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When you’re implementing a CRM system, choosing the right technology and following best practices won’t ensure success. You also need to assign the tasks associated with the implementation project to the right team. One of the biggest debates is outsourcing vs in-house. Let’s compare the pros and cons for both.

Keeping your implementation project in-house

Outsourcing vs in-house implementation

This is where you have a team of specialists within your company and rely on them to execute the implementation. In this case, the responsibilities of recruitment, training and management of the project and the team will lie completely with you.

Pros

  • You have complete control - from choosing who you have on the project to how you execute tasks, you literally have 100% control when you keep implementation in-house.
  • You can start work immediately, in theory - once you’ve chosen your team, you can start work as soon as you want to. As long as you had the talent in-house, of course, otherwise you’ll have to train employees or recruit them.
  • You have deeper understanding of your business - when you keep it in-house, your teams will naturally have greater knowledge of your business and its exact needs and processes. Your employees live and breathe it every day, after all.
  • You can develop your talent - whether you were lucky enough to have the talent in-house or not, implementation projects give you the chance to develop your employees. They gain new skills and personal growth which boosts employee satisfaction.

Cons

  • You’re responsible for creating the team - Keep it in-house and the task of building the ideal implementation team lies with you. If you don’t already have a team of implementation specialists waiting in the wings, you’ll have to hire them.
  • You’re responsible for the team - from managing their workloads and ensuring their regular tasks have been redistributed among your non-implementation employees, these tasks are in your hands. This also includes managing absences and ensuring everyone is working as productively and effectively as possible.
  • You’re responsible for managing the project - as well as managing the team, you’re also responsible for the project’s success. For example, if a member of your implementation team is off work, you must provide a buffer for this to prevent delays. If an aspect of the process isn’t quite working out, you’re responsible for coming up with a solution.
  • It’s expensive - in-house projects aren’t cheap. Some example costs are recruitment, salaries, equipping the workplace for every new employee and investing in hardware and software for the implementation.
  • It’s time-consuming - every hour that your implementation team spends on the project is an hour they’re not spending on their other tasks (assuming that you don’t have a dedicated team). And implementation projects aren’t short either - they can take months, even years.

Outsourcing your implementation project

Should you outsource your implementation

This is where you turn to an external company to take care of your implementation. A digital consultancy, Managed Service Provider (MSP) - there are several names they may go by but either way, you’ll be partnering with this company and working closely with their dedicated team of specialists before, during and after the project.

Pros

  • You don’t need to hire new employees - with outsourcing, there’s no need to recruit top in-house specialists. This means you can eliminate all the costs associated with recruitment and there’s no need to pay additional salaries. Which leads us onto the next point…
  • It’s often more cost-effective - with outsourcing, there’s no need to recruit your own specialists or invest in new equipment. Instead, you enter a contract with a consultancy/MSP and pay the agreed fee rather than the salaries of each individual employee.
  • You gain access to an exclusive talent pool - the best consultancies/MSPs have years of experience in implementation projects, across a variety of sectors and types of systems. So, when you partner with one, you gain access to their exclusive talent pool who then become an extension of your team, giving you a competitive advantage.
  • They handle the implementation so you get time back - outsourcing means you don’t need to worry about the ins and outs of the project. You formulate the strategy with the consultancy/MSP in the initial planning meetings and they execute it. Less implementing for you and your team means more time to spend on other tasks.
  • It’s easy to find a team that’s the right fit - if you don’t like the quality of the team your consultancy/MSP has dedicated to you or they’re not the right fit for whatever reason, it’s relatively easy to request a new team or find a new partner. This swap is more difficult with an in-house team due to factors like following the appropriate dismissal procedure and recruitment.

Cons

  • They may not know your business as well as you do - because an outsourced team isn’t part of your company, they may not know the ins and outs of your business the way you and your internal teams do. However, the best consultancies/MSPs will always take the time to get to know your business and you’re still involved throughout the process so you can advise where you see fit.
  • You don’t have total control - like the above, because an outsourced team isn’t actually part of your company, you may feel as though as you don’t have total control over the project (in comparison to keeping it in-house). But, the best partners ensure that you are still in charge. Nothing should happen without your approval and you’re very much involved in formulating the strategies.
  • There may be communication delays - it might be more challenging to get a hold of an outsourced team member than if they were in-house due to back-and-forth emails and conflicting schedules getting in the way of meetings. Though, if you had a global team, it could be just as difficult in-house. It’s easy to combat this by choosing the right team and considering time zones.

So, which is better?

Pros and cons of outsourcing implementation

Actually, there’s no winner or loser. Both approaches are viable options and it depends on what’s best for your business needs.

If your business has the resources to hire implementation specialists and manage the whole process in-house and the nature of your operations means it’s more efficient to control all the processes, keep it in-house. If you don’t have the resources or expertise and you’re not opposed to working with a third party, outsource.

There’s more to a CRM implementation project…

Deciding whether to keep your implementation project in-house or work with a partner is a big part of the project. And if you decide to outsource, choosing the right partner also plays a huge role.

There’s lots to think about which is why we created a handy guide to help you. Read about CRM implementation projects, from pitfalls and best practices to tips on choosing a partner, by clicking the button below.

How do you ensure a successful CRM implementation?

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