The days of bulky software taking up precious- even more so now thanks to SSDs- space on your local drive are thankfully behind us. We are in the era of webapps now, applications that run entirely on your web browser, and live on the internet.
Chances are you already use a lot of webapps in your daily internet life, maybe without even realizing it. When you check your e-mail on your browser, the interface that opens is a webapp. The social media platforms you use are also webapps, and so are any cloud storage services that you use. In fact, so many webpages nowadays incorporate interactive and advanced features that the line between a webpage and a webapp is all but blurred.
Thanks to this evolution of applications and technology, nowadays even programs that handle a lot of different complex tasks can be made into webapps, including CRM software. A CRM software that runs in your browser via internet, and is not “installed” on your computer’s local drive in the traditional way is essentially an “online CRM.”
Because of the rise of Web 2.0 and its convenience, webapps, or online applications, are on the rise. This means that now you can perform increasingly specialized tasks, that were once performed through software taking up gigabytes of space on your local storage, via an application that runs inside your browser and loads with the swiftness of a webpage.
Webapps mean good news for both the consumers and the vendors. The vendors can easily push updates and glean feedback from the usage of their webapps, which, in turn, benefits the consumers and gives them what they want. Another distinct advantage to the consumers is that since there are many sources of revenue for an online entity, many webapps are free for the users, even some of those that are the web counterparts of an expensive locally installed software. Naturally, all of this applies to online CRM as well.
One very important aspect of a CRM, its user interface, also benefits from this online aspect. Since webapps share a common platform of the internet and run in a browser, they all incorporate a similarly intuitive user interface relying on clear visual icons and a clean look. In the same vein, because they run in your browser, they use your browser’s interactive capabilities to add intuitive functionality like drag-and-drop. If you have ever signed up for a new online service and you “just knew” how to use it once you logged in, it was because of this shared language between the different webapps that was responsible for this effect. Of course, this is a general rule, and exceptions still exist, as they always do.
This is the course that CRM is traversing now, with an increasing number of vendors either providing entirely online products or offering online versions of their product. Naturally, this signifies drastic changes in the industry as it explores an entirely new avenue, but from the looks of it so far, “online” is surely the future of CRM.