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What Is On-Premise CRM?

There are many decisions to be made during the customer relationship management (CRM) buying process. Perhaps one of the most important decision is choosing the deployment option that is best for your business. In recent years, on-premise CRM solutions have lost market share to their on-demand counterparts. But those low monthly fees can be deceiving. In some cases, on-premise CRM can actually be more cost-effective and produce a more tangible return on investment. Additionally, it can offer greater flexibility, deeper functionality, and tighter integration with existing business systems.

What Is On-Premise CRM?
On-premise CRM, also known as licensed, on-site, or in-house CRM, is a customer relationship management application that is housed at a client’s location and managed by its own employees. Internal IT personnel is responsible for installing all hardware and software components, integrating the solution with existing systems, deploying it to end-users, and storing all related data. System administration, upgrades, and other routine maintenance are also performed by IT staff.

Key Benefits for Your Company
On-premise CRM provides companies with complete control over their entire customer relationship management environment, allowing them to put the appropriate mechanisms in place to ensure optimum performance and reliability. This allows them to streamline and automate critical customer-facing operations across the business, while minimizing the risk of downtime, server overloads, system failures, and other technical issues.

Businesses also receive a higher level of protection with on-premise CRM. Since confidential customer information isn’t managed by a third-party and is in complete control of company staff at all times, it is more secure and less likely to be compromised or breached.

On-premise CRM also offers greater return on investment and lower total cost of ownership. While hosted CRM solutions and their pay-as-you-go pricing models may appear to deliver a quicker “bang for the buck,” they can be more expensive in the long run. Over the course of several years, those monthly fees could add up to more than the cost of an in-house solution.

On-premise CRM is designed to deliver value over an extended period of time, and has proven to be more cost-effective for companies that have long-term CRM strategies in place.

Does My Company Need On-Premise CRM?
On-premise CRM is ideal for any business that:

  • Is experiencing rapid growth. On-premise CRM is more effective in large, enterprise-scale scenarios. Companies that require smaller CRM implementations initially, but expect their user base and needs to grow significantly in the future, may not find the scalability they need with hosted CRM.
  • Require extensive customization. Many businesses must make significant modifications to their CRM system in order to support unique, specialized business processes. Additionally, some companies need industry-specific or sub-industry-specific capabilities. Hosted CRM does not offer the same level of customization as on-premise CRM applications.
  • Have a complex infrastructure. While many hosted CRM solutions do offer some level of integration, they can present some challenges when working within more intricate environments. Businesses that must link their CRM system across a disparate, complex infrastructure should choose an on-premise CRM application.
  • Employ a large number of remote workers. Hosted CRM requires users to have Internet access in order to interact with the system. With on-premise CRM, software is installed on each user’s desktop, so they can work off-line and synchronize any changes they made to the application’s data once they reconnect to the Web or network.

Common On-Premise CRM Features
Like their hosted CRM competitors, on-premise CRM packages offer a broad range of features that span sales, marketing, and service operations, as well as comprehensive business intelligence. However, on-premise CRM typically offers deeper functionality, particularly in the areas of cross-departmental workflow and collaboration. Additionally, many on-premise CRM solutions provide:

  • Synchronization capabilities, so off-line workers can retrieve, add, or edit system data, then incorporate their changes when they re-connect.
  • Intuitive tools that allow IT staff to quickly and easily configure and administer the system.
  • Support for global implementations, including multiple languages and currencies.
  • Pre-defined process workflows for specific vertical sectors.

What to Look for When Choosing an On-Premise CRM Solution
While most on-premise CRM solutions will offer similar features and functionality, there are some key factors to consider when making a purchase.

  • Ease of administration. IT resources must oversee the CRM system, while continuing to juggle other critical corporate technology projects. Therefore, you should select a solution with simple, easy-to-use administration tools, so your CRM environment can be managed as efficiently as possible.
  • Flexible integration. An on-premise CRM solution is a long-term investment. Make sure the one you choose can be easily integrated not only with your existing systems, but with any new applications you plan to add in the future.
  • Customization. The primary benefit of an on-premise CRM solution, as opposed to a hosted one, is the level of customization it provides. Purchase a solution that can be easily tailored to support your unique business processes.