Some IT systems are designed and built without a lot of regard for the organizational structure of users. Of course you pay attention to users needs and \n\npreferences, but an accounting system is deployed pretty much the same no matter who's in charge of the accounting department. But CRM systems \n\npresent a unique challenge because they need to be very tightly aligned with the user organizations. If you have a big reorg or bring on a whole bunch of \n\nnew channel partners, you're likely going to go through major changes in the CRM system.CRM Definition and SolutionsThis is what makes CRM systems so much harder to get right, but also effective when they are done right. The CRM system is tightly bound to the \n\nway the organization works, and the twin goals of the system are to (1) improve leverage and collaboration, and (2) more closely understand and \n\ninfluence the customers' buying patterns.So when you've discovered a problem with the way your CRM system is working, you need to look for corresponding (or compensating) problems \n\nin the organization that's using it. The problem troika to look for in CRM systems is:A technical issue, such as data quality or fragile integration.\nA business process issue, such as pipeline formation and nurturing.\nA policy issue, such as "we ignore disqualified leads."As an IT leader, you'll probably notice the technical problem first. But users won't see that one: they'll be paying attention to the measurable business \n\nissue in the second category. Unfortunately, they'll likely be blind to the third problem, which was probably somebody's brilliant idea from a couple of \n\nreorgs ago.Why do I bring this up? Because solving only one of the issues won't make the problem and its symptoms go away. You have to troubleshoot and \n\nresolve them as a set. If you don't, the system imbalance will continue. New variants of the original problems will soon grow to replace the "solved \n\nones." Even if you think there's a pure IT problem, in the CRM world there will be corresponding elements outside your domain. Count on it.These intertwined problems tend to cluster in the heart of the following business processes:Lead generation, processing, and nurturing\nLead conversion and opportunity creation\nTrials and demos\nPipeline development and forecasting\nDeal closing and order entry\nOrder management and expediting\nCommissions and referral fees\nFulfillment, distribution, and shipping\nSupport entitlement and case creation\nRMA and reverse logisticsIn some cases, the problem trio is almost entirely within the span of a single organization. These lucky situations don't involve a ton of politics. In \n\ncontrast, the juiciest situations are those that span organizations. As these problems can be the embodiment of long-standing political feuds, unraveling \n\nthem may involve more time in meetings than anything else.Where to start when trying to resolve these issues? There's nothing wrong starting out by doing the spade-work that is internal to IT. Your team can \n\nbe productive for a while without involvement of the user organizations. However, it's not uncommon to find lots of IT cruft \u2014 software and \n\ndatabase tables and integrations surrounding the CRM system \u2014 that really aren't necessary any more. These elements were often constructed to \n\ncompensate for an ill-conceived policy or a misaligned business process. So leaving these extra system elements in place \u2014 or worse, "repairing" \n\nthem, will only reinforce the other two parts of the problem triad.Consequently, the real work won't begin until you have a closed-door conversation with the VPs of the organizations involved, helping them realize \n\nthat the only path to the solution will mean changes to things they measure and policies that they may have championed. The VPs themselves won't be \n\nthe solution, but they can certainly stand in the way of one. If the VPs are digging in their heels, ask them questions like:Does this policy or business process actually help you reach your goals faster and more predictably? Or was this just a "quick fix?"\nDo your team members genuinely prefer it this way, or is it causing them pain?\nDo our competitors do it this way?\nIs it creating an advantage for our company?\nDo our customers prefer it this way? Is this making us easier to do business with?Once the VPs have given their blessing to solving all parts of the problem, make sure they've assigned a knowledgeable underling to help redesign \n\nthe business process and refine the policies that need to be changed. With the right will and direction, troubleshooting and resolving the non-IT parts of \n\nthe CRM problem can be resolved in just a few meetings.David Taber is the author of the new Prentice Hall book, "Salesforce.com Secrets of Success" and is the CEO of SalesLogistix, a certified \n\nSalesforce.com consultancy focused on business process improvement through use of CRM systems. SalesLogistix clients are in North America, \n\nEurope, Israel, and India, and David has over 25 years experience in high tech, including 10 years at the VP level or above. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline.