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Hosted CRM Similarities and Differences

I've finished my third hosted CRM software implementation. The first two were fairly small engagements. This last one was a 205 user midmarket Aplicor engagement. While I'm still a novice when it comes to these hosted applications (I guess the proper name for these on-demand CRM solutions is software as a service (saas)), I thought I would reflect on the last three jobs and point out the similarities and differences.

First the similarities.

  • CRM strategies, objectives, goals and ROI measurement metrics remain unchanged with installed locally or hosted remotely.
  • Data conversion is unchanged regardless of platform. The real issue here is that most organizations don't recognize dirty data until they go to transfer it and the data cleansing, staging and transfer process is unchanged with on-premise or hosted.
  • With the exception of a few technical tasks, implementation methodologies and project plans remain consistent.
  • Change management requirements and strategies remain constant. User adoption is always a challenge.

Now the differences.

  • With no hardware to procure or software to install, the project plan bypasses early technical activities and accelerates to the pilot phase.
  • While there is less IT (information technology) staff participation, IT people are still valuable resources for data conversion and system integration activities.
  • With both and Aplicor, I found user training to be much shorter than with on-premise systems. For the most part, these saas solutions are easier to use, far more intuitive and more quickly learned by users.
  • In my experiences, the highest impact difference is the remote system administration. Network optimization, database tuning, information security, disaster recovery, business continuity and the host of laborious system and network administration tasks are offloaded to the hosted CRM manufacturer.
  • Another very valuable difference is the elimination of time consuming and costly software point release installs and version upgrades. These tasks are now handled in the background by the CRM vendor.

While I don't think hosted customer relationship management software solutions are going to accommodate every organization, they offer a clear and compelling value proposition and I'm certain the sky high growth projections for saas are likely to come true.

Technorati: saas, crm
June 6, 2007 in SaaS | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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