Business leaders considering Cloud CRM vs On-Premise - this is a conversation I have quite often have with both customers currently using Microsoft CRM On-premise and companies evaluating CRM. First let's start with the main benefits of cloud computing:
- Increase/Decrease capacity - Cloud based systems have the ability to increase and decrease capacity as needed. Think about a business like a national pizza chain. During the Super Bowl their business increases by several hundred percent. If they hosted their online ordering site on their own equipment they would need to purchase hardware to support the high-demand period. This means that for the other 364 days of the year the extra capacity would sit idle. Hosting this application in the cloud allows them to increase capacity for only the period they need it for.
- Rollout new applications without investing in infrastructure
- Transition IT resources to become Business Analysts
- Reduced IT Administration - Less hardware to maintain means less IT admin resources needed
- Stay Current - With most cloud applications you are always on the latest & greatest version
- Operating Expense (OPEX) vs. Capital Expense (CAPEX) - Do you prefer to pay for technology largely upfront (CAPEX) or monthly (OPEX)?
- Cutting edge development is being done on cloud applications - It's no secret that cloud is the focus in technology today
- High Availability - Consider the cost to replicate the redundancies that a data center like Microsoft has
Benefits of the Online version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM :
- Get new versions faster - Microsoft delivers new functionality to the cloud first
- Microsoft performs version upgrades (server) - Server level upgrades are managed by Microsoft
- Backups are performed by Microsoft
- Datacenter capabilities (Security, redundancy, disaster recovery, scalability, Etc.)
- Reduced implementation Costs - There are no servers to buy or configure/install (or maintain) and no server side software to install
- Integrated with Office 365
- InsideView Insights included at no charge
- Social Listening included at no charge
- PowerBI available - PowerBI is only available for Online customers
There are some considerations and potential limitations with CRM Online that you should consider as well:
- Not able to freeze a version - With CRM Online you can delay the upgrade to a new version, but only for so long
- No direct access to SQL database - This could create some limitations with custom report development
- Reports must be developed using fetch XML or T-SQL - This could require some training for your report writers. Microsoft recently released Power BI which may offset this and provide a robust analytic platform
- Limit of 300 Custom Entities
- Point-in-time restores not available
- Poor Internet connectivity may impact use of any online platform
There are ways to address these limitations and we can help you assess the best options. The biggest concern I hear from business leaders is related to the security fear of putting their data in the cloud. Think about it this way... chances are your On-premise CRM system is already connected to the Internet so that your sales professionals have remote access to it...meaning essentially your data is already in the cloud even if you are running your own On-Premise solution. You would have to make substantial technology infrastructure investments to even begin to scratch the surface of what Microsoft already has in place to insure security, redundancy, continuity, disaster recovery capabilities and compliance. It's time to stop fearing the cloud and embrace the future and the capabilities that it provides.
If you are considering a CRM solution and want to compare Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online vs. On-premise; or if you are currently using the On-premise solution and are considering migrating to the cloud, we can help. Beringer Associates is a Gold Certified Microsoft Partner with certifications in Customer Relationship Management, Cloud Customer Relationship Management, Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions and Cloud Productivity. We can help you develop and implement your cloud migration strategy. If you are interested in understanding the benefits, costs and return on investments in a cloud migration strategy and/or CRM solution, or have any questions on limited time incentives, please contact us anytime.