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If you’re choosing a new CRM system, you might be wondering which is better: Cloud SaaS or on-premise. We’ve previously discussed the differences in a cloud SaaS business system and on-premise in this blog. Now we’re going to move onto some tips to help you decide on the right choice.

1. Consider how sensitive the data you’re handling is

If your business’ data is so sensitive that you need military-grade security standards to protect it, an on-premise system could be a better choice.

2. Are you prepared to be responsible for your data security?

With an on-premise CRM, you’d need to provide your own data security team (whether in-house or outsourced) to protect your systems round-the-clock. However, this can be expensive. If you choose the cloud SaaS option, you’ll receive 24/7 support as part of your contract.

Cloud SaaS vs on-premise CRM

3. Are you prepared to front the costs associated with your own CRM in-house?

Speaking of hosting systems in-house, if you do decide to take that route, you need to know that it’s got its own costs attached. Here are a few of the costs involved:

  • The appropriate hardware and software including a Disaster Recovery mechanisms, uninterruptible power supply etc
  • A team to build and maintain updates
  • Recruitment costs, if you don't have the staff in-house already
  • The infrastructure to allow staff to access this in-house service from anywhere at any time
  • The staff to run the infrastructure 

How to choose the right CRM

4. Think about whether your business processes and systems need to be agile and scalable

So, here's the thing: an-premise system doesn't 'scale down' easily. If the nature of your business requires your processes and systems to be agile, cloud SaaS could be the better option. Here are a couple of reasons why:

  • It’s easy to scale up or down with cloud-based CRMs and the costs align with the scale. Need to add more users or increase storage space? Or perhaps it’s the opposite - you want to remove some users or decrease storage space. Whatever you need to do, it’s simply to upgrade or downgrade your account with a cloud SaaS vendor and access the features/functionalities you need within minutes.
  • It’s easy to ensure your CRM is running on the latest software version when you choose cloud SaaS. Vendors release functional and technical updates on a regular basis and it’s automatic so you don’t have to remember to do it.

In contrast, updating or upgrading an on-premise system is often a very time-consuming and complex task.

5. Have you got the manpower and expertise to maintain an on-premise CRM system?

As well as being responsible for data security, if you opt for the on-premise approach, you’ll also need a team who can manage your system and proactively fix any issues before they become a problem.

So, just ask yourself…do you have the manpower, expertise and infrastructure in place to maintain a CRM system? Cloud SaaS can be the ideal choice if you don’t want to worry about that responsibility.

Businessman with headsets using computer in office at night

6. How much support do you require?

Regardless of whether you opt for on-premise or cloud SaaS, the time will come where you need help. For example, your team need help with the system or perhaps something’s not working the way it should.

If this is the case, do you have the resources and knowledge in-house to offer this level of support? If you don’t, a support contract might be the right choice. Choose a CRM that has vibrant ecosystem to give you wide deep choice of support options.

When you’re narrowing down vendors, look at how much support they’re able to offer. The right vendor will offer plenty of after-sales support, whether it’s implementation services or in-house training after setup and a support team ready to help with any flagged issues 24/7.

7. How would the new system fit into your existing processes?

This is arguably one of the most important questions you need to consider when choosing any business system. Whether you choose cloud or on-premise, this vendor or that vendor, you must consider how a particular CRM would fit into your existing processes and IT landscape.

Start by reviewing your existing business processes and systems. Which areas require improvement and why? What improvements/results are you looking to achieve? Will this CRM naturally integrate with your other systems, such as email, filesharing, or LinkedIn, or will you have to link these together yourself?

Then, ensure you and your teams understand that while a CRM can help you gain many efficiency and productivity-related benefits, it’s still just a tool which you have to use properly.

In other words, technology (in this case, a CRM system) can’t produce results on its own. Business success also depends on your people and your processes. 


Ultimately, it’s about choosing what’s right for your business. Here’s where to find out more…

There’s really no right or wrong answer when it comes to the ‘cloud or on-premise CRM’ debate. At the end of the day, it depends on what would work best for your business, processes, systems and people.

Now, wondering whether to choose cloud or on-premise isn’t the only factor you must consider when choosing a CRM system. You’ll also need to choose between different vendors. And what about knowing whether it’s the right time to adopt a new system? Yep, there’s that too!

We’ve got just the guide to answer your questions and help you find the right CRM system for your business. From FAQs to advice on how to tell your business needs a new CRM, click the button below to access your copy of the guide.

Here's how to find the right CRM

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