The benefits of a customer relationship management (CRM) solution are easily seen. Having the latest customer data at your fingertips helps you provide better service, increase sales and improve customer satisfaction.
However choosing to implement a CRM solution may be an easier decision than selecting the right CRM implementation approach for your business. That’s because there are a variety of ways to implement a CRM – each with its own unique capabilities and benefits.
The two most popular approaches are On-Premise CRM and Cloud CRM:
This is the more conventional method. In this scenario, the CRM application is installed on computers in your own data center, and your IT staff manages it. This type of implementation provides you with more control over every aspect of your CRM, including service level agreements (SLAs), security and regulatory compliance requirements. It also lessens the chance that your company data will be inaccessible due to a loss of connectivity with your service provider. Despite these advantages, it is a costly solution, mainly in terms of infrastructure and human resources.
This is becoming the default choice for many organizations. This web-based software is purchased from a service provider and is available on an as-needed basis via the Internet. Once the CRM is configured by your IT resources or a service partner the application is maintained by the Cloud provider. This approach reduces your initial cash expenditure, is easy to deploy and allows you to use the service as needed to meet fluctuating demands..
So how do you decide which CRM solution is right for your organization? There are three key factors that can help you make that decision.
The steps include:
To implement, maintain and manage a CRM solution requires an experienced IT staff. While your resources may easily handle software patches, troubleshoot problems and perform standard updates, the question is whether they have the expertise to handle advanced activities like information security. And more importantly, do they have the time. With a Cloud CRM solution, your IT resources can focus on your core operations while outside experts look after your CRM solution.
The complexity of your CRM solution, in particular the complexity of the service management component, is a critical deciding factor. Generally, an on-premise CRM solution enables you to customize your solution more than a Cloud CRM. With an on-premise CRM, you can better define workflows and fine tune the performance of the solution. Remember, it’s important to clearly define how much customization you require. This ensures you don’t waste time and money deploying the wrong solution.
A Cloud CRM solution is delivered using a cost-per-seat formula. This makes it an affordable choice if you have a low or medium-low volume of users.
Choosing the right CRM implementation approach ultimately comes down to understanding your business and IT requirements. Determine what your requirements are in terms of SLAs, security, regulatory compliance, ease of integration, ongoing maintenance and cost. By understanding your objectives, you can then choose the implementation approach that delivers the greatest benefits to your organization.