Tuesday, November 24, 2009

CRM Hosted - Pro's & Con's

We get more and more questions about hosted or subscription versions of sales management tools. We have a white paper that goes into the detail, but here's an outline of why you might or might not be interested in a hosted option:


1. Anytime/Anywhere Access to your data
With a hosted or subscription product, you can log in to your database from any computer that has Internet access. Your server and other programs are protected by your internal security.

2. Elimination of Hardware and Maintenance Headaches and Expense
My favorite aspect of hosted or subscription software is that there are no hardware issues. Because these services are specialized, their server and security settings are appropriate for the software so there are rarely installation or incongruity issues. You don't have to buy or maintain servers or server software. You don't have to worry about updates, upgrades, software maintenance, or backups. Countless headaches and substantial investments are eliminated.

3. Tax Benefits
I am neither a tax accountant nor a tax attorney, so this is unofficial, but my understanding is that your monthly payments for a hosted or subscription software are expensed in the year you pay them, where server hardware and software would by treated as fixed asset investments and only the allowable depreciation would be expensed in a given year.

1. Ongoing Expense
It's true. You have to keep making monthly payments as long as you use the program. These are usually small monthly payments for each user registered to use the software. Some services require that you also purchase the software licenses.

2. Software Limitations
Subscription software often has constraints that you do not have with software that is installed on your own server. These constraints are generally imposed because the hosting service must protect its servers from unrelated software or interfaces that could endanger or conflict with the main software they provide.

3. Data Conversion
Make sure that you know before subscribing to a hosting service what the process and expense will be to obtain your data if you decide you no longer want to use the service or the software. Any reputable service will guarantee that the data is yours, but it is important to know what's involved in getting it in your hands and what form it will be in.

If you want to learn more about subscription or hosted CRM, call me at 713-995-8455 or email me at susan@powertime.com

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