Does Purchasing a CRM Multi-Year Subscription Make Sense?

CRM Multi-Year Subscription
CRM Multi-Year Subscription

Does Purchasing a CRM Multi-Year Subscription Make Sense?

There are several schools of thought when it comes to CRM multi-year software subscriptions. One is that the company doesn’t want to be locked into a subscription for more than one year unless they are absolutely sure that in a year from now they will still want that software. They want to be able to just stop using it or switch to another subscription software.

Is this a reasonable perspective?

Companies Generally Stick with Their Current CRM

According to the Capterra CRM Industry User Research Report, 60% of companies still have the same CRM as when the company started using a CRM. Of the 40% that switched to a new CRM, over one-third said it was because the CRM provider was no longer supported / went out of business.

What this says is that companies are unlikely to switch CRMs except in very limited circumstances. Why do companies keep their current CRM?

CRM Implementation Time

The time to implement a new CRM is very high. According to the Capterra Industry Report, 60% of respondents said that the actual time to implement their CRM took 6 months to a year. According to the same Capterra Report, 40% of respondents reported that it took over a year to implement a new CRM. 

This is a tremendous investment of time, money & personnel.

Satisfied with Current CRM

According to the Capterra Report, 71% of users said that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their CRM. Another interesting statistic is that users become more satisfied with their CRM the longer they had the CRM. This lines up with users being able to use the CRM more effectively.

Changing Technology is Very Expensive

Changing to a new CRM is a costly and personnel intensive endeavor. Your CRM is usually the center of your company and integrated into your accounting, marketing automation and ERP systems. To decide to change to another CRM is not made lightly but with the knowledge that it is a big commitment for your business of time, money & resources.

Advantages of a Multi-year Subscription

Before you decide whether to get a one-year subscription or a multi-year subscription, let’s investigate some of the ways getting a multi-year subscription can benefit you.

One-Year Subscription Annoyances

While getting a one-year subscription may seem better at first, with it having the illusion of being more flexible, this is not always the case. In fact, going with one-year subscriptions can cause a lot of headaches and end up costing you more money in the long run.

This is because not only do you have to keep track of when the subscription ends and renew it every single year, but you also are subject to paying more if the price increases from year to year. 

By signing up for a multi-year plan, you can set your company up for the long-term and not have to worry about renewing your subscription for however many years you wish. It also allows your company to invest in training, customization & process redesign.

Lock in a Lower Rate

If you purchase a multi-year subscription, you will be locked in at that price for as long as your multi-year plan lasts. This means you don’t have to worry about price increases and can continue paying the same rate. So, if money is a concern, then going with a multi-year subscription will end up saving you the most in the long run since you will be safe from price increases.

Multi-year Software Discount

Additionally, you can usually get the subscription at a reduced cost when you sign up for multiple years. The reduced cost of the subscription can be a substantial amount and is usually more than the amount needed to pay for any financing of the entire subscription purchase including hardware, consulting and training costs.

With the right financing, you can convert the subscription to monthly payments including the implementation & training costs, the maintenance costs and the hardware & IT costs.

This reduces all of your costs to a fixed monthly payment with the additional cost of financing being paid for by the reduction in the cost of the subscription because of the multi-year purchase.

Allows for Customization

While you will need to decide as to which method is better for you and your company, going with a multi-year subscription has been shown to have its advantages. Namely, they are more convenient as well as more cost-effective. Also, most companies keep their CRMs for many years and only change when the CRM no longer offers the features that the company needs or because their current CRM is no longer supported. As stated above, the longer that a company has its CRM, the happier the company is with the CRM.  This is probably at least in part because it allows the company to invest in customization, redesign and training. If you are only keeping a CRM for a year, it doesn’t make sense to invest in customization.

 

But there are still legitimate reasons why a company would prefer to manually renew their plan on a yearly basis, such as the ability to end their subscription sooner if they feel like it’s not working out. So, it’s important to consider all of the benefits and disadvantages of both before making a final decision.

Implementing Electronic Medical Records (“EMR”) Software for Small Healthcare Organizations

EMR & EHR Implementation
EMR & EHR Implementation

Implementing Electronic Medical Records (“EMR”) Software for Small Healthcare Organizations

In order to comply with the HIMSS EMRAM, many hospitals are adopting EMRs in order to move their organization closer to achieving a paperless environment and improve the quality of patient care. Many doctor’s offices, clinics, and managed care facilities are going to EMRs or EHRs because of the convenience of going to paperless recordkeeping.

Also, many healthcare facilities are trying to improve the patient satisfaction levels and having an EHR or EMR is a big part of their solution. By allowing hospitalized patients to review their charts, order their dinner, access the internet or watch TV via electronic means, it improves the overall patient experience, particularly for extended hospital stays.

Adopting electronic medical records comes with its own set of problems. It can take months or even years to fully incorporate or update an EMR system depending upon the size of your organization and the level of HIMSS compliance that you wish to attain. It can also come with a large price tag.

Implementation is An Expensive Process

A major issue with EMR software is how expensive it can be. Implementing a full system for an EMR can cost over $150,000 for just one physician. The total cost, of course, grows much more expensive the larger the medical facility and the more advanced the software and hardware.

Because of this, it’s important for any medical facility looking to implement an EMR system to consider the high cost into their budget. Not only is the upfront cost of implementing such a system high, but it needs to be maintained and occasionally updated to keep in line with the latest regulations.

So, it’s imperative that these costs be taken into consideration when managing an EMR system for any medical organization, whether it be a large hospital or a small physician’s office.

Required Training

Another important thing to keep in mind with any EMR system is the training that is required to use them. This training includes medical personnel & doctors as well as staff. It can involve a whole new system of doing things within the healthcare organization when they move from paper to computerized records. It can take many months and sometimes years in order to completely implement an EMR system.

This creates yet another cost that must be factored in when considering the budget for the EMR system as well as a hurdle that needs to be overcome before the system can even be used in the first place.

Cutting Edge Software and Hardware

When moving from paper medical records to electronic records, most healthcare organizations will need new hardware, security and IT personnel. This can be a large investment. The computers will need to have the capacity to run the EMR software and any patient satisfaction software. You’ll want computers that are able to do double-duty: be used by the doctors and staff to enter information and, for patients who have overnight stays, a patient engagement platform so that they have a good experience with the hospital or healthcare facility.

Additionally, for many healthcare organizations, it’s likely that it will need tablet PCs with scanners in order to scan prescriptions, patient wrist bracelets, and implement other patient tracking requirements.

There are also security concerns with electronic records including HIPAA requirements that means investing in security technology and IT personnel.

All this adds up to a substantial investment in new hardware and personnel.

Options for Small to Medium-Sized Facilities

Many smaller healthcare organizations can’t afford the substantial upfront costs of implementing an EMR system. The solution to this is to finance the upfront costs and the subscription itself. This allows the organization to pay for the EMR and its implementation in monthly payments over an extended timeframe which is much more manageable.

However, the decision to finance an EMR needs considerable attention as there are a lot of factors involved, including deciding on a finance company, determining how money needs to be financed, and factoring in the monthly payment along with all the other monthly costs that the organization must budget.

Fortunately there are companies with specific expertise in the financing of EMR/EHR solutions that can work directly with busy practices to help them create a financing program that meets their objectives and enables a simple, easy and efficient solution that enables all of the various costs of engagement to be aggregated together with one monthly payment over a term that meets budgeting requirements.

One of the primary goals of the practice when considering the EMR/EHR acquisition is the ability to conserve their working capital and not disturb existing banking lines of credit. For that reason, many healthcare professionals have relied on financing programs and have found that results in the most economically feasible approach for moving forward.

Further, there might well be Section 179 tax benefits available when selecting to finance this important technology.

FOUR WAYS THE TCJA CAN SAVE YOU MONEY ON BUSINESS SOFTWARE

Save money on your taxes with the TCJA

FOUR WAYS THE TCJA CAN SAVE YOU MONEY ON BUSINESS SOFTWARE

Save money on your taxes with the TCJA

By now you’ve probably heard about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, President Trump’s major corporate tax bill. Known commonly as the TCJA, this law has already had far-reaching effects around the nation. But nowhere has its impact been felt more strongly than in the business sector. In fact, many industries will experience double-digit reductions in their tax liabilities under this new law (source: Ernst & Young).

If you’re wondering how the TCJA can help serve your company’s bottom line, you might find that major savings can come from an unexpected place—software that you buy and use to run your business. The TCJA has expanded companies’ ability to deduct the costs of buying, renting, and financing software more than ever before.

For more details about how much you can claim in deductions for business equipment and software, see the [first article in our series.] For now, here are four steps you can use to take advantage of software deductions for your business:

  1. Find out which software is eligible for deductions. The first thing you’ll want to do is learn exactly which types of software do and do not qualify for deductions under the TCJA. There is a specific list of parameters set forward by the IRS that determine eligibility.
    • The software has to be used by your business for the purpose of producing revenue, either directly or indirectly.
    • The software must have a lifespan of ‘usefulness’ that can be clearly determined (This essentially means that the effectiveness of the software for your business must be clear.)
    • The software must be expected to be functional for at least one year or more.
    • The software can’t be totally custom to your business—it must be available to the general public at large for purchase and not heavily modified for your company’s use.
    • The software can’t be purchased on an exclusive license. That means it’s not only your software, but can be used by others with their own licenses.
      This might seem like a lot of strict parameters, but the good news is that most software qualifies under all of these stipulations. As long as software is available to the public and used by your business for a clear income-generating purpose, you’ll generally qualify for the deduction.
  2. Learn how section 179 works and what it means. We discussed Section 179 in the [first post of this series]. It’s the section of IRS tax code that applies specifically to which equipment and software purchases can be deducted and for how much.
    Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the deduction limit for 2019 has increased to $1,000,000 with a spending cap on equipment purchases set at $2,500,000. You can also temporarily deduct 100% of depreciation costs for 2019, though this number will decrease in the coming years.
  3. Consider financing your software purchases. The TCJA’s new rules allow businesses to deduct the full cost of equipment and software purchases made by a business in the year those purchases are made. Amazingly, that also applies to financed purchases.
    What does that mean for you and your business? It means that financing software can actually increase your cash for the fiscal year. If you were to finance $100,000 in software in 2019, but only make $5,000 in payments over the course of the year, you’d still be able to claim a deduction of $100,000, resulting in savings of tens of thousands of dollars.
  4. Ensure your software purchases qualify. If you’re planning on taking advantage of the tax benefits of financing software for 2019, it’s important to make sure your purchases qualify. The IRS treats software much in the same way it treats all business equipment purchases. That means that to qualify, the software must be purchased and put into use in the same year that it’s being claimed.
    The software must also be genuinely new to your company, and it can’t have been bought from an entity that has any direct connection to your own.
    Software is an essential aspect of nearly every modern business and industry. And now, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, buying or financing computer software is a smart financial move in its own right. If your business is in need of vital software, there’s never been a better time.

If you’d like to learn more about financing software for your business, contact Dimension Funding today.

The Future of Software and How You Can Control Costs

Controlling Software Costs

The Future of Software and How You Can Control Costs

Controlling Software Costs

In the ever-changing world of technology, it is easy to get lost in the benefits and features of each new advance and not see the increasing costs that can be associated with having the best infrastructure to run your business. The larger concern is usually the high cost of maintaining hardware; a hosted, subscription software environment often seems a cash-flow-friendly complement. But be warned: While the upfront cost may look attractive, the amount spent over the long run, as well as the the impact of future costs to strategic planning, can make monthly subscriptions an extremely expensive option.

Here are some tips from our experience with clients making software-buying decisions.

  1. Know your costs for the next five years. Software is typically not used for a month or even a single year; the average life span for a software product is three to 10 years. Software companies would like you to think in the short term when making a purchase decision — thus the smaller, initial outlay so cost will appear less of an obstacle — but planning for the long term is where the savings lie. Depending on the provider, typical savings on the same software bought with your next five years in mind, compared to paying for it month-to-month in subscription fees, can be as much as 10 to 40 percent over the same number of years.
  2. Control automatic cost increases. Look at your subscription license agreement and realize how much the software company can raise the subscription price year after year. Many say the cost of renewing your subscription may rise as much as 10 percent each year. Purchasing for multiple years, or signing a multiyear contract, can avoid or mitigate this automatic cost increase.
  3. Research and establish your full implementation costs; look for prepaid or set pricing. Too often, not having an agreed-upon budget can nickel-and-dime your solution. We see customers who initially thought a project would cost $75,000 paying twice that to get it working properly. This can be due to myriad factors, but having the right partner, exploring the best solutions up front, and knowing what you need the software to do to make your company efficient and profitable can go a long way in controlling scope — and cost — creep.
  4. Find out what other software you’ll need to supplement the core solution. You’re usually not buying only the main ERP, CRM, or HRMS software, but will require additional middleware or third-party plug-ins to run the system properly. There are thousands of supplemental software programs used to help run the major platforms, and cost ranges are huge. It is extremely important to know this up front. We have seen clients duped into implementing less-expensive add-on software only to find later they actually need the more expensive option.

Know the full costs up front as much as possible. When you have this five-year plan and budget in hand, you can see the overall picture and better control your costs. So how then do you pay for all this to take advantage of the savings your plan provides and avoid cost overruns? There are various methods.

  1. Pay cash upfront. Cash is always king when it comes to lower total costs — but still recognize it may reduce much-needed working capital for your day-to-day operations. (Remember: Cash flow is why the monthly software-subscription model looks so attractive initially.)
  2. Use a line of credit. This will usually offer the best variable rate, but don’t forget that lines of credit are intended for short-term borrowing, not long-term assets like technology infrastructure components. Plus they may have additional fees, payment schedules, and other requirements and parameters when used.
  3. Get a fixed-term installment loan or payment agreement. Software can be financed along with professional services, maintenance, and most third-party software. Programs with low rates may let you take advantage of the prepaid discounts from software suppliers. These discounts can more-than-offset any finance charges and still give your company a substantial savings over the duration of your five-year plan. With a fixed term, you don’t need to worry about rising or variable interest rates, which makes your project budget far more realistic.

Payment Prudence: Why You Should Opt For Software Leasing

Software Leasing

Payment Prudence: Why You Should Opt For Software Leasing

Software Leasing

The role and importance of business software has changed dramatically in the past few decades, yet many firms are still treating software financing the same way they always have. Companies continue to purchase programs outright, even when they are of limited long-term value. Instead, you should consider leasing software for your business, especially if:

You’re Concerned About Capital

If you lack the cash to purchase valuable programs, leasing allows you to gain access to them immediately rather than having to save up money. This means you can reap any productivity or cost-cutting rewards the software brings now, taking full advantage of all opportunities to grow as a business. Even if you have the money, leasing leaves you free to spend more of it on other investments rather than sinking it all into digital purchases. These savings are further enhanced by the many tax advantages that come with leasing.

You Can’t Keep Up with Updates

If you don’t specialize in tech, you likely have trouble keeping track of new software updates. Even when you know new programs are available, you may not be able to judge how valuable they are to your business. Software providers have the specialized knowledge to identify and evaluate updates. Leasing also means you won’t have to spend money on programs that will soon become obsolete, limiting your potential for lost investments.

You Need a Myriad of Products

If your company relies on a wide range of different programs and applications, buying them all may create an enormous logistical and financial hassle. Leasing allows you to gain access to a multitude of products without the burden of purchasing each one. The examples/types of leased software include customer relationship management (CRM) systems, computer-aided design (CAD) programs, ecommerce software, and Point of Sale (POS) applications.

You Require Supplementary Services

Leasing software gives you access to a range of services that supplement the programs themselves. These include training your staff to use the software and customizing it to fit your unique needs. Providers also tend to offer troubleshooting and security services to you if you lease.

You Still Desire Ownership

If you still desire the benefits of ownership, many leases allow you to become the owner once the contract comes to an end. Such leases often require no additional payments, all while letting you reap the benefits of leasing prior to that point.

Dimension Funding offers the full range of business software products, along with quality support services, to all companies and organizations. For more information or to sign up for a lease, contact us