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Pros And Cons Of Web-Based Customer Relationship Management Software


What are the Advantages and Disadvantages?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can revolutionise your organisation. By consolidating all business functions and processes into one coherent whole, you gain massive strategic and operational value and total control of your operation.

If you’re planning on installing CRM software or revamping your existing setup, you may wonder what the best way to go is. Conventional CRM software setups involve firms acquiring their hardware and software and setting the system up locally.

However, web-based CRM is an increasingly popular option. It involves locating the system off-site and accessing it over a network via a web browser. Essentially, the browser becomes the client. Using such web-based CRM software delivers many advantages but also some drawbacks.

Advantages of Web-Based CRM

The most obvious advantage is lower hardware costs, as there’s no need for investment in powerful servers. And as everything can be done on a web browser, costly workstations are unnecessary. This means the initial investment in web-based CRM tends to be far lower than for the on-premise model.

Moreover, CRM set-up will be much faster, as hardware installation requirements are much reduced. You’ll also experience less disruption to your business operations. Moreover, your new system will be highly scalable, as your host offers limited capacity in his dedicated facilities.

The web-based model also allows business owners to take a more hands-off approach. The hosting company performs physical server maintenance and maintains the software through upgrades, service packs and security fixes. This obviates the need for the firm to keep its own IT staff to take care of the CRM system.

The other great benefit is that the system can be accessed from anywhere using any device with a web browser. Such devices include tablets, phones and laptops, and desktop computers, whether running Windows, Android, iOS or any other operating system.

This device's independence offers great flexibility. For example, a salesman in a client’s office could fire up his iPad to get vital data for sale. Likewise, a factory manager could check and update cost figures on his smartphone.

Firms can access web-based data from anywhere in the world. This is vital for firms with multiple locations, such as multi-national organisations.

Disadvantages of Web-Based CRM

On the other hand, deploying your CRM software system to the cloud has a few drawbacks. Most importantly, web-based CRM requires regular hosting fees for the hardware. Over time, these costs can mount up and eventually surpass an on-premise system's investment costs.

Another possible problem is reliability. Though today’s networks are rock solid, slowdowns and outages do occur. Downtime could be disruptive and costly. Data security and integrity is other concerns. Most data networks are extremely secure and feature powerful encryption, but breaches occur.

Finally, many organisations experience a feeling of loss of control by storing their data offsite. In such cases, the idea of off-site CRM might clash with corporate culture.

Local or Web-Based?

Ultimately, each organisation must consider its circumstances when deciding whether to opt for local or web-based CRM. Factors to consider are the size of the organisation, number of IT staff, business model, corporate set-up, resources for initial investment, etc.

If you’re facing this choice, the prime consideration should always be to identify a system right for your business, both now and in the future. This is best made in consultation with your CRM systems provider, who has the experience and technical knowledge to deliver the expert advice you need to make an informed decision about the right CRM software.

To learn more about this topic, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.