You may have a complex system with hundreds of users who need ongoing training. You may need frequent custom reports. You may be facing an upgrade, or an integration. Or migrating data from a different system after a business acquisition. You may be rolling out new functionality. You may just find that something isn’t working as expected and you need to fix it. Whatever the case, you need CRM support.
So what’s the best way to provide for it? Can your in-house IT team support your CRM, or do you need outside help? And if you are calling in an expert, should you have a contract or just pay on an ad-hoc basis.
The decision is different for each organisation, but here are some pointers to help you work out what’s right for you.
Handing responsibility for CRM support to your existing IT team often seems the obvious solution. It may be right for you, but consider these points before you commit?
Do your team have the time? If they’re overburdened already, this option may just mean your CRM is one more thing they can’t look after very well.
Is your need for support steady or does it fluctuate? Managing peaks and troughs of demand with a fixed staffing level can be challenging.
Do your team have the expertise? If you want them to look after your CRM, they may need some specialist training to do so properly. Which is worth the investment if you have enough CRM issues to justify it. But if you only need a couple of reports every 6 months or so, they’ll probably have forgotten half of what they learned by the time you want it.
Do they have the soft skills to resolve user issues effectively? There’s a vast difference between reinstalling a PC and teaching a user how to navigate various data entry screens. Sitting down with business users to design a workflow requires even more business and interpersonal skills.
This option is often used before, during or after a CRM project. The intention is to cover a ‘peak’ in demand for CRM support. It can work well but there are some downsides.
This scenario sees CRM knowledge concentrated in one individual with no long term commitment to the organisation. Most CRMs are complex, and it’s unlikely that a single person is expert in all aspects of them.
When the contractor finishes, you find yourself back where you started. You still need some kind of support and troubleshooting for your CRM.
This solution gives you access to in-depth expertise in your chosen CRM system. Your CRM support partner should have a range of staff, both technical and business-focused, so you get the benefit of multiple perspectives. They’re also troubleshooting other CRM systems all the time, which means they’re likely to have seen issues before and be able to resolve them quickly.
Ideally, you want to choose a CRM support partner who take the time to understand your business, your priorities, your system. That means they can help you and your users effectively. That’s part of the deal with OpsisAssist, our support service for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
A common objection to external support is the cost – and if you’re cash-strapped, that’s a valid concern. But be sure to weigh this dollar cost against the opportunity costs, risk and potential business disruption of other options.
In many ways, an external support contract is like insurance. You may not use it every month, but knowing that it’s there and that you are not exposed can free you to concentrate on other priorities in your business.
There’s only one time Opsis can recommend this as an option. If you’ve had a third party working on your CRM, they know and understand your business and your solution. They may be able to support you effectively on an ad-hoc basis. But beware – your urgent request interrupts their scheduled business, so they’re likely to charge high rates for it.
There are pros and cons to all options, but at the very least, we hope this post equips you to make an informed decision. Or if you have further questions, please contact us.
Opsis is an expert CRM consulting company. We are not an IT company, nor a management consultancy, although we often work with both of these. Our focus is wholly CRM, and particularly Microsoft Dynamics CRM. We are based in Sydney, NSW, with clients in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and across Australia. Our range of CRM services include CRM strategy, CRM scoping, CRM implementation, technical support and CRM training.