1. Is the existing hosted CRM program meeting your needs today?
2. Can they meet your projected growth needs over the next three to five years?
3. What value would bringing this system "in-house" bring to your organization?
4. Is your IT department able to manage, in real time, an "in-house" system?
To determine if it is time to bring CRM on premise, you need to answer the first two questions. If the answer is that the hosted option is no longer meeting your needs and the vendor cannot meet your future needs, then it is time to look at other options, including other hosted and "in-house" system providers. My suggestion would be to issue a request for proposal or request for information (RFP/RFI) outlining exactly what you are looking for in both functionality and costs, to help you make your decision. Even if you stay with the hosted option, you will gain an enormous amount of market intelligence from this process.
Yes, if you do decide it is time to bring your CRM process "in-house," you will be able to migrate your existing information and process intact. All of the larger CRM players can do this fairly easily. You would want to make this issue a central part of the RFP process and place financial penalties on the vendor if it is not completed to your expectations.
This was first published in October 2006