This being said, obtaining ROI for CRM in two years seems quite reasonable from a software and hardware perspective. Assuming you already have some of the basic requirements like desktops or laptops and a Microsoft network infrastructure, you will need to purchase, at a minimum, licenses for SQL Server, Windows Server, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM as well as a minimum of one physical piece of hardware to run the CRM. With all of these costs and the annual maintenance included, considering typical Microsoft CRM pricing, you would typically be looking at an investment of less than $60 per-user per-month. This is likely to be less than many of the competitive products, including hosted ones.
It is difficult to estimate the ROI of the professional services costs for implementing Dynamics CRM. For organizations with simpler needs that may be able to install and configure Dynamics CRM out of the box, professional services costs will be minimal. But Microsoft has built tremendous capabilities into Dynamics CRM that enable you do integrate it with other systems, build completely new screens and functionality, and customize both business processes and reporting for the organization. These services, along with data conversion, will require more time and budget.
And remember, unlike some hosted CRM products where the cost per-user per-month is more likely to increase rather than decrease, Microsoft CRM pricing per-user for an on-premise implementation will decrease significantly after the ROI term (e.g. the first two years). This is because you will own the license of Dynamics CRM after that term, and only need to pay the annual maintenance on your licenses and not the total cost of leasing the application.
Maybe the most important thing to remember, despite the complexity of the professional services or the length of the term used to calculate ROI, is understanding how CRM can impact your business growth. For example, if each of your sales representatives could make five more calls per day or follow up on ten more leads per week with CRM, what would be the impact to your overall performance? These are some things to consider.
This was first published in April 2007