SMEs were also polled on their most significant concerns about adopting a cloud model for their CRM systems. The risk of service outages or interruptions topped the list, with more than 70% of the companies surveyed listing this as a key worry.
The independent survey of over 500 SMEs reveals that the biggest attraction of cloud-based CRM is the ability to avoid incurring high up-front costs, including the need for additional infrastructure and IT staff, necessary to implement an in-house solution - along with the rapid return on investment delivered by the subscription model. The highest proportion of SMEs surveyed - 58% consider this to be the key benefit of cloud-based CRM at a time when businesses of all sizes are keen to cut costs.
"The economic advantages of hosting data in the cloud are only one aspect of its appeal," comments Mark Annett of Camsoft Solutions. "With cloud-based CRM, such as MaxCloud CRM
, SMEs are also able to scale their system according to the number of users, increasing the number of licences to mirror their business needs. This aspect is particularly useful for SMEs needing to respond to sudden growth without worrying about knock-on infrastructure or maintenance effects," adds Annett. The research shows that the unique opportunity this scalability presents is recognised by the SMEs surveyed, and it comes second in the list of the most popular advantages of cloud-based CRM with 46% citing it as a key benefit.
The flexibility of cloud-based CRM also extends to the ability to upgrade the system at little or no cost, which is the third biggest plus for SMEs - listed as a key advantage by 40% of the businesses surveyed. With a cloud-based solution the software is upgraded automatically on the host server, enabling SMEs to keep pace with the latest features without having to make significant reinvestments.
Other advantages, listed in order, include:
- the reduced maintenance and staff costs that come with hosting data in the cloud, which 32% list as a key benefit
- the easier access to multiple functions and integration between departments possible with a cloud-based solution (30%)
- the fact that hosting data in the cloud gives businesses access to the powerful processing and performance hub of a third party specialist, cited by 23% of SMEs
SMEs are less interested in the capacity of cloud-based CRM to deliver remote and multi-device access or real-time database updates, largely because these functions are also available with in-house solutions.
As well as their concerns over the reliability of a cloud-based solution (named by 71% of the respondents), SMEs are also worried about the speed of service it would deliver, with 52% citing this as a major source of anxiety. Just under half are also particularly concerned that the security of their data will be compromised by hosting their CRM system off-site.
Mike Richardson, managing director of Maximizer EMEA
, comments: "At a time when businesses are looking to optimise their productivity, making the move to a cloud-based CRM system is one way in which SMEs are able to deliver savings while making the most of their resources. A cloud-based solution and the subscription model offers not only savings on the up-front cost of implementing a CRM system, but a scalability and the potential to upgrade easily to the most up-to-date technology at a reasonable cost, which would enable SMEs in particular to achieve greater efficiency while remaining flexible.
"The research reveals legitimate concerns among SMEs over moving their CRM system to the cloud. Smaller businesses can ensure that the major concerns of data security, service interruptions and slow performance are not a worry by choosing a technologically advanced and well-established provider. There are affordable systems out there such as Camsoft's MaxCloud CRM
that offer cloud options that include all the necessary features and safeguards for SMEs." Camsoft Solutions
is a Maximizer
CRM business partner.
Tel. 0800 616765