Friday, December 11, 2009

Initial thoughts on exploring CRM solutions

The company I work for is starting to head down the path of CRM, we're exploring our options to see what is available and what can be a useful solution for us.

There is of course the SaaS/Software decisions, as well as Open/Close system element. Here are some quick thoughts on the situation.

SaaS vs Software

  • Either gives you a good bit of flexibility, SaaS is much more flexible than it used to be
  • SaaS makes the accessibility of the system that much easier
  • Software used to make it easier to administer on a granular level, but that's not a compelling case anymore
Open vs Close
  • Open source options make it easy to find a low-cost initial system to explore and test
  • Either is going to require customization, and this can often mean a special consultant
  • All Closed system sellers are going to claim that enhancements and customizations of Open systems make them brittle, and problematic to upgrade, which is true
  • But that also begs the question of how easy is it to upgrade from the Closed system
  • And which specific opens (Open or Closed) are going to allow for the export of data from the system (the "data roach motel" conundrum)

Any option available seems to have a rather steep learning curve, and customization challenge. These aren't particularly good reasons to avoid a CRM solution, if that is in fact in the best interest of the organization. In fact, one can argue that this is a prime example of "fail fast forward", get the implementation going so you can figure out what has gone wrong.

To me, that is what makes a low-cost initial tool something important to consider. You can readily pilot the option in a low-risk manner. But there is always the element of opportunity cost, time spent on the pilot, etc.

Posted via email from Christopher's posterous

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