CRM Critical Success Factor 5: The Right CRM Technology

Part 5 of our CRM Critical Success Factors series: The Right Technology.

The Importance of the Right CRM Technology

When choosing the technology platform for your CRM implementation, there are broadly three categories to consider:

  • Build-it from the ground up approach
  • Off the shelf generic CRM platform
  • Off the shelf vertical industry type platform

Build-it from the ground up approach

The obvious benefit of the build-it approach is that it has the potential to give you exactly what you want, with no license fees.  However, building something from the ground up is a serious investment. I do know companies that have done it and done it very successfully, but they tend to have a large team around supporting this.

We have also acquired customers who have come away from that approach. This is mainly because the expertise and the support of the application have left the company and they find themselves at risk of not being able to carry out further development or support. 

This approach is an option, but it might not be such an obvious solution as you might initially think.

Off the shelf generic CRM platform

With a generic CRM platform, you should look for one that is customisable. Look for whether you can buy functionality that meets your particular functional needs and just bolt that in, therefore blending the solution to meet the needs of your requirements.

Off the shelf vertical industry type platform

The vertical solutions can prove they’re very productive but we have seen instances where it’s been an over-engineered solution.  Some people have had to unpick some of that functionality to get it to a level where it suits their particular business.

When Choosing Your Technology Platform

Look around the peripherals of the solution

  • What kind of community is there? From both a user and a partner perspective.
  • What sort of support can you look for? Read the comments on the forums, take reference visits, speak to customers that are using the technology that you have shortlisted. Understand how it works for them, the benefits they have seen and what they went through to get the system implemented.

Consider the three Cs of system modification

  • Configuration
    • This is where part of the system can be modified, controlled, managed by changing options through some form of Administration capability.
    • This might cover the management of Users, Security, Menus/functions etc.
  • Customisation
    • Again perhaps managed via an Administration capability, but allows the system to be extended in some way, adding fields, tables, forms.
    • This might include looking at 3rd party tools, utilities etc. to add “off the shelf” proven functionality.
  • Coding
    • This is where the developers get excited. You want it red with blue dots, let the developer at it!
    • Some times necessary, but should be less so these days.

Our recommendation is to do as much as you can with Configuration, then Customisation and then, only if really necessary, Code.

How to select the right solution for you? Consider the following as a starter:

How specialised are your business processes?

  • Do you need a vertically focused solution?
  • Will a customised CRM solution provide what you need?

How do you need to access the CRM?

  • Internally only
  • Externally via a web browser
  • Externally on a mobile device

Do you want a choice of hosted/cloud or local install?

Does the product have an active partner and user community?

Next steps

Contact us to discuss your CRM project.

Find out more about the QGate CRM Roadmap– our project framework to guide you and your business successfully through your CRM project.

Take our CRM Readiness Assessment and find out how ready you and your company are to begin your CRM project.

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