|Ensure uptime during peak hours|
Scalability is a software design constraint that allows software developers to plan future changes to a software product to either upscale or downscale the scope of usage of the product. In the case of any Customer Relations Management system that is targeted to be a generic yet customizable application that is being sold to many different types of businesses, scalability is a big issue. Four criteria to consider when evaluating a CRM product for scalability:
1. Is your business a startup company seeking a CRM system that will enhance your ability to deal with your customers and suppliers as you acquire them? Or, are you already a large business entity that has grown out of an obsolete system of Customer Relations Management and seeking a better CRM solution? Or are you somewhere in between?
2. Is your business rate of change based on business growth, products' expansion? Is it increasing or decreasing? Adding employees or downsizing?
3. What is the forecasted business 5, 10 and 15 year plan in relation to the initial outlay of resources allocated to Customer Relations Management?
4. What external factors to the business should be monitored in relation to business growth or business reduction?
Scalability must be designed into a product, the development tools used are important because each development environment is different in how it will allows changes to accommodate for greater future demand.
Why is scalability so important?
Imagine this, your organization's call center is receiving an unexpectedly high volume of calls and the agents are winning numerous cross-selling opportunities using the CRM software's holistic customer view to identify the best product matches. Suddenly, everybody's CRM interface freezes and they are logged-out - no access to real-time customer information! Conversations are disrupted, sales dropped unwillingly and customer perceptions dashed, the culprit - scalability! The IT team informs the management later that the CRM software could not scale the volume of concurrent logged-in users during peak hours!
A typical business related scenario
Today's software is usually developed to run as applications that are accessible over a web link through a browser. This is much different than a stand alone program that runs off of the hard drive of the local computer. The latter has only one user and the application runs on one processor and all software functionality is performed locally between the user and the computer that they are working on. Any data is then transferred back to a centralized data storage device where it can be merged with the main data. The former being a web application that is accessed and operated through a browser URL is actually only displaying data via screens that are being served as a web page from a web server. The web server can be in a completely different location from where any given user is accessing the application because all the user needs is to have intranet access back to the main web server where the application is hosted.
Close to 100% uptime is necessary to run your business processes smoothly and encourage user adoption for your CRM software. "Downtime" is a dirty word for employees interacting with customers, using the CRM solution to build rapport and successfully win new customers or resolve complaints - being logged-out is a major roadblock, most will switch to using their planners. An optimal CRM solution will ensure consistent uptime around the clock, seamlessly upgrading users when required without affecting performance or customer loyalty.