Deployment options are, more than ever, a critical choice

n the early days of CRM, projects were bespoke, and installed “on-premises” – on a client’s own hardware, in their own server room. Then along came which transformed not just the CRM market, but the whole approach to provision of software. Everything was in the cloud, and businesses flocked to migrate to a system which promised drastically lower overheads, without the localised support and maintenance headaches.

Cantata is constantly advising on, and implementing, CRM solutions on a variety of platforms. A few years ago, we were assisting a client with some ongoing support on the platform, and looking at the potential to bring a large amount of additional data into the system. When we looked at the potential costs, we realised that we were looking at approximately £1M a year in additional data storage costs. The business case just didn’t stack up. We queried it with salesforce but there was nothing that could be done to make it palatable.

We see a similar thing in many organisations who wish to move from an on-premises Microsoft Dynamics implementation to “the cloud” – often Microsoft Dynamics 365 online. Other than various technical challenges, the unexpected hurdle is often a step change increase in costs. Even clients who are used to paying for additional private cloud, on-premises or dedicated infrastructure-as-a-service environments are genuinely shocked at how expensive data storage can be within the online environment.

The result was various hybrid solutions; a common choice is to store data in Microsoft SharePoint or a dedicated cloud-based file storage solution, where organisations often already have substantial available storage. The problem then is how to tightly integrate this within your core CRM platform, to ensure a usable experience and that functionality, such as drag and drop of documents, or automatic update of role-based security changes, works across these platforms. We’ve worked a lot in this area to deploy effective solutions to help.

Cantata regularly implements complex solutions, generally with advanced components running complex code, and often utilising third party systems or tools for data migration etc. These additional components need to sit somewhere – in an on-premises environment they would often just sit on one of the servers supporting the core CRM platform. In the cloud-based world, the components may be on a virtual server, or we may use containerised technology such as Azure functions. This has become a critical consideration.

While this may to start to seem really complex – and it kind of is – it is necessary to solve real world business problems in the cloud based world. The benefit, of course, are that you can continue to provide hugely functional and advanced CRM solutions, and avoid the costs of provisioning and supporting your own infrastructure.

If you are interested in continuing a discussion on this topic, or would like to be added to our mailing list for exclusive access to Cantata’s CRM research and thought leadership pieces, please contact us.