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Article : What To Look For When Selecting A Hosted CRM Solution

Once a company makes the decision to implement a hosted CRM solution, finding the right service provider is critical. Key factors to consider when choosing a partner, given the rise in multi-media communications, include selecting a solution that enables synchronized delivery and intelligent handling of all customer interactions and transactions, including phone, e-mail, fax, chat, web collaboration and call-me in both inbound and outbound applications. In addition, in order to link contact center operations with CRM strategies, the vendor should provide advanced CRM capabilities with a universal view of the customer, including contact information, activity/issue tracking, interaction and transaction history, and preferences. Finally, the analytics provided by the system should cover all elements of the solution at both an operational and business level.

Key Areas To Look For In A Hosted CRM Vendor

Experience And Capabilities
The vendor's ability to provide a complete solution is as important as its ability to execute the solution.

  • A service provider providing a hosted CRM solution should offer a full, robust suite designed for the hosting environment. It should include advanced analytics, interaction channels, universal queue and advanced CRM capabilities.

  • Companies reviewing hosted CRM solutions can gain insight into the capabilities and support the company provides, by checking customer and partner references.

  • Most importantly, companies must understand the hosting infrastructure.

Business intelligence functionality provides managers with the insight necessary to make informed business decisions. Thus, analytical functionality is fast transitioning from being a luxury to being a necessity for decision-makers in the enterprise.

  • The hosted solution should provide real-time or near-real-time reporting that provides managers with immediate access to logical and intuitive reports based on the company's data.

  • Flexibility in the controls of data manipulation is also important. Not only should the vendor offer canned reports, but it should also allow managers to create custom reports that meet specific needs. Companies should look for online analytical processing (OLAP) capabilities that allow business users to flexibly manipulate or "slice and dice" operational data, using familiar business terms, in order to provide analytical insight.

Functionality And Security
As the demand for hosted solutions rises, traditional CRM vendors have begun to retrofit their premise solutions to offer them as a service. The buyer should be cautious of these solutions, as they may not have the same benefits as a solution built to be both hosted and offered on-premise. Understanding the functionality of a hosted solution is key to understanding the vendor's ability to customize, integrate and provide security for the customer's existing resources.

  • A multi-tenant architecture improves the operation of a hosted solution. It is an inexpensive and comprehensive method of providing a shared architecture down to the last table. With a multi-tenant architecture, multiple clients with distinct needs, tools, processes, customizations and workflow can all reside in the same infrastructure each with its own completely separate, completely unique set of processes.

  • Integration should use a common platform based on open standards. This easy-to-program, goes-anywhere framework can summarize data from any system (transactions, interactions) and transmit it to agents using a single, web-based interface.

  • The true Net-Native J2EE solution eliminates the need for client/server applications on user desktops. Additionally, it utilizes the Internet as a global delivery system for maximum uptime and flexibility while ensuring full security.

  • Secure data transmission is also very important. Solutions should provide best-of-breed hardware, redundant firewalls, restrictive IPs, good authentication, and secure VPN lines between the client and the service provider. With the multi-tenant architecture, core tenants of the security framework for hosting keep everything separate.

Scalability And Flexibility
Having a hosted solution that can grow with your business is critical to long-range success and a long-term partnership with the service provider.

  • The solution needs to provide customization of channels, workflow, processes, knowledge, customizations, extensions, lists, desktops, and drop-downs. Upgrades to all customization should be automatic with system upgrades.

  • A hosted solution should also offer a variety of deployment and financing options. Purchase a license and let the service provider manage the logistics and infrastructure for you, or start with a hosted version and confirm that it works for your business before investing in a licensed version.

Processing Speed And Availability
As hosted solutions physically reside outside the user's network, companies should ensure that the service provider is able to meet processing speed and availability requirements.

  • The service provider should have a commitment to meet service level agreements and the solution architecture and the infrastructure to do so.

  • To ensure redundancy, the service provider should have multiple data carriers.

  • Ultimately, implementing the right hosted CRM solution generates rapid and sustainable ROI based on its ability to increase revenue, improve productivity, and reduce cost in your center.

About Cincom:
Company LogoCincom Systems delivers software and services to simplify complex business processes. For more than 43 years, we have empowered thousands of clients worldwide to outperform their competition by providing ways to increase revenue, control cost, minimize risk, and achieve rapid ROI.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Customers Wary Of Fraud Calls

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Monday, November 15, 2004

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2023 Buyers Guide Employee Engagement Solutions

Typical Problem!

In-house surveys can be time consuming, cumbersome at best and many staff often don't provide valid feedback as they fear ‘being too honest' with their employer for fear of retribution.

Even some 3rd party ‘managed' surveys can be challenging, costly and then there is no benchmark or significant value other than ‘managed by a 3rd party' approach, which leads to the problem of validity of data, security and integrity plus costs and time required by you.

The Solution!

TopPlace2Work is an easy to use program that allows you to gather valuable data on employee morale and engagement.

About us - in 60 seconds!

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