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From Students to Alumni: Implementing CRM to Build Lifelong Relationships at HEC Montréal (A, B, and C)

Case 9 65 2019 001A-C
Case published in the International Journal of Case Studies in Management, Vol. 17, No. 4
Languages : 
  • English
  • Customer relationship management,
  • Information technology,
  • Implementation,
  • Enterprise system,
  • Cloud
Year of production : 
Registration date : 
Teaching notes included : 
Case document count : 

This case recounts the implementation of a customer relationship management (CRM) system in what is considered a non-traditional use case for this category of enterprise system. In the early 2010s, HEC Montréal, a leading Canadian business school in Montreal, Quebec, had to devise new strategies to respond to profound changes taking place in the labour market as well as within the higher education sector. To that end, the school embarked on a project to implement a CRM system to build and maintain strong bonds with its prospective, current, and past students. This three-part case study covers (1) the inception of the CRM project as one of strategic relevance to HEC Montréal, (2) the decisions that had to be made with regard to the implementation strategy – namely whether to adopt a plan-driven or an agile approach and whether to deploy the CRM on-premises or through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider – and (3) the unfolding of the first phases of the implementation.

Primary domain : 
Information technology
Secondary domain : 
Not available
Sectors : 
  • Education and training
Source : 
HEC Montréal
Type : 
Traditional case (Descriptive or analytical case)
Type of data used in the production of the case : 
Factual data that is not public wherein the identity of the company/person is disclosed
Event location : 
Montreal, QC, Canada
Year of start of the event : 
Year the event ended : 
Business size : 
Large enterprise
Main themes covered
  • Strategic relevance of IT
  • Dimensions of IT implementation planning
  • IT implementation
Teaching objectives

Part A: Understand how CRM can help an organization achieve its strategic objectives. Identify contextual elements that drive IT implementation to execute a management strategy in the context of higher education. Understand how CRM, a type of digital technology, can help organizations improve their customer relationships.

Part B: Identify risk factors in a CRM implementation. Analyze project management approaches and deployment models as tactics to mitigate risk factors in a CRM implementation. Develop an awareness of the implications of project management approaches (plan-driven and agile) and deployment models (on-premises and SaaS) to IT projects.

Part C: Understand that IT implementations for strategic purposes are complex projects in which technology may not be the most challenging factor.

Concepts and theories related to the case
  • Strategic relevance of IT
  • Dimensions of IT implementation planning
  • IT implementation