Many clients who contact us hesitate between choosing a bespoke or an off-the-shelf CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. Basing on web reviews and opinions of their friends, they have certain assumptions about these solutions. Because those differ quite significantly, we decided to describe them in detail. Let's start with the pros and cons of an off-the-shelf CRM.
Disadvantages of an off-the-shelf CRM
We divide these into three categoriesin terms of:
In this first area, we can notice disadvantages of a system when it is poorly tailored to the individual needs of a company. Off-the-shelf software has a certain set of functions that are supposed to work in every company in every field. When choosing an off-the-shelf CRM, we should not expect an individual approach or solid support. Certain software houses do offer those, however, you will often be charged extra for the services.
Lack of flexibility
The main issue we can encounter when choosing a ready-made CRM is lack of the possibility to add new functions to the system. Some software houses will offer this option but it will entail a considerable cost. Off-the-shelf solutions also determine the way you perform your processes within the system. They comprise of ready-made modules, which force the users to adjust their work to the system. While some of them are used in every type of business, the others will only prove functional in some companies. Another issue to consider within this field is the fact that such a solution can only be used by a limited number of users. When buying a ready-made software license you have to determine how many people will be using it. In the case of custom solutions, there is no limit as to the number of users. You should also remember there is no integration with external systems. Off-the-shelf solutions do not offer this option, which can turn out to be an issue when your company already uses another system, e.g. invoicing software.
Off-the-shelf CRM development issues
The last problem with such solutions isthat those cannot be further developed. That means the solution may cease to be sufficient at some point as your business grows. Because those systems cannot be modified, you will end up having to implement a completely new system, which will be not only expensive but also time-consuming.
Advantages of an off-the-shelf CRM
We divide these into two categories in terms of:
- the choice of the system,
- system utilization
Choice of the system
The most significant advantage within this category is that you can test the solution before you buy it. Whether it is a demo or trial version, in most cases you will get a chance to test the solution for a period of time. When you decide to buy a ready-made CRM you will also get some flexibility in terms of the overall cost. Solutions of this type are offered in different options, which differ in the number of functions and price. Finally, an off-the-shelf CRM will provide a basic set of functions, which can prove to be effective for smaller businesses.
The main advantage in this category is the flexibility of SaaS solutions (Software as a Service). To use a system created in this model, you only require Internet access and your chosen browser. This gives you constant access to up-to-date information. Such a solution will be good for those who work a lot outside of the office. Off-the-shelf CRM systems will also have relatively easy processes as their functions are limited to the basic ones.
Which system should I choose?
Before you make your final decision between a bespoke and an off-the-shelf CRM, answer the following questions:
- Which processes is the software supposed to streamline?
- Does your company has unique individual processes that you would like the system to reflect?
- How many people will be using the system?
- Do you require integration with external systems?
- Do you consider future development of the system?
I you said yes to the above questions, a ready-made solution may not be sufficient for you. If it is so, it is worth considering the advantages of bespoke solutions. If you want to read more about the differences between the two, click here.