In 2013, Canada Wide Media (Canada Wide), a regional magazine publisher based out of Vancouver, BC, upgraded its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) from outdated proprietary software – Media Services Group – to a Software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor – Magazine Manager. Its implementation was considered a failure (by 2014 Canada Wide scrapped Magazine Manager in favour of Media Services Group’s later CRM iteration, Élan) and this report seeks to answer why. Through an examination of Canada Wide’s research pre-implementation, personal observation and contributions during implementation, and analysis post-implementation, this report provides honest and critical information to publishers seeking software guidance. The following aspects of software implementation are considered: the importance of research and planning as it related to the selection of the right software; the significance of data organization, storage, and transfer to a new system; the setup requirements for a new CRM such as management policies and product and display configuration; software integration requirements and concerns; and the role that entrenched human culture plays when training employees in a new CRM. To provide context and background information, this report also outlines the key differences between in-house proprietary, Application Software Providers (ASP), and cloud-based vendors such as SaaS.
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