Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog

The decision to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) solution is a big one. But taking the CRM plunge is just the beginning. Next you’ll have to figure out what sort of CRM system works best for you and your team. Questions about transition times, differing functionality, and scalability can sometimes make you feel like you’re in too deep.

If you’re starting to feel as if the mounting tide of decisions is dragging you down, let us help you with this breakdown of what we think is one of the toughest parts of your decision-making process: choosing between cloud-based and on-premises CRM solutions. Once you’ve made that choice, the rest of your CRM-adoption journey is going to be smoother sailing—so let’s get started!

Don’t sweat the big stuff. Whether you choose an online or on-premises system, the core functionality is the same. Both come with tools like unified service desk, sales automation, marketing campaigns, and integration through web services. What we’re really talking about here is finding the best CRM solution for you right now. There’s no choice here that takes away the new functionality your business needs, so don’t sweat it.

Tomorrow can wait. Your business is growing now, and planning too far into the future can sometimes hurt you today. If you’re already budgeting for on-site servers, you can take advantage of the unlimited workflows and custom entities offered by an on-premises CRM solution. Integrating massive amounts of data in a single go can also be faster when your integration and CRM servers are physically close to one another.

Servers have their limitations however, and you might find that your on-site storage fills up faster than you thought it could. In these situations, an online CRM solution allows for quicker scalability. If you only need a very large storage capacity for part of the year, or if you’re not sure how much space you’ll need right away, the flexibility of a cloud-based CRM system could save you a lot of cash.

Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Remember that this is about expanding your potential, not reinventing the wheel. If you’re using online versions of Microsoft Exchange or SharePoint through Office 365, CRM online can enhance their functionality while also unifying your data and insights with Microsoft Power BI reporting. Online CRM systems also keep you on the cutting edge with automatically implemented updates and upgrades.

If you’re more comfortable with direct access to your servers and want to approve updates to your CRM system, an on-premises solution gives you the total control you need. SharePoint integration is housed client-side too, allowing for additional features like personal sites and enterprise content management. 

Change is good. As a final note, remember that a good CRM solution takes into account the changing needs of your business. If an online system makes sense today, then it’s the right choice. If your needs change, you can simply import your database to your on-site servers. With a data migration, you can also swap from on-premises CRM to an online solution. So do your homework and choose wisely, but rest assured that your CRM system can always be adapted to your evolving needs.

Want more information about Microsoft Dynamics CRM for your business? Review our pricing and licensing options for Sales, Service, Marketing and Social teams.

We're always looking for feedback and would like to hear from you. Please head to the Dynamics 365 Community to start a discussion, ask questions, and tell us what you think!