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Selecting System Administrators

We often speak of the critical success factors in a deployment.  These include: (i) Senior Sponsorship, (ii) Communication Planning, (iii) Design & Understanding of the Purpose of the Project, (iv) Qualified Configuration, (v) Training for end-users, managers and administrators, and (vi) Post-Implementation Support. The last item, Post-Implementation Support, is often overlooked or considered ancillary in nature. If you did every step perfectly but fail to provide an adequate support plan for your organization, you are at risk of limited adoption or worse, failure. We will cover options for support as part of another blog posting. In this post, we are focusing on selecting the right System Administrators, who play a key role in the ongoing support and success of your investment.

Q: What role will our System Administrators play? Once your system has been configured and set-up, there is some amount of ongoing work in keeping your deployment well tuned. This is true of any CRM system. The role of system administrators varies from company-to-company, but in most cases, the system administrator (or individuals with system administrator rights) will be responsible for:

  • Adding/Removing users from your org over time
  • Resetting passwords if users get locked out
  • Creating additional custom fields as needed by the organization
  • Modifying/maintaining pick-list values
  • Importing bulk lists (leads, customers, etc.)
  • Creating additional public reports used by the entire organization as needs arise
  • Creating additional dashboards used by the organization as needs arise
  • Bulk data management such as re-assigning portfolios when rep assignments change
  • Deploying new features
  • Creating and maintaining workflow rules (EE, UE)

Q: Selecting your System Administrators.  We are often asked what the skill set or job role of a system administrator should be. None of the activities identified above require any knowledge of programming and each of the activities can be done through configuration. In the majority of cases, at least one of the system administrators is a business user. A good system administrator will have all more most of the following attributes:

  • comfortable in front of the computer including browsing the Internet
  • understanding of your organization including business processes
  • understanding of the org chart
  • respected by their colleagues
  • has good judgement (just because you can add 500 fields on a page, doesn't make it a good idea!)
  • organized and detail oriented

Q: How many System Administrators should we have?  We always recommend at least 2 system administrators to ensure that support is available if someone is sick, on vacation or is otherwise unavailable. This also ensures continuity in the event that one of your administrators leaves the company. For deployments of less than 50 users, 2-3 administrators should be sufficient. Consider adding additional administrators if you add more departments or business functions. For deployments that are in multiple countries, consider assigning local administrators in country to cover time zones. Be aware that it is also possible to delegate certain admin functions with the delegated administrator configuration option. There are security and quality control risks in assigning too many administrators.

Q: How do we Train our System Administrators?  You have 2 good options. The first is register your designated system administrators for the system administrator program, a week-long program that provides comprehensive instruction. This program highlights features that will often not be utilized in your deployment. As a result, akaCRM created an administrator survival skills workshop, a day-long class tailored to your organization's deployment that focuses on the top 2 dozen or so activities that your systems administrators will need to know to keep your deployment well turned. The akaCRM training is available as part of a customized implementation or through our client-directed and managed support packages.


More questions?  Contact akaCRM.