Nov 4th 21

How to Develop a Custom CRM System Using Ruby on Rails in 2021

Building a CRM (customer relationship management) system is currently an extremely hot topic for software engineers. With the current environment encouraging more and more companies to consider going online, the demand for CRM is higher than ever.

While there are obvious champions in this area (e.g. Salesforce), some companies don't want something so complex and expensive. Many people prefer to use a niche CRM rather than a generic solution. The owner of a cosmetic clinic would prefer to use a CRM where the client is called a customer, where they can create a list of services and keep track of their current stock of products. Any feature on top of it (such as tracking conversions or lead funnels) would be redundant and would probably require the owner to pay far more than they need to.

​This environment creates a lot of opportunities for engineers to create CRM systems for a very narrow audience. The most popular way to construct such a solution is by using Ruby on Rails framework. Let's take a closer look at this technology and find out why it’s so common in this niche and how to utilize it properly.

Why Ruby on Rails is the best solution for custom CRM system development

So, Ruby on Rails is particularly popular with software engineers when creating custom CRM systems. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • First and foremost, it's all about the ease of development. There are a huge number of libraries for Ruby on Rails, with everything a software engineer may dream of. Even if a question or problem hasn't arisen yet, there's already a solution for it. This is very convenient because Ruby on Rails CRM specialists don't have to invent anything.
  • This simplicity in development also has the further advantage of greatly reducing development time. It’s a sure way to get a Ruby on Rails CRM project up and running in half the time you originally planned. In addition, it is because of the simplicity the development team is relatively small. So you can save your budget too.
  • Ruby on Rails is designed for resources with a lot of information. In other words, if you need to provide content for your CRM system, there's nothing better than Ruby on Rails. This is very important for CRM and CMS systems.

Ruby on Rails has one of the largest and most active developer communities, which is always ready to help or come to the rescue.There's a good chance that another developer has already cracked it and found the answer. The developer community can also come to the rescue when another developer needs to be replaced or hired to join the team. Finding a candidate won't be a problem.

You could talk a lot about how nice and easy it is to work on Ruby on Rails. It’s almost perfect for CRM systems creation. However, every tool is only as good as the person using it. So, what kind of people do you need to create a great CRM solution using Ruby on Rails?

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Custom CRM System development Team and Process

Most people think of IT as a group of technology experts. However, there are different positions on IT teams and many of them require more creative talent or business skills than technical knowledge. Let's take a look at the most common jobs:

01

PM

The project manager is responsible for the planning and execution of all Ruby on Rails CRM project tasks. He or she coordinates the work of the different teams, oversees all processes and makes sure that everything is completed on time and that the Ruby on Rails CRM stays within budget.

02

Developers

Developers are the people who write the code. They create software using Ruby on Rails. Back-end developers build the internal logic and functionality of the CRM product, while front-end developers work on the elements which users interact with.

03

QA

QA specialists monitor the quality of the CRM product, test it and identify possible enexpected issues that need to be fixed.

04

UI/UX designers

UI and UX designers focus on the efficient interaction between the end users and the application. They design the interface in such a way that the CRM product looks attractive and is comfortable to use.

It is essential that each Ruby on Rails CRM specialist has a clear understanding of their duties and area of responsibility. This is the only way for a company to succeed in today's fast-changing world of technology. The roles are clear, but where do you look for such specialists?

Ruby on Rails development company vs Ruby on Rails freelancers

In order to recruit the right people, not to go broke on recruitment and to build a great team, you need to choose the right employment format and control methods, and then streamline the process. You also need to avoid mistakes if the hiring is done by the owner or a technical specialist rather than an HR person.

But first things first. Choose the format of employment

Determine how you want to hire employees and form the development department. There are 2 main formats to choose from:

Freelancers

Hiring a freelancer is an employment format where you get professionals and take over Ruby on Rails CRM project management. It's ideal if you already have a team of technicians, established management, but are short-handed or need to scale up.

Using freelancers, you can:

  • quickly find developers, interview them and connect them to the Ruby on Rails CRM project;
  • retain expertise within the team;
  • supervise the work process yourself.

Here, you get Ruby on Rails CRM specialists and communicate directly with them but their expertise may be limited and there are no quality guarantees.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is the rental of employees for specific tasks for a specific time. The format is suitable for most companies at any stage of development - both startups and large corporations. It is perfect for companies with no development experience. The advantage of outsourcing is that you pay only for the result, while the process is managed by the contractor.

By outsourcing, you can:

  • hand over the management and administration to the contractor;
  • you pay for the result;
  • get the work done in a package;
  • hire a full-cycle team, where the CRM product is developed, checked, and monitored on every step.

If you are looking for a complete solution, avoid freelancers right away. A "jack-of-all-trades" is only suitable for local, targeted tasks. The compromise between the two extremes is small and medium-sized outsourcing companies. They use cutting-edge technology and build communication with the team the way you want them to. More flexible than companies with thousands of employees, but more reliable and skilled than lone freelancers, they work with small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups. 

Developing a custom Ruby on Rails CRM system: Why outsourcing?

More and more companies around the world are choosing to outsource the IT aspects of their business. There are practical considerations behind it:

  • your product is handled by Ruby on Rails CRM specialists who are up-to-date with the latest technology;
  • Your team can focus on the main tasks;
  • time to market is reduced;
  • and all in all, it simply saves money.

Many companies find it difficult to outsource some of their tasks, but delegating actively encourages growth. It is a boon to business in a dynamic marketplace. To realize the full benefits of outsourcing, you need to consider several properties of contracting companies before making a decision. Because of the exceptional growth of the industry, it is important not to rush into choosing a partner.

When approaching potential outsourcing partners, narrow down the list of applicants by assessing them against the following criteria:

  • Skills and abilities;
  • Technical knowledge;
  • Experience in solving complex tasks;
  • Mastery of the latest technologies;
  • Similar cases in the portfolio.

Remember that technical expertise is crucial to the success of a hire deal. Also, pay special attention to the region an outsourcing company is from.

In particular, regions such as Eastern Europe and countries such as Ukraine deserve special attention as they allow for significant savings without compromising on the quality of the CRM system.

Ukraine's IT market is growing steadily by 20-30% annually, with revenues of domestic companies in this sector growing 4-5 times faster than the global average. Naturally, the growth of investment in Ukrainian IT companies demonstrates a stable trend - the annual increase by half.

Many companies have already recognized the benefits of this country. In 2020, Ukraine has risen by 2 positions in The StartupBlink ranking, entering the top 30 in terms of ecosystem development for startups.

According to data collected by Beetroot from various sources and published in their technical industry overview, the largest share of Ukrainian IT industry customers is in the US. After the US, the services of Ukrainian tech companies are most popular in the EU and the UK. Demand among Nordic countries, especially Sweden and Denmark, is expected to grow further.

According to the above-mentioned IT market survey, the services of Ukrainian IT companies have been selected by more than 100 Fortune 500 companies. There are over a hundred R&D centers of foreign companies operating in Ukraine, among them: Google, Samsung, Siemens, and Huawei.

The cost of developing a quality CRM system in this country will be 2-3 times lower than in other regions. Speaking of prices, let's look at how much it costs to develop a custom Ruby on Rails CRM system.

How much does it cost to develop a CRM system using Ruby on Rails?

 Before we say how much a CRM system costs, let's look at what determines the price.

The cost of a CRM system depends primarily on the competition and the functionality. The higher the competition, the lower the cost. Highly specialized Ruby on Rails CRM systems are more expensive. Also, the cost is directly correlated with the number of users in the company.

The cost of implementing a CRM system is not fixed, either. If the buyer has chosen a cloud solution, and there is an employee responsible for the implementation, you can try to save money and implement the CRM system yourself.

But you can take the easy way out and go to vendor companies who will do it themselves. Typically, the cost of implementation includes:

01

Detailed analysis of the client's business processes

02

Setting up a CRM system to suit his individual needs

03

Import of databases from the former client accounting system (Excel spreadsheets or other CRM)

04

Integration with necessary services

05

Training of several employees to work in the new program

When deciding to implement CRM in your business, be prepared for the fact that it is a lengthy process. In any case, you need to focus on 3-4 months.

The time taken is roughly in the following ratio: 

  • 3 months for development; 
  • 1 month for a start, fixes, and tweaks.

A full-stack Ruby on Rails developer's rate is about $50 per hour.

50*160h*4 months = around $30k.

If the Ruby on Rails CRM project also needs a frontend developer the price might go up to $50k.

From there, everything is limited only by the client's business needs. Different companies, even those in the same field, always have different internal business processes. But in general, regardless of the business area, there are common trends for small, medium, or large companies.

It is almost always more advantageous to make your CRM product because the processes are already fine-tuned and the result has to be extremely individual. Custom Ruby on Rails CRM development is also useful if a company has a specific industry and peculiar business processes. In this case, neither cloud solutions nor unified box solutions are suitable in terms of interface or functionality.

Conclusion

According to the Every Second project, every second the iPhone sells about 6 smartphones, McDonald's sells 50 hamburgers, 40,000 people watch videos on YouTube, and Facebook registers 2 new users. The calculations are of course tentative, but they perfectly demonstrate how fierce the 21st-century market is. 

Simply doing a CRM product well to make a profit is no longer enough today. The market is forcing you to take the customer relationship to another level. To this end, more and more companies are turning to CRM systems. The software organizes data on clients and transactions, stores the history of interaction with clients, systematizes all emails and call records. It also automates work: generates documents in a template, creates reports, sets tasks, warns of deadlines, and much more. 

Using Ruby on Rails in this situation is an excellent solution for creating a high-quality Ruby on Rails CRM product. And to ensure that you get the best combination of price and quality in this event, we recommend that you go with an outsourcing company. In particular, you can contact RexSoft. This company has been on the market for many years and has several completed Ruby on Rails CRM projects and high-quality Ruby on Rails specialists on board.

Oleksandr Kryvotsiuk

HEAD OF MARKETING AT REXSOFT
I am a SEO expert and a Full-stack internet marketer. I have been helping small and medium-sized companies in various niches to increase organic traffic, attract more potential customers and improve the return on advertising investment since 2013.