time has been taken to create clarity and simply the complex processes:
    • Identification of 4-5 headline measures in each key area
    • Consideration on how people, teams and organisations collaborate
    • Change management that combines respect for the work of the front-line staff whilst addressing the data driven or evidence based approaches that are so critical to sustaining the work
    • A deeper understanding of the why or in RBA speak:
      • How much did we do?
      • How well did we do it?
      • Is anyone better off?

Through all of this I realised that the most successful projects that I had seen across my 30 years of applying technology to solve problems, effect actionable change and achieve sustainable improvement, and this was a certain way of thinking identified by the RBA as “Turn the Curve” thinking.

“Once you identify the most powerful measure(s) to improve, RBA provides a step-by-step process to get from ends to means.”

My intention in writing this piece is to cut through what I what I envisage as being the clear road block to the significant systems change that is so needed and so close at hand with the technology available to support. Boards, management and staff alike need to educate themselves on this way off thinking and to just get started on operationalising Outcomes Measurement, and not just talking about it.

So take up the batton, let’s continue the discussion, find a Community of Practice like the Blackbaud Ecosystem of Social Good and … let’s just get started.

Outcomes Management = Operationalising Outcome Measurement = Results and Impact

Outcomes Measurement = An Important Discussion that Needs to be Actioned

PS. To assist your journey another great resource is Leap of Reason.


Disruptive Technologies Create the Perfect Storm in the For Purpose Sector

Disruptive Technologies Create the Perfect Storm in the For Purpose Sector

I was reading the McKinsey Report – McKinsey: The $33 Trillion Technology Payoff “A gallery of disruptive technologies” – and thinking these disruptive technologies can create a perfect storm in the For Purpose (= NFP) sector.

Mobile Internet

Smartphone penetration in Australia will reach 84% by the end of 2013.

  • It’s amazing when using public transport – everyone is on a mobile device!
  • How common is it that people are surfing and scanning their mobile devices whilst watching TV, sport etc.
  • This is not just the domain of the younger generation – think of the liberation for us 50+ and increasingly and importantly those with a disability and the disadvantaged who can have their world opened up.

Then further the latest research says that 64% of smartphone owners are now using their mobile devices to shop online, a number that has quadrupled since June 2010.

Putting this all together there is a tremendous opportunity that For Purpose organisations have to ride this wave – to utilise existing, simple to use, fit for purpose supporter engagement/donor management systems to drive.

Automation of Knowledge Work

Social Impact, Measuring Impact, Collective Impact are the buzz words that are accompanying the NDIS.

Another great opportunity in the For Purpose sector is to utilise technology to not only simplying and streamline the capture of information or “touch-points” but to turn this into impact based reporting for funders. The Mobile Internet again plays an important enabling role in reducing the cost and complexity of traditional applications in this space.

Over the coming weeks I will share some stories, case studies and potential risks based on what’s possible in the here and now.


The KURINGGAI CHASE – a run for a cause.

The KURINGGAI CHASE – a run for a cause.

At the beginning of last year I got together with Barry Easy OAM and we formed an idea to create a local fun run and walk that would bring together the community that supported the Special Olympics Upper North Shore program. Backed by Barry’s great vision and experience I took up chairing the organising committee and was quickly joined by my son Josh on the committee, looking after event operations. The event is on the 17th March at North Wahroonga – less than 2 weeks to go!

The KURINGGAI CHASE helps raise awareness and much needed funds to continue to:

  • Run our weekly schools program where we encourage and assist children with an intellectual disability to take the first steps to participate and become active in sport.
  • Our weekly sports program that provides the 1 on 1 coaching needed to build confidence and develop the skills for greater independence.
  • Provide pathways for competition or to simply participate in regular sport to promote an active, healthy lifestyle and a feeling of belonging as part of the local community.

Belinda Loves to Run is just one story of the difference the programs make.

The program not only provides great outcomes as described above for our kids, but for young adults like my daughter Kate, it provides an important opportunity to maintain and develop friendships and independence – Kate finished school last year and as well as doing job placements has started working as a volunteer coach for the schools program which is pretty cool. That’s Kate in the picture – on the far left.

I hope you can assist in some way by participating, by sponsoring my family team, the “Sydney Simmo’s” or Liking us on Facebook.

We have used the best possible technology for Not For Profits from Blackbaud for this event in Everyday Hero Peer2Peer fundraising and eTapestry CRM.


To register or find more information please go to www.kuringgaichase.com.au.

IMG - Version 2

It seems that many users say they get little value from their company’s CRM.

This topic tends to polarise peoples thinking – perhaps the fact many organisation do get little value has been proliferated by the “CRM is easy – getting it up and running is a snap – no software – just log onto the cloud and have a crack – you can do most of it yourself” messaging. This might be the case for experienced hands but for the inexperienced that lack guidance, its no wonder CRM gets a bad wrap.

So are there better ways that will deliver consistently GREAT value from CRM?

I’ve never had a CRM which helps me with this …Best Practice Process… though – they are all too rigid, demand too much time and deliver too little insight.

A good CRM design will deliver more time to adopt and apply best practice methodologies which in turn will provide more accurate forecasts and improved outcomes.

A scenario based on the CustomerCentricSelling approach would go – use champion letters 100% of the time to document conversations on goals, roadblocks to achieving, impact of not achieving, mission or capabilities required and the potential impact. Emailing this after meetings/discussions and using email integration means these summaries get automatically logged into the CRM. As the process progresses these are quickly and easily consolidated into a Summary of Findings which again get attached to the CRM opportunity as a by-product of emailing.

With some discipline in updating opportunities/proposals the CRM provides everything at users finger tips to streamline meeting and presentation preparation, proposal generation and to manage next steps and progression.

Good design goes hand in hand with good process – but don’t over complicate it.

Current CRM seems to be used an historical recording system that requires too much effort from too many people.

Traditionally CRM was about entering information – whilst there still needs to be a commitment to enter accurate information the ability use workflow, action tracks, business process management – call it what you will – streamlines basic processes and improves communication across the organisation. This can save a lot of time on the basic tasks freeing people up to do what they love doing and are paid to do – and to help motivate. It also keeps finance, marketing and management happy as a result. It’s simple but it’s not easy – it requires GREAT design and guidance from experienced people.

CRM is only as good as the design that MUST be a priority at the beginning of every CRM project – led by those experienced in successful CRM outcomes in a specific sector.

Too many implementations miss this and a symptom is that it is of little value and used for historical record keeping.

However with good design, CRM can streamline processes, improve communications and leverage a broader set of relationships that adds value to the whole organisation.

Ultimately it can help people do the right things at the right time to achieve an outcome – in less time.

How does “seamless CRM integration” improve performance?

How does “seamless CRM integration” improve performance?

Well truth is I don’t think it does! For years I have seen people hung up on the holy grail of information flowing seamlessly from their ERP (or any other system for that matter) to their CRM system – and back again in many cases. Some have been convinced by their ERP provider that a fully integrated  system is the way to go only to find poor adoption – some have gone the best of breed method with extensive integration only to find poor adoption.

So what’s the problem – a lot of the time the problem is the information overload that accompanies seamless integration – sales professionals value their time and want to avoid getting bogged down in non-value add activities. A poorly designed    CRM often results from the following – these approaches are all understandable are well intended but if they are not grounded in overall organisational innovation they can miss the point:

  • Sales control driven – we want to monitor all our sales teams activity so we have greater control
  • IT technology driven – we think we need to implement a CRM because everyone else is doing it
  • Finance efficiency driven – we think if we give the sales team more information so they can deal with all the customer issues
  • Marketing lead generation driven – we can get our sales team to capture lots of information from our customers so we can use it to generate more leads.

Compare this to thinking of a CRM project based on innovation (Eliminate, Reduce, Improve, Create). How will the CRM help our our organisation connect more effectively with our customers, potential customers AND our influencers. How will it make our customer facing team (actually the whole organisation!) be more effective in creating new business opportunities.

Seamless integration is a cop out – it was invented by technology firms to make it all sound easy, often driven by ERP vendors more focused on internal facing processes not external. What often resulted for the sales team – “well you have all the information at your fingertips so the rest of the organisation won’t have to deal with customers you can.”

STOP – sales professionals in high performance organisations should be spending time understanding their customers business goals and objectives and helping them achieve them – they are not there to deliver information that the administration & operatiomal departments can be providing far more efficiently.

Do yourself a favour – forget seamless integration –  think deeply about innovation and design of your xRM – of what information can be easily consumed by processes that add value …. and reap the rewards.

iTWire – Redback connects with Microsoft CRM

iTWire – Redback connects with Microsoft CRM

Here is a customer of mine doing great things with CRM – they did it well:

– They took guidance to get them started

– They used it

– They learnt

– They developed and documented their key business processes

– They took guidance on how they could use CRM to streamline

– They learnt some more about how to configure

– They adopted it across the organisation

– They sold more

– The marketed well

– They grew (and keep growing) (and know the system will continue to grow with them)

Excellent! Great job Redback Conferencing!

iTWire – Redback connects with Microsoft CRM.