As companies grow, A CRM( Customer Relationship Management System ) becomes necessary. Proper customer service requires work. Knowing when contact information changes, why individuals or groups are using your services or products, what demographics they fall under, notes on previous communications or promises can become an overwhelming and complex issue. Systems like Salesforce and Netsuite if used properly can become a valuable asset. There is a price ticket associated with their use, so weighing the pros and cons should not be taken lightly.
Considerations to purchase
- Will the default features or easy to add plugin satisfy issues the company is currently facing
- How much is the solution worth and are the licensing costs worth it
- What are the training time and resources required for current and future staff
- Can the company pay the licensing fees (and can they continue to pay)
- Will the product increase productivity, or complicate it
Words of warning
Most companies in my experience use these products recklessly! Always, Always, Always remember you are trusting another company with your information. You are giving your customers information to another company. These services quickly become the only source of truth for your valuable proprietary data that runs the company. If the bill isn’t paid, or the service provider has an issue, reconstructing valuable customer information may take hundreds of man hours. Combing through emails, phone records, private notes, and fading memories may not be sufficient. Personal experience working with companies that use these services have accentuated the danger of not keeping a separate copy of company data.
Words of Acknowledgement
Having custom built similar systems, I am the first to admit their developers have done an incredible job! All systems have their weaknesses, but overall, what the developers of these systems have accomplished is truly amazing. If used properly, these products can handle most of your companies Customer management, Internal workflow, even Point of Sale needs. They can even be extended with developers and plugins to fit any requirement.
An interesting consideration while using their services
For companies with many custom requirements, there is a threshold where developing custom solutions become a viable option. Using the 3rd party systems to solve current issues while developing custom alternatives is a great strategy. If your expensive ( but well worth it ) Developers are building a solution that only works with a 3rd party platform, and your company discontinues service, all of your custom development on a another companies platform will become useless. Many companies vendor lock themselves by developing only for the proprietary system they are renting. Do not allow the development your company paid for get buried in the software graveyard.
Integration development is much safer. Use 3rd party platform development to create interaction with your system. In the future, if the need to part ways with one of the mentioned companies becomes necessary, you can switch only the portion that another companies solution satisfied. In my personal opinion, develop on these platforms communication endpoints, and develop custom solutions to custom problems.
Use valuable already developed Systems for what they are needed, and develop customized solutions that your company will own forever! After all, you or your company paid for it!!!