Customizing a CRM solution for your business needs

By Kristine Hegglin
Updated: February 14, 2011

CRM Solutions That Can Be Customized

There are two types of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions that can be customized; open source and on-site proprietary. Open source CRM solutions are highly customizable. These types of solutions can be downloaded from the vendor’s website. What’s nice about open source solutions is that customers get two versions of the code, the compiled version and the un-compiled version, making customizing easy. The downfall to customizing an open source CRM solution is finding product support services. Most on-site proprietary CRM solutions can be customized and are supported by the vendor. However, some on-site proprietary CRM solutions are out-of-the-box solutions and can only be configured, not customized.

CRM Solutions That Can Not Be Customized

Not all CRM solutions can be customized. For example, hosted CRM solutions can’t be customized. Hosted CRM solutions are also known as Software-as-a-Service, on-demand, and web-based solutions. These solutions are typically hosted by the CRM vendor and made available to customers for a monthly service charge. While hosted CRM solutions can be configured, they can’t be customized. Hosted CRM solutions are typically well suited to small and medium sized businesses that don’t have complex needs and requirements. These solutions cost less and are quick to implement when compared to on-premise or on-site CRM solutions.

Businesses that Need CRM Customizations

Large businesses generally require customizations more often when compared to small and medium sized businesses. Large businesses typically have more unique needs, business requirements, and legacy integrations that need to be taken into consideration. The more customizations made to a CRM solution, the more complex and costly the solution becomes. Highly customized CRM solutions take longer to implement and upgrade. Customers must have large budgets to accommodate for the cost of a highly customized CRM solution.

Types of CRM Customizations Businesses Perform

There are all sorts of customizations businesses perform to make a CRM solution suit their needs. Some businesses customize the functionality to behave in a specific manner. Some businesses customize these solutions to interface with other company-wide solutions. Customizing software can be as simple as adding a field to a series of user-interface pages to store more detailed database information, or, as complex as changing the entire way the solution looks and functions. Some customizations become so complex that the CRM solution becomes difficult to maintain and upgrade, costing the customer millions of dollars in vendor or third-party consulting fees.

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