Whether we talk about a CRM or an ERP system, open source or proprietary, we always find an entire ecosystem of small (or not so small) modules generally provided by third parties.
Can these add-ons be trusted? Are they well integrated with the main system? Are they supported and for how long? By whom are they supported?
The first step is to check if the company who owns and develops the CRM or ERP system has a certification process for third party companies who provide these add-ons.
The second step is to check if the add-on you are interested in is provided by a certified company.
Third, you need to check if the add-on is provided & certified for the version of the software that you own. Some companies may have created these add-ons only in the last few years and it may have never been intended for on older version of the system.
Verify the integration method for the add-on. Companies provide an array of methods to integrate add-ons with their systems. Some of these methods are better and more “supported” over time than others. For this step you may need expert advice.
And finally check their success stories and the number of implementations for the product. While not always the case, generally the more customers, the better the product and more chances the company will continue to invest in it.
Some companies will also provide free demo, free online training and free knowledge base access.
Another great method of assessing the necessity for third party add-ons onto your ecosystem is to bring in the expertise of market experts. Experts in your industry have seen projects just like yours times and times again, and know the best practices of your industry. They will know right away if the add-on is right for you.