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5 Steps to Better CRM Apps

“Are all CRM systems the same?”

This is something our Customers often ask and there’s no doubt, despite fundamental similarities, that huge variation can be found across different CRM solutions. To be honest, though, that’s not the point. The better question is, “Are all companies the same?”

They’re not, of course, and this has huge ramifications for CRM.

These days, most companies have used CRM systems in one form or another and we all know how useful they can be. At the top end, CRM implementations can handle almost any aspect of client management or reporting, and it seems just a matter of time before they’re serving up our favorite caffeinated brew, as well.

Coffee making, however, isn’t the only challenge that CRM solutions face. Because every company has a different way of working, it’s not feasible for one CRM system to handle all possible client requirements, no matter how easy it is to customize.

There are many examples of this. Accommodating business flows, managing complex lead routing, providing flexible field access, controlling Partner reach, accessing information for user services – these are all areas where our clients have needed to supplement CRM operation. Sometimes an off-the-shelf application is enough, but most of the time a custom app is needed.

With today’s plethora of low-cost, easy-to-use tools, developing custom apps should be a piece of cake, but it can be a real challenge to build an app speedily and economically while still achieving the desired functionality. Choosing the appropriate development tool(s) is probably the most important part of building an app to complement your CRM system: here are 5 steps that can help you figure out the smartest development approach.

1. Check for low costs and quick delivery

Technology growth has become exponential (remember the lily in the pond riddle?) so apps developed today will need updating or replacing very soon. This means development time and all costs have to be kept to an absolute minimum, so you need proven tools that support speedy results at a reasonable price.

2. Respect the business vision

Business groups are excellent at devising great apps because they focus on the end result rather than technical feasibility, and developers need to work with this. The functional richness of today’s development environments makes almost any project achievable, so explore new technology to find solutions that will let you meet the business vision.

3. Integrate seamlessly with CRM

Automatic data exchange with the CRM system needs to be transparent, rapid, and compatible with a range of mobile devices, while adhering to approved permissions. Bespoke web APIs are worth considering as they can provide simplified, secure access to complex CRM data.

4. Cloud compatibility

Make sure your app works efficiently with the cloud either directly or as a hybrid. Clients, sales reps, service reps – everyone expects speedy access no matter where they are or which device they’re on. Even the best-looking, most functional app can be rejected if it doesn’t perform well.

5. Include future elasticity

Front edge trends, such as AI, big data and chatbots, are already becoming part of mainstream software, so consider including them where relevant, even if it seems like extra work right now. The idea is to incorporate technology at the outset that will let your apps stretch to meet future needs – in other words, think ahead.

Working through these five steps will help you select the best technology to use for app development. At InaPlex we tend to standardize on Microsoft Azure because it’s a complete development environment and comprised of excellent tools, but where it’s appropriate we use other products, including our own. The point is to think about what’s needed, assess options, and then choose technology that will deliver the best overall result.

Whatever products you use, a savvy approach will help produce a great app, whether it’s supporting internal business operations or presenting alluring services to your Partners and Clients. There are many hugely rich development tools and environments available today, so don’t be limited by your CRM system’s capabilities. Think of the supplementary processes or services that will help your business stand out and make them happen – the technology is here, so let your imagination fly.

InaPlex Inc. provides code-free, easy to use tools for moving information between  data sources, and our solutions are used by thousands of companies throughout the world. We specialize in CRM integration, turn-key CRM migration, Marketing Automation integration and lead routing, and bespoke Microsoft Apps, Microsoft Flow and CDS solutions. Contact us to find the closest InaPlex Partner or to speak with our Services Group, and you can learn more about our solutions at www.inaplex.com.

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