The following is Part 2 of “Software CRM vs. Online CRM – The Pros and Cons”. Read Part 1 here.
Both software CRM and online CRM solutions offer a wide variety of features and capabilities unique to each individual vendor. However, the economic and strategic trade-offs are similar for locally installed software CRMs versus hosted, web based CRM.
Financial Trade Offs
Online CRMs are normally paid for as a subscription that is on-going. On the surface, it can appear that the cumulative cost of recurring subscription fees exceeds those of the one-time software license fee typical of software CRMs.
However, the hidden cost of locally installed software is the cost to purchase and maintain the computing systems as well as the software. A very simple example is the familiar cycle of upgrades to the Windows operating system. When you purchase a new computer, it may have a newer version of Windows than your previous computer. The result may be that your software CRM won’t run properly on your new computer. An upgrade to the software CRM may need to be purchased if one is available at all. When investing in CRM for an entire team of sales people, support staff and management, the variables of computers, operating systems and other options make the cost to support this environment significant.
Accessibility a fundamental advantage of CRM solutions is the sharing of customer information among a business’ staff. This requires data to be stored in one location or for remote data to be synchronized so that all users have access to complete, up to date information. Online CRMs make this simple by having all users access the same database via the Internet. The cost to a business of maintaining connectivity and synchronization of remote users and databases to the main data store of a software CRM can be prohibitive.
Many businesses feel that software CRMs are more secure because the information is under the control of the business. However, remote users of the CRM may have copies of the business’ database on their local computer for remote use. This information is easily “stolen” by users or 3rd parties who have access to the end user computer. Online CRM has the advantage of allowing the business to rely of the vendor to provide more industrial strength security solutions through economies of scale.
SalesNexus CRM adds to this the assurance that the customer can request a complete copy of their CRM database in ACT! format at any time.
There are many software CRM and online CRM solutions available and businesses are smart to document their requirements for specific capabilities and features thoroughly before attempting to decide upon software versus online and then secondly to decide amongst the many vendors.