might DOES count after all!
There are lots of CRM solutions on the market. Some offer hosted only, others are on premise and of course there are alternatives for solutions that offer a combination of both.
We have long argued the benefits of Hosted CRM Software and judging by our own levels of enquiries & business along with the published figures of the largest providers, hosted CRM is increasingly popular.
All of this is great, however, as time goes by with more customers wanting to adopt CRM for the long run, consideration of Data and File storage requirements become a key factor.
I recently took a straw poll of clients and prospects to see what competitive products people are looking at when they evaluate OpenCRM. For the most part this list contained the usual suspects, Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, ZohoCRM and (of course the new boy on the block) Microsoft CRM Online, so I took a look at what information is available about storage limits from these suppliers to try and gauge costs and availability.
All of the players in the mix offer different features and have a differing emphasis with their feature set, some are easier to use than others with some noticeable surprises when you look at products in depth, however, my focus during this investigation was the amount of data that you are able to store in the database and what limits are applied to file storage. I also wanted to consider the (sometimes hidden) costs.
One of the things that we are always surprised about when we review our genuine competitors are the basic features that you only get when you upgrade your edition. OpenCRM is a “one product for all” solution. You get everything we do whichever subscription you take. There is only one OpenCRM product and it is always the same! You decide how much you want to use with access to turn off elements that are not required straight away.
The majority of these competitive providers take the same upgrade approach to storage, offering you a base level that you can upgrade from as your system requirement inevitably grows. One thing you can be sure of is that your storage requirements will ONLY ever grow, so these additional storage costs need to be considered and factored into your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
Salesforce Professional and Enterprise editions offer 20MB per user for data storage and 600MB per user for files. What this means, if you have a 10 user solution, is that you will be able to store 200MB of data and 6GB of files before extra costs kick in. In practice there is a minimum allowance regardless of the number of users set at 1GB for Data and 11 GB File storage - so in this scenario you would get a minimum of 11GB with your subscription. What are the costs if you need more (I hear you ask?) Well Salesforce charge approx. £185 per GB per annum – yes that’s right, that’s what they charge for additional storage, so it’s a big number no matter how well you negotiate with the guys in Ireland or the US of A !
SugarCRM are not far behind. They ask for £125 for a GB of storage per year. They do offer different ways to reduce this cost even if some of them go against the whole concept and reasoning of having a hosted solution and not having any of the infrastructure headaches (who wants to manage data storage arrays and be responsible for the backups and restoration policies?).
Microsoft are an interesting player in the market especially since the most recent release (February 2011) of their online hosted CRM solution. They give you a 5GB organisation storage limit, data and files, and this appears to be (as there is a surprising lack of information on their website or forums) fixed and without easy published upgrade options. Because your Microsoft SkyDrive account gives each person a 25GB limit there is obviously some opportunity here for Microsoft to tie this in with the CRM accounts, however they have not done this and given that the Microsoft forums have a multitude of posts, going back over 12 months with this specific request, it would appear there is no desire to immediately deliver this option. So how much is extra storage currently? Well I don’t really know. I tried to get this information from the various sign up sites and information pages to no avail. Perhaps I did not look hard enough, maybe, but if I can’t get to the information easily pre sign up then I would doubt that other less motivated browsers would be able to find it either, maybe that’s the point, profit by obfuscation!
ZohoCRM have a much better and clearer policy, you get unlimited storage within the database (so that’s records only) and then the Professional edition offers 250MB file storage for the whole organisation. Again there is a charge for an additional 1GB of file storage albeit more modest at around £3 per month. Given the size of some of those files regardless of any data compression, you are going to need a whole load of extras GB’s! Just adding an extra 25GB of storage is going to be close to £800 a year. [Here is an illuminating Zoho forum post in respect of this subject and more interestingly the response from the developers].
I guess that leads us neatly onto what we do here at OpenCRM
All new OpenCRM subscriptions include 2TB [updated May 2011] of file store (yes that’s right I will just type that again, so you know there is not a typo - 2TB file storage) as part of your monthly subscription plan, no extras or add-ons and no hidden charges.
If you need to increase your data storage allocation (at anytime) that's fine too, another cool feature is that we can add an additional 500GB for only £15 per month with an additional 1TB and 1.5TB option at £25.00 & 32.00 respectively. So if you are wanting to stick with the same provider for a long period of time, let’s face it once you have gone through the challenges of implementation and user adoption, which is inevitable when making this type of change, who wants to be forced from the solution of their choice because of expensive storage charges. With OpenCRM you won’t have this to consider.
Click here to take a look at how OpenCRM Stacks up against the competition.