To Cloud your #CRM or Not to Cloud. For that is the question

Cloud Computing

How to make users feel that using cloud can like trekking through a Brazilian jungle.

I’m guessing that many you might be aware of the issue with Amazon’s S3 cloud storage service which led to massive outages across the internet.

So far, Amazon has not given an indication as to the cause.


The only news on their site at this time is that the problems have been resolved:

But why did it take down so much of the internet?

Yes, many applications were down for some hours. Buffer, Slack, Trello, and a great many more were unusable (or barely usable) during the time that Amazon had their outage.

According to the Synergy Research Group’s 2017 report, Amazon Web Services owns more than a whopping 40 percent share of the global public cloud services market.Other providers, such as Google, Microsoft and IBM are small players by comparison.

So maybe you can understand that when Amazon coughs, we all get colds.

What does this have to do with CRM?

Remember: There is no cloud, it’s just someone else’s computer

More and more, the major (and not so major) CRM providers have been pushing users to move their data to the vendors’ cloud systems. Even Swiftpage has been doing this with Act!.

Of course, there is a big advantage to the vendor to push for these subscriptions – They don’t have to add any real value to the product in order to keep getting your money. A case in point for this is the lack of any new serious functionality in Act! v19. Something I blogged about, here: What’s coming in Act! v19 – Good, bad or very ugly?

Although, more recently, the vendors have even put their on-premises products on the subscription model (Microsoft’s Office 365 and Swiftpage’s Act! are examples of this strategy to get users paying every year. They’ve both overly inflated the pricing of the “outright purchase” or “perpetual” licenses. They’ve also come down hard on the users who would consider buying outright, by making some features only available on subscription and (as Swiftpage says they’ll be doing for Act!) refusing to provide bug-fix updates within the version you purchased.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to you?


Advantages of cloud implementations:

  • No need for server hardware CAPEX
  • The IT costs can be reduced
  • Maintenance, upgrades and support are handled by the vendor
    • This can be an issue when they update their version and break things that you use
  • Can be easier to access from anywhere – This requires extra work for on-premises
  • You, or your IT, are responsible for security if you make it available externally.
  • There used to be a reduced upfront cost for the cloud, when compared to on-premises. But, with more vendors moving their on-premises versions to subscription, this is nolonger an advantage


Advantages of on-premises implementations:

  • Retain 100% ownership of your data
    • How well do you trust the vendor to stay in business?
    • What happens to your data if they close?
  • Retain 100% of the integrity of your data
  • Retain 100% of the security of your data
  • Less susceptible to external connectivity
    • Not all areas have great internet access
    • Because Handheld Contact for Act! stores the data on the device, I regard it as the best solution for Act! users with iPhones, iPads, Androids or Blackberrys
  • Less susceptible to an issue like the recent Amazon one
  • Sometimes greater functionality is available in the desktop version
  • Often a wider range of integration possibilities
  • Ability to customise your CRM solution with add-ons or custom written code that might not be possible in a cloud version

How about a hybrid solution?

One of the areas that Act! does best at, is the hybrid solution of using both delivery systems.

This can be a useful compromise:

  • You still need your own IT – In-house or out-sourced
  • You might still be susceptible to the security issues above … at both sides.
  • You can pull your data out in any way you choose
  • You are not constrained by internet access and can use the data via an app on your phone or laptop even when out of range.
  • Access to both sets of integration and customisation options.
  • You’d barely notice an outage from Amazon or the software vendor

After all this, what’s best for you?

And that’s really the question to ask. Each person will have a quite different view on this.

  • You need to properly document your needs. This article might help: What’s the best CRM?
  • You should try to find a VAR or Consultant who’s unbiased in this area so they can look at YOUR needs, rather than selling you something when there were better options. For some assistance in this area, read: How to pick the right CRM consultant for you

Please add a comment to this post with any thoughts you might have on the subject.


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