SMEs were also polled on their most significant concerns about adopting a cloud model for their CRM systems. The risk of service outages or interruptions topped the list, with more than 70% of the companies surveyed listing this as a key worry.The independent survey of more than 500 SMEs reveals that the biggest attraction of cloud-based CRM is the ability to avoid incurring high upfront costs, including the need for additional infrastructure and IT staff, necessary to implement an in-house solution – along with the rapid return on investment delivered by the subscription model. The highest proportion of SMEs surveyed – 58% – consider this to be the key benefit of cloud-based CRM at a time when businesses of all sizes are keen to cut costs.
The flexibility of cloud-based CRM also extends to the ability to upgrade the system at little or no cost, which is the third biggest plus for SMEs – listed as a key advantage by 40% of the businesses surveyed. With a cloud-based solution, the software is upgraded automatically on the host server, enabling SMEs to keep pace with the latest features without having to make significant re-investments.
Other advantages, listed in order, include:
-- the reduced maintenance and staff costs that come with hosting data in the cloud, which 32% list as a key benefit
-- the easier access to multiple functions and integration between departments possible with a cloud-based solution (30%)
-- the fact that hosting data in the cloud gives businesses access to the powerful processing and performance hub of a third-party specialist, cited by 23% of SMEs
SMEs are less interested in the capacity of cloud-based CRM to deliver remote and multi-device access or real-time database updates, largely because these functions are also available with in-house solutions.
As well as their concerns over the reliability of a cloud-based solution (named by 71% of the respondents), SMEs are also worried about the speed of service it would deliver, with 52% citing this as a major source of anxiety. Just under half are also particularly concerned that the security of their data will be compromised by hosting their CRM system off-site.
More information on CRM can be found at www.CRMindustry.com