The ROI Behind CRM Upgrades

I’ve been reading a lot lately about upgrades and product enhancements from the likes of Oracle, and others. During a down economy, the pressure only increases to realize ROI after making an upgrade, and for enterprises running legacy CRM applications, weighing that decision can be a tough one.

It’s a no-brainer, but CRM initiatives should be business-driven. I think there are still plenty of CRM professionals getting caught up in the functionality race that vendors are constantly striving to win, and in the process, failing to measure or capitalize on ROI, and hurting thanks largely to IT-driven or vendor-imposed upgrades that come up short on proven results.

Business drivers not only drive a more customized analysis of expected returns, but can also make the argument that an upgrade isn’t necessary, and instead implementing a small piece of functionality or a customization is all that’s needed…in short, cherry picking the most needed functionality rather than overhauling the entire engine. Finally, with everything I’ve read recently about Web 2.0, open source, cloud computing, etc., why shouldn’t businesses look to open source and cloud computing to cut costs rather than entirely upgrading or outright replacing new ones?