CRM Dilemma : Choosing between In-house and Off the shelf CRM Solutions

It’s that exciting time. Your business has outgrown the humble spreadsheet, and it’s time for something more substantial. A proper CRM system. And that’s when the big question pops up: Do we build it ourselves, or go with a standard option?

The idea of a custom-built CRM can sound pretty tempting. A system with every feature you need, none that you don’t, perfectly aligned with how your team sells. The promise is alluring: total alignment with your business processes, a perfect fit. It’s like getting a suit tailored just for you, right?

But the truth is — too many companies get burned by going the in-house route. Here’s how it usually goes down:

1. The excitement phase

Everyone’s pumped about getting a CRM that’s “just right” for their unique needs. Developers are ready to roll up their sleeves, sales and support have been promised everything they need, and you’re happy that you’re getting software that understands your business. Nothing wrong with the intent and approach.

2. The reality check

Turns out, that building a CRM from scratch is way more complex than anyone anticipated. There are endless requests from different teams. Development struggles to keep up with the pace of business.  Features get delayed, bugs pop up, and frustration starts to build.

3. The rift

A gap forms between the tech team and the business folks. Fingers start pointing, and communication breaks down. Marketing teams often found themselves starved of data. Salespeople juggle multiple sources to piece together their revenue figures. And customer service departments are stranded without tools to automate processes and gauge their capacity.

4. The regret

Companies realize they’ve poured a ton of time, money, and energy into a system that’s just not delivering. They start to wonder why they didn’t go with a proven, off-the-shelf solution in the first place.


Actually, most of the challenges with in-house CRMs aren’t about lack of effort or talent. They’re about the inherent limitations of building something from scratch. The problem is, that businesses want to move fast, and development can’t keep up. Even with agile methodologies, delivering a good product takes time, and that’s often ignored.

The gap between business stakeholders and the IT department widens, and it’s a recipe for disaster. New users might find themselves at a loss, trying to navigate a system without guidance. That’s because, with in-house, you never get a library of tutorial videos or extensive user support. It’s a nightmare, and it’s not the developers’ fault. They’re skilled and try hard, but they can’t keep up with the ever-changing demands of the business.

Why does this happen?

The failure of in-house CRMs is not a new problem. It’s been spoken and written about since the early 1990s. You’ll find report summaries pertaining to CRM failure, handily summarized, in Salesforce’s excellent editorial on ‘Why do CRM projects fail.’

Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the often-quoted figures around failures of CRM projects.

  • Gartner Group (2001): They estimated a 50% + CRM failure rate.
  • Butler Group (2002): Their estimate was a 70% failure rate.
  • Selling Power (2002): Their CSO Forum reported a 69.3% failure rate.
  • AMR Research (2005 – 2006): They reported fluctuating estimates over several years, ranging from 18% to 31%.
  • Forrester Research (2009): Their estimate was 47%.
  • VentureBeat (2015): They reported a 70% failure rate.
  • DMN News (2016): Their research found estimates as high as 63% failure rate.

So it’s nothing new to say that CRM projects fail. We’re asking a more nuanced question here. Why do in-house CRMs often turn out to be a mess? It’s not like your technical team didn’t try their best. They probably did, but there are some fundamental reasons why things go wrong.

First, let’s talk about the initial excitement. Your team was thrilled to start building a custom CRM. They were eager to make it perfect, with all the bells and whistles. But, they didn’t take into account the future. That’s where the trouble starts.

When new requirements come up – and they always do – it’s hard to fit them into the existing structure. Your team starts to patch things up. They add quick fixes and workarounds. But, that’s not a sustainable solution. It’s like putting a band-aid on a deep wound. Pretty soon, the code becomes a mess. No one knows where to start or how to untangle it. It’s a nightmare. And, that’s not all. As time goes on, your team becomes more and more cautious. They’re scared to make changes because they don’t want to break anything.

Eventually, the technical team becomes a shared service role rather than a business partner. You’ll always hear them explaining why ‘this feature can’t be built’ and why ‘they can’t guarantee whether it’ll work’ and why ‘this needs another couple of months’They’re not able to innovate or help the business grow. They’re just trying to keep their heads above water. It’s sad and strange.

Companies pour time and money into creating something that, frankly, has been done before – and often better. It’s worth considering that some software developers (particularly when you outsource your in-house CRM development) might base your custom CRM on an existing market solution. If that’s the case, why not skip the middleman and choose a pre-existing product that’s already refined? Or, is the choice really this simple?

Standard CRMs: A problematic alternative

The perks of standard, off-the-shelf CRMs, are tempting.

  1. Standard CRMs usually are feature-rich and offer impressive UX/UI.
  2. These systems have been through rigorous testing across various industries.
  3. You get a hands-on preview of what you’re investing in.
  4. Assistance is just a call or click away.

But even rainbows have a dark side. Standard CRMs are no exception. Here’s the not-so-pretty truth:

  • One size fits… nobody perfectly

These CRMs are built for the “average” company in your industry. That means your unique quirks and workflows might get squashed into a one-size-fits-all box.

  • Bloatware

Get ready for features you’ll never use. You’ll still pay for them, and they’ll just clutter up your interface.

  • Scaling

As your needs evolve, adding new features to an off-the-shelf CRM can be a pain. These systems are often high code (traditional approach of software development).  This means you’re either dependent on the vendor’s development team or your own. As your needs evolve, the initially lower costs might escalate. So, standard CRMs are, in essence, a compromise. So, are you stuck between a rock and a hard place? Nope. There’s a middle ground, which we’ll explore in the coming section.

The need to move away from code-by-hand

We talked about the struggle of balancing a custom-built CRM with the ease of off-the-shelf options. The key is to move away from the old-school (high-code) approach. The old method of manually writing each code line is inefficient. Every line of code represents knowledge that needs constant care. Every line of code requires knowledge transfer to new employees. Every line of code can be a spanner in the works of a new feature.

The reality is that there’s a cost associated with every line of code you’re maintaining. Low-code builds a bridge, which you can walk over, and skip all this intricate code management effort. The idea is so simple, yet so powerful, that you have to see it to believe it.

Low-code CRM

When it comes to CRMs, people often think it’s a choice between in-house or off-the-shelf. But what if I told you there’s a third option? One that combines the best of both worlds. This solution seems almost too good to be true, but it’s very much real: low-code CRM.

So, what exactly is a low-code CRM? 

It’s a system designed for ease of use, allowing those with little to no coding experience to make customizations and adaptations easily. What if the perfect CRM system existed, where you could add a new feature yourself, at 25% of the price you’d pay a developer? And so quick that every user becomes an architect of their own workflow? That is a low-code CRM. 

A note of caution: Low-code has become quite the buzzword. Naturally, makers of standard CRM software want to use it too. Sadly, many vendors claim their CRM to be low-code when it actually is high-code with an added layer of GUI-based configurations. That is not the same as proper low-code. 

Low-code CRM empowers every user to think, “How can I make this CRM work faster for me?” It’ll no longer be ‘too much to ask for’ or ‘too expensive’ or ‘not a priority’

Amoga’s Low-Code CRM:

This is where Amoga CRM steps in. While Amoga isn’t the only low-code CRM, it’s among the few that actually deliver a low-code CRM and not a ‘high-code CRM with a few more configurations’.

When you ditch the “either-or” mentality and embrace the “both-and” power of low-code CRM, great things happen. For instance, our clients tell us that when they used Amoga’s low-code CRM, things changed. They’ll change for you too. Here’s how.

  • With Amoga’s low-code platform, you liberate your users to think like architects. They can drag-and-drop features, customize workflows, and build the perfect tool for their needs.
  • Low-Code ditches the cycle of slow bug fixes and replaces it with rapid development. Need a new report? Build it yourself, instantly. Want to tweak a sales pipeline? Drag and drop it into place. No more waiting on IT, no more costly delays.
  • Low-Code breaks down the walls between business and IT. It’s no longer a negotiation over resources; it’s a collaboration. Business users define the needs, build basic workflows, and test new features. IT, meanwhile, focuses on complex integrations, security, generative AI, and the overall technical backbone.

So, Book a Demo with Amoga to make your CRM future-ready!!