Friday, July 8, 2011

Fud Buster Friday #58: You want Open CRM?

which one is your data in
Which one is your data in?

Ever wonder when a client says they want a CRM application what they really mean?
When you push them, do they really understand what they are after?
Is it really yet another server to store repetitive data or a Cloud based solution to duplicate everything?

Or do they want to replace their existing solution...if they had one?

Some have had IBM Lotus Domino based solutions that were built in-house or from a now defunct consultant or company and want to get away from them because, well they are older solutions, and you want new shiny and exciting CRM applications. Right, because you have a 100% customizable solution and would prefer a 50% one? Sorry did we give you too many choices? Afraid to hire a developer?

Maybe you have a solution from an existing company who has kept updating it perpetually so it is not just web based but mobile as well and for all your devices. Maybe this solution is now part of SugarCRM which is open source and relatively cheap per user at around $30/month. Your Notes license is depending on the license type, renewed at $20-50/yr. So the new solution costs you 7 times as much PER USER as the one you already own.

Sure you can say development will be expensive, let's say your enhancements are $25,000. In a small company this would be overkill, but for your average 500 person company that is $50/user. Still think it is expensive?

But you say the money for an SaaS or Cloud offering comes from a different budget and out of the IT budget. Fine I can't argue with that entirely but what is more important for the data?

Huh? The data? Who cares about data we care about cost! You may say this, and that is okay.

But have you thought about how are you going to get that new solution, SalesForce, Sugar, MS CRM or whatever to connect across all your services, software, devices and secure it in a way that makes the sharing of data easier...not harder?

One client went the MS CRM route and then related to me how painful it was to integrate it into anything because of 3 things. Cost, Resources/time, knowledge. The last one especially was intriguing as they implied the Business Partner they used had no idea what they were doing. It happens. But A second client related similar issues as they dug in deeper to MS CRM. It is a build it to use it solution. Typical of Microsoft to make companies work harder to do the simple thing and leave the really hard stuff for some other time or version.

A new silo has been built and you paid for it, congratulations.

You were expecting the opportunity to merge various databases and depositories into one nice place. You still get all of that from Domino, it will connect to your MS CRM as well. One storage for all. No mess, no years of consultants.

You want a truly open solution and they are out there. IBM has worked out deals with SalesForce and SugarCRM for Lotuslive. They are partially integrated right now so calendar invites etc.. get fed through and some other points of integration. These may now start looking better to you.

In soem cases it is easier to get information into Domino, then push it out to whatever end source. No matter which way you choose, you have an open solution but that MS CRM hard to say the same.