In-sourcing a CRM System - Some Questions You Should Ask (Yourself).

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If your company is taking the step to buy a third party CRM software it will face a lot of challenges. These challenges are not more or less when you decide to make the software yourself. They are just different.

There are software vendors that provide a best-practice CRM-solution. And why should you not choose one of them? There are pro’s and con’s for each way you may decide. But if you decide to buy a CRM solution, this article provides a additional vision on how to select the package. Additional and embracing other methods, because this approach is solving only a small, yet important part.

In this approach you start at the top. You are not addressing the details, but you focus on the main characteristics of the CRM package (which you match with your company profile).

When in-sourcing a “foreign” solution you might want to know about the origin of solution. What is the architecture behind the solution and is it the same architectural approach of the suppliers that is made concrete in the package? In that sense you are selecting the supplier more than the package.

The approach focuses on de similarities between the way you would solve a CRM approach and the way the supplier did this for many other clients.

Different suppliers will have made different solutions according to their preferences and style. This variation of approaches will result in different CRM solutions. To give some examples:

  • Is the CRM solution providing broad functionality for all range of companies or only for specific companies in specific sectors for in which it serves a profound functionality? (did the supplier want to serve the whole market or only a segment)
  • How open is the package. Does it easily integrate with other solutions?
  • Is it providing a technical superior solution or is it focused on commercial practice?
  • What is the usability level of the system and how long is the learning curve?
  • How is the balance between innovation and conservation (is the system upwards compatible)?
This last issue is important for you buy not only a package for not using your own resources today, but you also will make yourself dependent on future developments. Can the supplier innovate as swiftly as you would yourself? And where does the supplier get is information from? Does it innovate on basis of requirements that come from your company and others the have sold the package to, or do they have an own line of strategy and expertise which they stick to? Especially when dealing with CRM you should observe the supplier in its Client approach.

When selecting a long-list or even a short-list you should focus on some main architectural characteristics of the solution you are to buy. And check this with your own business profile. It is a simple (and reusable) step that saves you a lot of work in following stages.

© 2006 Hans Bool

Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice. Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days. You can apply for a free demo account


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