Choosing the CRM deployment method for your new software system can play a vital part in whether your software is a success or not. Microsoft Dynamics CRM software can be deployed in the cloud or on-premise, each method having their own strengths and weaknesses which make them more appropriate for different types of businesses.
CRM in the cloud
In the cloud means that your CRM system is hosted away from your offices, on the internet and is not on your own servers.
For those who will be using your CRM software, having access to it in the cloud can have a significant impact on their work. As the software and all your information and data is hosted remotely, you can rest easy knowing your users can easily access this information at any time and on multiple devices such as PCs, laptops, mobile phones and tablets.
With Cloud CRM software, you can either pay an annual fee in one instalment or if it is more beneficial for your business, you can pay monthly.
If you choose on-premise CRM software, your business can benefit from managing the system from your company’s own premises, allowing you to have complete control over your data and information easily from inside your office. This deployment method means you only need to purchase your license once, and afterwards your IT department are able to manage the entire system on your own servers.
Comparisons to bear in mind
Cloud CRM software can offer a similar amount of customisation to on-premise CRM, enabling it to be adapted to meet your business needs. The system is designed to be used by a variety of companies in different industries, offering standard processes which can increase efficiency. If you are in need of a heavily customised system, on-premise software may be a better match if your business requires additional features on top of standardised process.
It is important to check the reliability of your internet connection, as well as which devices can be used with your chosen system. Even if your salespeople will be on the road without internet connectivity, there are offline plugins available to allow them to work offline.
Considerations of your CRM project
To make sure that you are choosing the right software to meet your business needs, there are certain aspects which you need to take into consideration. The first aspect that you need to consider are your functional requirements:
- A simple user interface, which your users can easily become accustomed to
- Easy access for all staff, in particular your marketing, sales and customer service teams
- Ability to increase and decrease the number of users, changing as your business grows
- Your data is held securely, a reassurance to any size of business
- Monthly costs or a one off payment
- Integration with other business software
It is important to avoid rushing the selection of a new system, unless you consider the needs of your business then you might not be choosing the right software solution:
- Evaluate your business, bearing in mind your sector and size – as this can be a major factor if you are an established company compared to a start-up, both of which will have different requirements in regards to scope in sales and marketing functionality.
- Decide whether you will you require customisations for your industry-specific requirements.
- Bear in mind the amount of data security that your business requires
- Consider the existing IT infrastructure in the business – would your business be able to support a new piece of software?
- Do you have remote or field-based workers or salespeople? You may need to have mobile access so that they can use the software on the move.
- The main consideration when deciding on an IT investment is the cost – you need to have an idea of how much you are willing and able to invest in the project, so that you go down the right and affordable path. Do you prefer an up-front expenditure (CAPEX), or a long term subscription purchase (OPEX)?
Your long-term strategy
Any investment for the business can have a significant impact on the bottom line, and purchasing CRM software is no exception. Part of the decision process needs to be considering your business needs for the long term, so that the software is aligned to your strategic plans.
If you make the decision to purchase cloud CRM software, you are placing a vast amount of your business’s data in the cloud. Therefore, you need to ensure that you check the provider’s security credentials and that your internet is reliable, so that your data is secure and can easily be accessed by users.
Although it has been mentioned several times, we must stress the importance of cost. Especially for small businesses, the costs of hosting the system and your data in-house can be an expensive undertaking. Cloud CRM software offers you an IT team for free, which can often be cheaper than employing your own. This can be a major benefit if your IT team are already at full capacity, as the last thing they need is being responsible for a new and possibly more complex software system.
Taking these factors into consideration, you need to understand your business’s long-term strategy before embarking on your CRM project, so that your business needs can be integrated into the project.
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Prodware have been able to successfully implement both cloud and on-premise CRM projects, using their understanding of different business’s needs to adjust the software to meet the company’s requirements.