We often get asked about the feasibility or risk of using generic relationship management software to manage information related to consultation projects, rights-holder engagement initiatives, and stakeholder engagement campaigns.
Does one size fit all when it comes to stakeholder information management software?
Customer relationship management software is designed for a sales and marketing setting. Using these tools to manage information for stakeholder or rights-holder consultation initiatives tends to be ineffective because of the nature of the data and relationships.
The value of information, and how it’s tracked and reported, is of paramount importance during the consultation process. Missteps with respect to stakeholder information management can put the success of your project in jeopardy.
Differences between Customer Relationship Management and Stakeholder Information Management software
Stakeholder Information Management (SIM) software like StakeTracker has evolved because Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software struggles to meet the complex needs of stakeholder management and Aboriginal consultation professionals.
Indeed, SIM and CRM are designed for two different processes and the underlying model of each is different.
CRM is a sales-based process. It’s developed to automate sales, marketing, and customer service, it is based on a one-to-one relationship with a customer or prospect.
SIM is a communications-centric data model. Communications and relationships are at the heart of the consultation process, and in reality you don’t have a stakeholder/rights-holder until you start to communicate, discover, and uncover in a consultation. It’s not about making a deal – but a focus on generating and tracking a dialogue, obtaining feedback and resolving issues.
Instead of the vendor to customer model, Stakeholder Information Management is focused on a “many to many” relationship model, managing the interactions, topics, issues, tasks and commitments related to your stakeholder/rights-holder engagement initiative.
The true value of SIM is the ability to extract robust reporting in a way that is meaningful to data consumers (internal managers, regulators, stakeholders, courts, etc.), to demonstrate process transparency and accountability, and to effectively measure results.
Some key functions of Stakeholder Information Management are:
- Stakeholder/Rights-holder profile management
- Interactions management
- Topics and issues management
- Tracking and assigning tasks and commitments
- Community investments
- Complaints and grievances
The benefits of SIM software during public consultation
Land Component – There can be a land component with SIM, when a property located near a mine, pipeline or airport for example IS the stakeholder. It is important to track communications with the people that have an interest in the property. People may change in this case, but the stakeholder (the property) stays that same. SIM maintains the communication record connected with a property, even when contacts change over time.
Anonymous Contributions – There may be the need for consultations with stakeholders/rights-holders who chose to be anonymous in order to participate, or who just don’t want further contact after an initial consultation. SIM enables you to index communications properly, even when you don’t have a stakeholder name to connect it to.
Complex Relationships – Stakeholders and rights-holders can wear many hats during a consultation, or hold many roles in an organization. For example there might be familial relationships amongst stakeholders/rights-holders that must be accounted for. Or a person might have personal interests in a project in addition to interest held when representing a stakeholder group. SIM tracks relationships between groups that are highly relevant to consultation outcomes, as these relationships can drive the dynamics between communities and affect outcomes.
Supplier Expertise – Companies like SustaiNet that are immersed in the SIM space are uniquely positioned to offer industry expertise that may be missing with CRM suppliers. The right vendor can help you benchmark your project consultations against industry best practices, and stay with you for the life of your software subscription. CRM vendors don’t have the expertise in the space – this is why there is an entire industry dedicated to SIM.
Our stakeholder management software is purpose-built to do the job correctly from the onset – it’s NOT adapted from other products or derived from generic software programs meant to address other needs.