Confused whilst sourcing a CRM!!

Topic Views - 399

company director

skylite ensured ltd

Hello all,

We are curently looking to source a new CRM for a busy London Call Centre. I was initially following a bespoke route via our outsourced IT team, however i was alerted to the possibility of matching our requirements in an off-the-shelf solution (i.e. Sales Force / Dynamics / ACT!).

The later generally seem to be hosted, and very expensive per licence.

There are 2 main reasons why i am struggling with the bespoke option;

1. The first being the lack of support - there is one main guy who will be writing the application, and i am worried that if the relationship sours or God forbid anything should befall him, then where does that leave me?

2. The second is that i will not be discovering any new ideas with the bespoke solution, it will only do what processes i ask of the programmers. With the existing CRM's i would hope it will do exactly what i want, with the added benefit of offering new things i have not thought of before to help improve the business.

My apologies for the long message - Does anyone have any advice on my available options. If possible, can someone point me to any good CRM packages as i am pretty desperate and confused just now!

Regards, Shameer.

Principal Consultant

Qology Limited

Without understanding more fully what you are looking for in a CRM system then it is difficult to make a recommendation.

I would say that you are right about a bespoke solution - it will, at best, only give you what you ask for an depending upon the skills of the person eliting the requirements from you it may even fall short of that.

Something in the middle, like the commercial open source offering from Sugar CRM ( - to whom I have no affiliation - that provides a decent, off the shelf starting point whilst allowing a skilled IT team to customise to your exact requirements over time may be worth considering.

Salesforce may seem "expensive" off the bat, but it is fully managed and there are plenty of people out there to provide training, customisation, support, etc...

Principal Consultant

Qology Limited

You may like to consider something in the middle of DIY and ready to go, like SugarCRM (to whom I have no affiliation), which is a commercial open source system that would give you the basic off the shelf whilst allowing your developers to customise it over time to fit your exact needs. It can be hosted of premise-based.

The usefulness of a completely bespoke system from a blank sheet of paper will depend largely on the skills of the team responsible for eliciting the requirements and draw you out of the comfortable area of what you know into the world of what you don't know where innovation can occur.

That said, commercial offerings like offer plenty of functionality, great support and there are plenty of people out there to provide integration, customisation, training, etc... So what may be perceived as high cost is actually probably fair value.



Contact Centre Manager

University of Stellenbosch

We too are currently sourcing a CRM solution and really like the flexibility and customisibility of the Microsoft CRM solution v4 - v5 out soon in 2010 - not affiliated at all to Microsoft just like the product

Head of Service Delivery

ProtoCall One

I'd be very wary of commissioning bespoke 'CRM'. You may end up paying a lot of money for something with minimal functionality and support challenges. Going for a package should ensure that you are not 'reinventing the wheel' in obtaining your CRM requirements.

However, much depends on what these requirements actually are and their priority to you. Packages are typically good value if you can live with the 'out of the box' processes but any 'configuration' or 'customisation' can be expensive.

If you can find a reputable software vendor that has already developed a package for your industry sector based on something like MS Dynamics or, this may be your most cost effective way forward.


Diamonds Software

There is a best of both worlds. Bespoke through the configuration of an off-the-shelf solution. As long as it can be configured to the way you want, in a timely manner, and not reliant on experts then this should work for you.

I'm bias but Diamonds Software maybe an answer / would have been if you have already solved you dilemma.

After experience of working in a team creating bespoke CRM. I would suggest

1. Understand what your wish list is for basic content ..... then your nice to have...

2. Who the audiences are .... your staff.... the customer.... third parties

3. What support rqd and when.... whilst testing... live.... upgrades...

If not bespoke how long will the version you are sold be guaranteed for ? Out of date before go live ?? upgrades...

The answers will help you get a clearer picture of what you are looking for whether it be bespoke or off the shelf... good luck ... enjoy ...



CRMnext generates a comprehensive view of its customers - this assists in setting progressive strategies and designing unique processes. The solution facilitates multi-channel integration and proliferation - it can integrate with the dialer, identify inbound callers and make outbound calls. Has features such as predictive dialers, automatic call distribution and intelligent skill based routing, the enterprise application interface provides a single window for all operations - application hopping is avoided and efficiency is increased. It unifies customer data into a single repository by integrating upstream and downstream applications plus unifying all customers facing processes - marketing, sales and service. It also enforces unified TAT and SLAs across stakeholders, thus improving accountability and performance

Account Manager


We have just implemented something called Support Desk Pro that can be used accross the entire enterprise



The guys who have posted previously have this spot on, without a bit more information we are really shooting in the dark to advise you. As the guys have also said above a bespoke solution is really expensive and maybe not the best solution for your needs


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