It may seem to you that SaaS CRM is the most prudent choice for your business but before you engage a SaaS service provider for the same following are few tips to keep in mind to make the most of your cloud CRM.
Read service agreement carefully: Increased demand for hosted CRM services has brought into many service providers to the market but no two of them have the same terms and conditions in their service-level agreement (SLA). Some providers may avoid making promises regarding uptime and availability of their services simply to avoid liability for the monetary loss of the user and thus, to avoid any legal complications.
Services offered: The SLA is a very important document as it spells out in tangible terms the services offered by the service provider, such as – data ownership, data security, technical support, downtime support and compensations, data recovery etc.
SaaS infrastructure: The SaaS provider’s outage will prevent you from accessing your SaaS services. It can also affect efficient data recovery process in case of data loss. Lastly, sound infrastructural facility is a promise of successful deployment of their SaaS services. Yet, many companies fail to ask the crucial questions regarding infrastructural stability and modernity of the vendor. Ask questions such as –
- What infrastructure do you have?
- Where are the servers hosted?
- Do you have enough technical expertise to meet emergency situations?
- What CRM customizations do you offer?
- Is the data hosted at a single data center or at multiple locations?
Downtime adjustment: Most service providers don’t recompense for business loss occurred due to outage, especially, if it occurs at middle of the night when no one notices it. Some vendors may credit a certain part of your upfront payment back to your account if certain conditions are met such as – the services were unavailable for a length of time or the vendor couldn’t fix the problem satisfactorily. Before signing the contract the user may also ask the service provider the process of notifying an outage.
Costs: Companies implementing SaaS need to keep in mind that running a SaaS CRM may cost you more than running the software internally if you do not shop around. However, this cost is fixed and you’ll not have to pay extra for maintenance and upgrading services. Meanwhile, inquire also about their subscription renewal policies, payment mode and payment options.
Security: When you are employing the services of a SaaS vendor you also need to keep in mind how you will recoup if your service provider goes out of business or their website goes down and accordingly you must devise a proper data recovery plan. Similarly, you need to investigate about their data security policies. It has often been discovered that SaaS providers fail to implement industry standard data security (firewall) mechanism.
CRM customization: Most of the companies are no longer looking at SaaS CRM as an individual service. For more comprehensive solution they are often looking at integrating ERP with their hosted CRM service. Check out if your vendor is capable of offering such CRM customization.
Transitioning to a virtualized environment is inevitable for companies to stay ahead in competition but they shouldn’t rush to choose their SaaS vendors. If you have users who will access your CRM from offshore locations you must make sure that your SaaS provider has required global reach.