SaaS and On-Demand CRM Learning Guide

This guide covers the pros and cons of SaaS CRM, definitions of SaaS and on-demand CRM terminology, industry news and trends, information about SaaS CRM software providers and tips for evaluation and implementation of SaaS CRM systems.

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Many businesses are deploying Software as a Service (SaaS) CRM. While SaaS CRM is sometimes called on-demand CRM, Web-based CRM or hosted CRM, not all of the terms are synonymous. This introduction serves as a CRM on demand cheat sheet and can help you understand the most important terms related to the SaaS deployment model.

Introduction to SaaS and on-demand CRM

SaaS CRM technology has grown increasingly popular and become appropriate for all sizes of businesses. Its Web-style deployment can eliminate IT department requirements and make remote access and mobile integration easier.

SaaS CRM terminology can create confusion, with the terms SaaS, hosted, on-demand and Web-based often used for similar delivery models. Hosted CRM refers to a situation where a company outsources CRM functionality to an application service provider, which hosts commercially available software for customers and delivers it over the Web.

According to expert Denis Pombriant, "Hosted CRM simply means someone else is managing the application on a computer that is remote from the user. Hosted makes no promises about the applications being delivered in a multi-tenant mode."

He mentions current vendors Salesforce.com Inc., NetSuite Inc. and RightNow Technologies Inc., which all offer SaaS CRM products.

According to Whatis.com, with SaaS CRM, "computing resources are made available to the user as needed. The resources may be maintained within the user's enterprise, or made available by a service provider." This style allows businesses to meet fluctuating demands easily. In this case, "the provider gives customers network-based access to a single copy of an application created specifically for SaaS distribution."

IDC predicts that SaaS will be worth $10.7 billion by 2009. For more information on related terms, browse these resources:

  • Learn about Ajax, a way to build interactive applications that processes online user requests and updates Web pages immediately in response to user actions.
  • Find out the basics behind service-oriented architecture, the underlying structure that supports communications between individual services such as computer programs.
  • Get information on Web services, the services offered by ASPs that are made available from a business's Web server.

SaaS vs. traditional CRM software

Though CRM terminology like SaaS CRM, on-demand CRM and hosted CRM may be confusing, these styles of delivery are more similar to each other than to traditional on-premise CRM systems. According to Pombriant, an on-demand deployment involves installing software on your own computers in your computer room and using your own IT staff to manage it. Read the complete explanation of on-demand vs. on-premise CRM and discover Pombriant's criteria for evaluating SaaS CRM.

Next Steps

SaaS CRM software evaluation and implementation

SaaS and CRM on demand vendor guide

SaaS CRM industry news and trends

More CRM learning tools

This was first published in October 2007

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