Stakeholder Specific Software vs LAND vs CRM: Picking the right software to manage stakeholder engagement data

Most organizations soon learn that spreadsheets are not the most effective or efficient tools for managing stakeholder engagement data. The complexity of the data requires a structured system that reflects their business processes and the need to have various people interact with the data quickly highlights the limitations of spreadsheets. Often, at this point they look at various database solutions to manage their stakeholder engagement data.  Here are the most common options they look at and some thoughts on their application to stakeholder engagement.

Land Systems
Land Systems are used to manage land rights and infrastructure assets. It’s core architectural principal is therefore the land parcel. In other words, everything it does is built around a piece of land. This makes it an invaluable tool for landmen who are conducting tasks such as negotiation for the acquisition or divestiture of mineral rights, negotiating business agreements that provide for the exploration and/or development of minerals and determining ownership in minerals through the research of public and private records.

The drawbacks, however, from a stakeholder engagement perspective is that it sees a stakeholder as primarily a title holder. This means that it is not effective at managing a stakeholder as a person. A stakeholder has many roles that fall outside of being a title holder and stakeholder engagement is more relationship based as opposed to land system’s transactional nature.


Customer relationship marketing (CRM) software was built around marketing strategies and activities. It’s core architectural principal is therefore transactional. While there are certainly some relationship features, a CRM sees people as either sellers or buyers. CRMs have become an indispensable tool for sales groups but this limits is applicability for stakeholder engagement.

Stakeholder engagement relationships cannot be limited to one roll for a stakeholder


Stakeholder Specific Software
Stakeholder specific software, such as IRIS, are built to specifically meet the requirements of stakeholder engagement professionals. It’s core architectural principal should therefore be relationships. 

While a CRM limits a stakeholder to one role, a stakeholder engagement software should be focused on all the different roles they have in relation to the project they are impacted by. For an example, when you enter a stakeholder’s name into a CRM, you can link it to one organization. In other words, you put down all the information on a business card. However, a stakeholder may be impacted by a project in a variety of roles they have- all which may have different implications from a stakeholder engagement perspective. They may be a title holder, a local contractor looking for work, a member of an impacted indigenous group or a variety of other roles. In addition, they may be impacted by multiple projects in multiple phases- each also requiring different levels of engagement. 

A stakeholder specific software should allow you to easily and accurately link stakeholder activities to multiple projects simultaneously. So in the system, if you met with one person in multiple roles about multiple projects in multiple phases- the software accurately shows only one activity occurring. 


There are roles for land systems, CRMs and stakeholder specific software in an organization. Ultimately however, software should be used according to the specific tasks it was created for.

Interested in trying a stakeholder specific software? 

IRIS is a cloud-based software for managing stakeholders. Developed in 2012, it has been used by organizations of all sizes in industries including renewable energy, oil and gas and infrastructure.

The IRIS free trial does not require a credit card. There is no time limit once you get started, take as long as you want to perform up to 50 actions. You can add an unlimited number of users and projects to IRIS at any time.

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