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The top 10 CRM on demand definitions

On-demand CRM applications are becoming more commonplace in enterprise organizations, midmarket companies and small businesses across the globe. But the on-demand CRM market is filled with buzzwords and technical jargon, making it a difficult to keep up with this technology trend. We've compiled this list of the top CRM on demand definitions you need to know to evaluate and use on-demand or Software as a Service (SaaS) CRM.

Table of Contents

The top 10 CRM on demand definitions
1. On demand CRM vs. SaaS CRM vs. hosted CRM
2. Web services
3. Application service provider (ASP)
4. Multi-tenancy
5. Single-tenancy
6. Mash-up
7. Integration connector
8. Application programming interface (API)
9. Apex
10. Widget

The top 10 CRM on demand definitions

Understanding  on demand CRM vs. SaaS CRM vs. hosted CRM can be confusing, and most experts will agree that these terms are not synonymous. According to expert Denis Pombriant, the term "hosted" means that someone else is managing the application via a remote computer. Software as a Service (SaaS), on the other hand, is a software distribution model where hosted applications are made available to a customer over a network, typically the Internet. The term "on demand" is used to describe applications that are available via the SaaS or hosted delivery models.

  • Learn more about the difference between hosted CRM and on-demand CRM.

     Web services, or application services, are services (usually including programming and data) provided by an application service provider (ASP) that are made available to users over the ASP's Web server. On demand CRM is an example of a major service offered as a Web service.

  • Get tips for evaluating CRM on demand.

    An  application service provider (ASP) is a company that provides customers with access to specific, remotely-hosted applications or services over the Internet. ASPs usually provide their applications or services on a pay-per-use or subscription basis. Any vendor that provides hosted SaaS CRM applications to its customers is an example of an ASP.

  • Learn the pros and cons of using a hosted application in the call center.

     Multi-tenancy means that multiple companies are using a single, remotely-hosted database. Every organization's customer data is stored in the same database and kept separate. While multi-tenant SaaS CRM applications tend to be less expensive, many companies worry about the security of their customer data in a shared database.

     Single-tenancy means that each customer is provided with a dedicated database, middleware and application instance. Since single-tenancy provides customers with their own private database, single-tenant SaaS CRM applications are often the choice of companies with sensitive customer data.

    A  mash-up is a Web page or application that combines complementary elements from multiple sources. In response to the ongoing shift towards a more interactive Web, many vendors are adding Web 2.0 functionality such as the ability to create mash-ups, to their on-demand CRM products.

  • Learn about other Web 2.0 technologies.

    An  integration connector is a software program that lets users map data from one application to another. Many SaaS CRM vendors provide pre-built integration connectors that allow users to load data from other sources into the SaaS application.

    An  application programming interface (API) is a set of standards for a software program that can be defined by the developer. The API defines the way a developer should request services from a specific program, and allows a programmer writing an application program to make requests of the operating system or other applications. Some SaaS CRM vendors have established APIs for integrating their applications with the user's in-house applications.

  • Learn why larger organizations rely on APIs for integrating Software as a Service (SaaS) CRM and ERP applications.

     Apex is a development platform offered by for building third-party SaaS applications on top of's CRM functionality. Apex applications are hosted by and include an API developers can use to access data from, a Builder that allows for easy customization, and a native programming language called Apex Code.

    A  widget is an element of a graphical user interface that displays information or provides a specific way for a user to interact with the application. Widgets can be anything from an icon to a pull-down menu, and are used by SaaS CRM vendors to help users navigate their applications.

  • See how is using widgets to provide retailers with analytics.


    Learn more with our SaaS and On-Demand CRM learning guide.

    Buzzword definitions provided by


This was first published in September 2008

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