Bespoke CRM vs off-the-shelf software.
You’ve made the decision to implement a CRM system within your business, now you might be at the stage where you are weighing up an off–the–shelf package, or a bespoke solution.
There are pros and cons to each. But which is right for you? In this blog, we aim to provide more insight into off-the-shelf software, or a custom-built system…
As the name suggests, off-the-shelf software is essentially a product which is already built for the mass market and is ready to use from pretty much immediately. This software is more generic, as it is pre-built for a much wider audience, so often has more features than an individual organisation would require. Additionally, due to the lack of individuality, you are left with a host of features that you don’t really need and have to adapt your processes to fit around the way the system works.
From a price perspective, opting for an out-of-box solution is often cheaper, as you don’t pay for it to be built around your requirements. However, as we previously stated, there is likely plenty of functions that are not of value to your business, which you will still get charged for and must navigate around from a user experience perspective.
Another consideration is that although the upfront costs might be cheaper, as your requirements change and you require additional functionality, an off-the-shelf solution can be restrictive. Unlike a bespoke solution, there are limitations as to how much you can customise the system to fit around your evolving needs and therefore might have to invest in additional software, or if possible, pay a developer to build integrations into other systems. These costs all add up in the long-term and the outcome may not be as effective as a bespoke solution.
Ultimately, you want to invest in software that supports your business processes and the way you do business, rather than having to fit your processes around the system. With a Bespoke CRM, the solution is custom-built and tailored to suit your specific business needs. Below are three key benefits of a bespoke system:
- Work the way you want to
In general, no other business operates in the exact same way you do, even if you are in the same industry. A bespoke solution will fit around your individual requirements, which a partner/vendor will work with you to understand.
By having a solution which matches the way in which your business operates day-to-day, your users are more likely to engage with it and want to use it, as they are not having to navigate around irrelevant functionality which hinders the way in which they want to work.
Over time, your business requirements are more than likely to change, rarely staying the same as when you initially implement your CRM solution. A Bespoke CRM is scalable and as your needs evolve and your business grows, the system can adapt to fit.
Off-the-shelf systems can be restrictive when it comes to changing requirements, as the solution does not develop and grow with the organisation. Therefore, users start to work outside of the system in spreadsheets for example, or they continue to fit their processes around the CRM as they have no option to change it. With a solution that is custom-built, you have a more stable platform to build on in the future, as the business scales and requirements change.
- Flexible pricing
With a Bespoke CRM, you are only paying for functionality that you require, unlike an off-the-shelf package where you have access to features you may not necessarily need. Additionally, as the solution is scalable and can be customised to fit your changing requirements, it is easy to extend the platform at a lower cost. With an out-of-the-box solution, charges can creep up if your requirements change as you may need to build integrations with other products, making it a costly alternative.
Where does Dynamics 365 fit in?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a range of business applications (Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, Field Service and Project Service Automation) that can be extended and customised to fit the requirements of an individual business.
Dynamics 365 comes with all of the standard features you would expect to find within a CRM solution, such as leads, opportunities, quotes, orders, etc. However, sometimes you need more than this, and that is where a partner comes in. On each project roughly 60% of the solution is pre-built, then a partner will work with you to understand your specific needs and requirements. Following this, the remaining 40% is then designed and developed to suit your business.
Another benefit of D365 is the licensing model. Once the system is implemented, you pay a license fee per user, per month. Each application which has its own specific functionality, can be purchased individually, so you aren’t paying for what you don’t need.
One of the concerns of a fully bespoke system that is built from scratch, is the technology becoming outdated. Microsoft roll out updates to the platform (two major releases a year and then regular updates on top of this) so you can be confident that the core technology is kept up to date.
What does a Bespoke CRM look like?
There are various possibilities of what can be achieved with a Bespoke CRM, as the software is really tailored to your organisation. To help you get a clearer idea of what this looks like, below are a few examples of where we have implemented a bespoke solution for our clients, designing functionality outside of the standard features…
– Referral (Lead) and Opportunity Management
– Volunteers & Employee Applications
– Donation Management
– Contract Management
– Lead & Opportunity Management
– Memberships and Benefits
– Membership Transactions and Renewals
– Customer Service and Complaint Management
Hospitality & Sports Clubs
– Lead & Opportunity Management
– Venue and Event Bookings
– Partner and Sponsorship Management
– Commission Structures and Targets
Maintenance & Inspections
– Preventative and Corrective Contracts
– Asset & Work Order Management
– Inventory Management
– Mobile App for Technicians
– Lead and Opportunity Management
– Asset Finance Requirements
– Proposal Management and Underwriting
– Deal Acceptance & Paperwork Processes
– Case Management & Customer Self Service Portal
– Managed Service Contract Management
– Change Request Management
– Progress and Usage Reporting