For many years, the best CRM system for large, complex, organizations was a no-brainer, it had to be on-premise. The benefits, including unique features which supported specific business operations, functional integration across the company, and the best available security, didn't compare to the lower cost, but restrictive features offered by service vendors. However, the pressure to reduce hosted CRM costs never goes away and service providers of all stripes have been wrenching like mad to address every perceived shortcoming of Software-as-a-Service solutions.
While strong arguments for maintaining full control of your hosted CRM system by keeping it on-premise can still be easily formulated, the attraction of only paying for what you use by farming out the tasks of building and maintaining your CRM is compelling. What has changed over the past decade or so has been the capability of the hosted CRM service providers?
What is Hosted CRM?
A hosted CRM system can be arranged in two fundamental ways. The all-out version has a service provider configure an existing CRM platform to match the requirements your company specifies. After which a monthly fee per user is charged for delivering the CRM service and keeping it running. The software license fees are included in the monthly assessments, which helps to determine CRM ROI more effectively. Because the specific configuration is designed for only the client company, it is possible to create a highly secure system well-integrated with all appropriate business functions.
The other approach generally involves more ongoing client involvement in the operation. Your company chooses the software package, buys the software licenses, and is the primary architect of the desired functionality. The hosting company delivers and administers the CRM service across the net.
Features of hosted CRM systems include:
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Benefits of Hosted CRM
Ease of Implementation
Hosted CRM solutions are much easier to deploy than an on-site CRM solution as there is no requirement to build the necessary tools from scratch. Hosted CRM solutions come with intuitive user-friendly dashboards to make it easy for anyone in your business to use it without extensive training.
Cost of Hosted CRM
Without having to pay the costs of hardware and server costs of an on-premise CRM solution, hosted CRM systems can be a cost-effective solution for small businesses. There is also no requirement to have in-house IT professionals create, maintain, and manage your hosted CRM system.
Hosted CRM solutions can be scaled up or down depending on your company’s needs, hence another reason why hosted CRM is ideal for a new business.
Since hosted CRM systems are maintained on the vendor’s servers, the hosted CRM vendor always ensures that the servers are operational. Businesses don’t have to suffer from unnecessary downtimes since the hosted CRM provider takes care of this.
Consistently updated security is another benefit to using a hosted CRM system. The hosted CRM vendors are under strict scrutiny to adhere to regulatory requirements to minimize data loss or any cybersecurity threats. They use SSL encryption to assure that your data is safe at all times.
Hosted CRM vendors allow customizable features to fit any company’s unique needs. A hosted CRM can be customized to fit your company at any given time and gives the ability to scale the hosted CRM services as demand fluctuates.
Given the transformation of how companies maintain and manage their workforce, it is important to provide environments for employees to work remotely without compromising on productivity. With remote CRM solutions, employees can work from wherever they may be, and also give businesses easier options to expand or scale down their operational costs.
What is Hybrid CRM?
A hybrid CRM might ameliorate some of the worries. A hybrid CRM has some functionality remaining on-premise and under your direct control, while contracting with a service provider to deliver and maintain other portions of the complete CRM system. Yet, one of the most attractive features of Hosted CRMs, their flexibility, and accessibility, is also part of the deal.
A hybrid solution is useful for companies that want to maintain the privacy of their customers or if they are using proprietary technology that shouldn’t fall into someone else’s hands. Since the whole thing is built for your company, and only used by your company, security is comparable to a fully in-house system. Therefore, it is advisable to maintain such data on an on-site server while getting the benefits of a hosted CRM’s cloud functionality.
Hosted CRM vs. Hybrid CRM
Businesses choosing to deploy a hybrid CRM solution can get the benefits of both on-site and hosted CRM and giving them a competitive advantage to better concentrate on the core business and provide the right tools to innovate and improve customer services without compromising the company’s integrity.
Cloud-based features of both types of solutions allow businesses to maintain a remote workforce while maintaining security and data privacy standards. As should be expected, costs, functionality, and security can vary substantially with each specific implementation. Though less of an issue than it was only a few years ago, the security of your customer database remains important.
The old “customer list” is now a “customer profile”, both vastly more detailed and equally more valuable. How comfortable are you with it residing on a server somewhere in the “cloud”? Only slightly less important may be the reliable CRM operation of certain functional abilities that need to be maintained or updated in real-time. Having these at the end of a string of internet server hops could cause the occasional sleepless night.
As with all major systems supporting your business, the better you understand how your business works and where you want to take it, the greater your ability to make the right choice for your CRM system. You may compare the the best CRM vendors to select the right solution for your business’s requirements.