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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hosted CRM Solutions - IWeek Comparison

Informationweek has come out with a report om comparing Hosted CRM Solutions. The article prefaces by writing that this is not an endorsement to use hosted CRM within enterprises and asks enteprises to assess by deciding whether to turn over something as critical as CRM to an outside party calls for soul-searching on both the IT and business sides- as customer relationships are the core of your business. A careful consideration about whether getting a single CRM system from an outsourcer help salespeople do their jobs better is neesed. Questions like should entire customer database reside in the hands of a third party? Would the CRM provider stick around? What are its service-level agreements- won't it have service-provider or software problem that may not be fixed right away? For business processes that are unique, can an outsider offer the flexibility you need?. All need to be answered beforehand.

The comparison results are available here . The report concludes saying by testing services from Entellium Corp., NetSuite, RightNow Technologies, Sage Software (formerly Best Software), Salesforce.com and TriVenture, which resells Microsoft Corp.'s CRM offering through its CRM OnTarget service. The Iweek Editor's Choice award goes to Sage Software's SageCRM.com 5.7, which wowed us with its well-designed interface, though the competition is hot on its heels and all the offerings leave room to improve.
I just looked at the Features List of the products compared and found that there was little differentiation across the product features - this clearly shows that this is under evolution and it is not inherently amenable to any great product level differentiation - though innovative features or the first to roll out like Sforce providing results as RSS Feeds could give it a temporary lead in mindshare - but nothing that others can't catch up- I wonder how medium to large enteprises could even consider these small feature list packages. I am a little surprised that Siebel, the key player in this space, claiming some 28,000 customers on hosted services alone did not take part in this review. My mind went back several years back when commercial magazines used to compare small financial accounting packages or desktop productivity tools / PIM packages. Looks to me that hosted CRM solutions are getting similar treatment - no complaints here.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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