2011 was the year that the world of CRM started looking out for the little guy, and 2012 doesn’t look like it’s going to be any different. It was the year that SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises) finally had solid support and access to a CRM solution that they could call their own. SaaS (software as a service) has been around for a fair while, open source software ditto, but it wasn’t until last year that the big developers started pushing cloud based CRM systems that small businesses really had a solution they could call their own.
Previously, CRM software was largely on-premises. On-premises solutions were costly, required a large amount of customisation and in most cases, upgrades of the IT infrastructure of a business. These large initial outlays priced smaller businesses out of the CRM market, meaning large blue chips and market place dominators got their hands on the best business tools, widening the efficiency gap even further.
Cloud CRM software has garnered so much attention and support in the small business sector because unlike on-premises solutions, there are no expensive up front costs and no expensive IT infrastructure changes required. Instead, it’s charged at a per-user, per-month subscription. There is no cost for additional servers and no additional hardware required other than a computer with internet access.
Creating a cost effective solution for SMEs has levelled the playing field somewhat, delivering access to tools that improve productivity, that improve efficiency and that allow small businesses to improve their marketing effectiveness, website content management, track contacts, clients and leads and improve customer services and support.
Cost isn’t the only benefit. The fact they’re subscription based means scaling up your tech department is a case of adding more users to the subscription costs, decreasing it means removing subscriptions. This allows small businesses to respond to the demands of their business with flexibility.
On-premises solutions also require that upgrades and customisation to the software are made on site, installed directly on the hardware itself. This requires specialist help, comes at a cost, and can lead to downtime. Cloud based software is upgradable by the provider on their own servers meaning updates don’t cost anything, installation isn’t required and it shouldn’t result in any downtime.
The benefits of online CRM software for any number of business verticals, generic or niche are well documented and well proven, and have been bettering business processes for big businesses for a number of years. Now there’s a viable and cost effective solution for small businesses, it’s time for them to start enjoying similar benefits.
About the Guest Post Author: Pete hope is working alongside Cloud 9 Insights to create business related help articles and tips.