I just read an interesting article on SaaS CRM over at destinationCRM.com. The article notes that while SaaS an have a lot of benefits to a company – low risk, fast deployment, little IT overhead needed, etc., there are some downsides.
One of the major downsides the author claims is the “lost opportunity” value of the CRM system that can happen in SaaS deployments. This point is most interesting:
SaaS may actually impede the ability to realize full entitlement to CRM value. The cost is not a direct cost, but rather an opportunity cost in terms of lost CRM benefits, at least for enterprise-scale organizations that can afford on-premise solutions and might therefore be able to achieve greater CRM benefits from the greater functionality available from those solutions. For these organizations, the choice of SaaS may postpone or even prevent the realization of substantial benefits in terms of internal operations or customer experience.
Now, in a traditional multi-tenant SaaS CRM deployment, this is 100% correct. The customization capabilities are far inferior to on-site deployments. SugarCRM’s On-Demand is multi-instance, and does allow for greater customization capabilities. But, and this is important, there is no substitute for on-site control of the data and application.
But it really comes down to business need, buyer choice, culture, etc. While there are a lot of technology arguments for either side of the SaaS/On-Site debate, it all really comes down to the customer. What does the customer want? What works best for the customer? Now, and in the future.
So, SugarCRM has worked hard to bridge this gap – to offer a next generation SaaS offering, as well as give users total control with our Sugar On-Site software versions as well. (And if the future brings change for a customer – they can always switch, something that can not be taken lightly given that no other CRM vendor offers such a simple migration between SaaS and On-Site, if there’s a choice at all.) It isn’t easy, and in fact requires a lot of work and even more effort in the customer service side of things, but we feel it is worth it.
Like I said, a CRM system can not be all things to all people. And for some companies, they are locked in to being just one thing – be it a SaaS or on-site software offering. Good timing, and some smart forward thinking from our founders, SugarCRM is able to provide two very strong options for the varying needs of businesses seeking CRM.