Sunday, October 5, 2008

CRM - Saas (Software as a service) or your own license?

While implementing a CRM this is a vital question and should be seriously evaluated. This question is not about hosting - because today hosting options cost the same whether you host it or your vendor does it for you. The hosting question is related to the availability of IT staff and is not answered here. The question is whether you share the application and pay a periodic payment for it with no ownership rights as per the SaaS model, or do you buy the license for usage in perpetuity.

Is the customer facing part of your business unique or is it generic?

If your business is unique - especially in some core CRM process, then shared applications are not an option. Look for a vendor that provides CRM as a more as a platform, and provides adaptability tools and services to make this happen. Then buy the product for your own usage. If your business processes maps well with the CRM products processes, then SaaS is a viable option. CRM solutions are often generic and a good product usually covers the core processes well.

Can you take the leap or do you want to test the waters?

If you you want to test the waters first before taking the leap then SaaS is a good option. It enables you to try out the application, and it even helps you determine what you need to modify before you make the actual leap. You can try it out for a smaller team first. However in cases where the fitment of the product to your process is low, this is not an option.

Which is more expensive?

If you are likely to use the application for a long period of time, ownership is the better option. If your companies budgeting policy prefers periodic spending to show faster return on investment, Saas is the better option.

Which is more secure?

Both options have good security features and need to be implemented well to be reasonably hacker proof. Full security needs a multi-pronged approach - in terms of hardware, software, application as well as usage related procedures. A fully bought out solution has more options for security, but if badly implemented can be worse off than a SaaS one.

We at K-Serve ( provide both the SaaS option as well as the perpetual license options. Similarly we allow hosting to an environment of choice or we provide the SaaS option. We even individualize the product for customer. That way the customer has all the options. Here are a couple of articles on this topic. Another option is to type in 'Saas or in-premise' in your search engine.

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