CRM Software: Go Vertical, Customize, or Build Your Own?

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Fellow blogger Lauren Carlson from Software Advice website wrote an interesting article (CRM: Go Vertical, Customize, or Integrate?) outlining three directions a company could choose when selecting CRM Software.  The options she discussed were 1) Go vertical 2) Customize or 3) Build Your Own. A brief summary of the pros and cons:

Go vertical: Most companies want a CRM system that has some degree of industry-specific “verticalization”. The example used is of a real estate agency that wants to track not only client contact info but data specific to the real estate transaction.  The benefits of buying an industry specific CRM software package are that you don’t have to pay for customization. It has industry best practices and processes built it. The vendor who wrote the software is intimately familiar with your industry and “speaks your language”. Your users are likely to adopt it quicker since they are familiar with the terms used. But the article points out a major disadvantage too, “Vertical solutions often don't have a large enough market—and therefore enough revenue—to support the level of continuous technical innovation that a, Oracle, or Microsoft offers.”

Another risk is that the vertical solution will be “over-verticalized” and not give you enough freedom to customize. After all, not all vertical businesses are 100% alike. That leads us to option #2

Customize: The article points out, “arguably the biggest benefit of going with a customized solution is that you can make it look, feel, and act exactly how you want. The system can be tweaked to mirror your business processes and support the way your company works. And with features like point-and-click customization, many tweaks and customizations can be made instantaneously.

But if you don’t know what you want, or need, these customizations can also give you too much freedom and run up the budget.

Build-Your-Own: New tools make it easier than ever before to build a CRM system from scratch. And you can host them at secure data centers to make it even easier.  But you have to find the right talent to do it for you, and this can take a lot of trial and error.  After building their own CRM system from scratch the author admits:  "The BYO approach can give you precisely what you want, but it is never the fastest path to implementation.” And when you build your own system you have nobody else to rely on for upgrades, updates, and maintenance. It is all on you.

What do I think is the best option? A combination of Go Vertical and Customize. I feel you can achieve this with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. You start with the core system then work with a Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner with experience in your specific industry to do minimal customization. Or perhaps there is already an add on product for Dynamics CRM that fits your industry.  You get a solid core system with vertical specifications. And a solid vendor behind it to make sure the system is constantly being improved. Plus, you can easily integrate it to a strong core financial system like Microsoft Dynamics GP!

Get free automated cost estimates for Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

By CAL Business Solutions, Microsoft Dynamics partner serving Connecticut

2 thoughts on “CRM Software: Go Vertical, Customize, or Build Your Own?”

  1. I think that if you need unique functionality it's better to build custom solution. But for small projects is easier to use ready solutions.

  2. CRM Software Blog Administrator

    We would love to hear your comments - will you 1) Go vertical 2) Customize or 3) Build Your Own?

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