The Essential CRM Guide

In House or Cloud?

Updated February 2024

Let’s look at some of the other questions that you would have to consider to complete this phase of CRM selection. There is no significance to the order in which these questions are presented other than that they follow one possible line of thought.

The CRM Handbook: The Crib Sheet Edition

Would users need to be able to synchronize a notebook or home computer with the system frequently? Would branch offices need to synchronize with a central office?

Choosing a CRM is a complex process. You must consider a number of questions in order to complete this phase of CRM selection. The order in which these questions are presented is irrelevant other than indicating the order in which they might be asked.

Do you exclusively supply businesses with goods or services, or do you supply businesses with both goods and services? If you exclusively supply businesses with goods or services, are there usually only one or two people in the customer organisation to whom you offer your services? This will determine whether you prefer an account-centric or contact-centric system. You need to remember whether you will be able to switch easily between these two alternatives in the event that your business needs change.

  • Do you want something more than just sales force and marketing automation?
  • Does your business offer customer support through a help desk or technical services
  • Does your accounting staff require backend integration of the system?

Is high reliability, high volume processing something you need to do with SQL Server? If not, think about whether the software you choose will allow you to upgrade or cross-grade to a different technology when your needs change.

Is it necessary for users to be able to synchronize a notebook or home computer with the system? Is it necessary for branches to synchronize with a central office?

Should you use an in-house solution or a cloud solution?

You also have to choose whether to run the CRM system in-house or go for a web-based system. In addition to that, you have to make sure you choose the right CRM system.

The CRM Matrix provides a quick summary of the advantages and disadvantages of web-based and in-house CRM systems.

The benefits of in-house CRM are:

You have total control over the software and hardware, giving you the capability to create it to operate the way you want it to. The people who operate and maintain the system are your staff. You know what they are capable of, what they are not capable of, and what their weaknesses are. You can accept their shortcomings.

The integration of two or more things is the process of compiling them into a single whole.

Having the system in-house makes it easier to integrate it with other in-house software, if this is a vital part of the business.

Using a system developed in-house, data is locally available and under your direct control. This includes system security, firewalls, intruder detection, risk management, when and how backups are done, and where they are stored. It can be more comforting if you or someone else in your company wants that sort of control, but you may also have more responsibility.

Creating a unique experience, one tailored to your needs.

There are few vertical market CRM systems that meet all of your demands, or if you’ve got particular requirements, you must personalise the CRM system. In-house CRM systems may be tailored more easily and may also be modified more easily. However, this process can be costly.

The cost of owning something.

The cost of ownership (TCO) and the return on investment (ROI) are still hotly contested. To mention just a few of the many factors that will determine how much it costs to own and operate a business, this is something of a moving target and will, of course, depend on:

When inquiring about a potential system, ask for the right to randomly select a sample of the supplier’s recent customers for interviews. Some vendors may resist this request, as they might suspect that something is wrong with their system. The vendor’s level of confidence in their product will also determine the split between vendors who have a high level of confidence in their system and those who have a bit of uncertainty about it.

In-house CRM has these disadvantages.

The high capital investment required for an in-house CRM system is the biggest drawback. In addition to the software, new hardware or significant upgrades to existing hardware must be purchased.

Once the system has been paid for, installed, and configured, the costs do not stop. There may be ongoing support charges from the vendor, and an expanded IT department must be hired to run. Furthermore, hardware maintenance costs and running costs will also have to be paid for. You will probably need to hire extra personnel to do the following:

It is usually the system administrator who performs these tasks, but because the demands are likely to exceed any one person’s capacity, it is quite possible that the IT department will have to step in. The IT department, in all likelihood, will need to provide assistance. The best-resourced IT departments are likely to have a difficult time coping with the added workload.

Furthermore, the IT department will be responsible for downloading and installing security patches to the operating system software. These are sometimes of such a nature that if they are not executed or executed effectively or in good time, they might weaken the system security, thus allowing for possible intrusion. Of course, there will also be upgrades and patches to the application software that must be installed. You can anticipate having a busy IT department.

When comparing in-house systems to web-based CRM providers, there is a longer period before an ROI is seen with the in-house system. The upfront capital outlay is a given. As well, there can be a longer implementation period with in-house systems that can frustrate both users and management. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that a CRM provider has been compensated for the system and, as a result, has fewer incentives to get it installed quickly, whereas web-based CRM providers know that they will not receive usage fees until the system is set up and running. Of course, there’s more than a little cynicism in this statement, and all the parties deny it, but we wonder if it’s true.

Changes are always on the horizon for ambitious businesses. You might have to boost your current activities or develop new revenue streams, but in either case, your CRM system will probably have to be altered. There are a lot of interconnected systems, so it can cause problems with other programs. The cost is not just monetary; there will be training and staff turnover issues, as well as additional administrative work.