sfa

CRM SFA blog

sfa
sfa


New Posts

Salesforce For Sale?Aplicor System Review
Business ByDesign
CRM Lesson Learned
Salesforce.com Group
Entellium Review

Most Read Posts

Aplicor System Review
CRM Lesson Learned
Salesforce.com Group
Entellium Review

Recent Comments

Hosted SAP Stalled

Search

Search This Site

Categories

Software Reviews
Implementations
Salesforce.com
SAP
Oracle
Sage
Entellium
Microsoft
NetSuite
Aplicor
SugarCRM
Social Media

Archives

December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008

crm software

December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007

Blogroll

Asia ERP Software
ERPblogger
GovernmentBlogger.com

 

award

sfa


SugarCRM Implementation and Review

I had the opportunity to project manage a SugarCRM implementation while working for a small not for profit in Rockville, MD. While open source CRM software has not achieved a measurable market share (at least not more than 1% of the total CRM software market according to Gartner), SugarCRM has probably made more advancement than any other open source customer relationship management solution. True to the open source promise, the product is ultimately customizable (as long as you have experienced PHP developers on staff) and the software acquisition price is right (free). However, the hidden costs in managing an open source CRM solution, whether customized or not, do quickly erode the procurement cost savings.

SugarCRM is a relatively mature SMB (small and midsize business) on demand CRM or on premise CRM solution. Because of its inherent simplicity, the product is easy to use and requires little training. However, its lack of feature sets and functionality pretty much limit this solution to small businesses. I've noticed there are very few SugarCRM software reviews which compare Sugar to more recognized commercial systems such as Salesforce.com, NetSuite and Aplicor - and I'm sure the reason is that such direct comparisons would not do this open source leader any favors.

SugarCRM offers a few different technology options. The application server is normally Apache, the database can be MS SQL Server or Sun MySQL and the operating system choices include Linux, Unix or Windows.

The technology infrastructure for this open source business software system has always left me scratching my head. First, I find it unusual (and unfortunate) that the application was developed in PHP and not in Java/J2EE. While PHP does provide a rapid development environment, it clearly also imposes performance and scalability limitations (a topic I'll address in more detail later) and is not the enterprise development environment that Java/J2EE is. PHP is a popular development language for web applications. However, PHP is an interpreted language. The compiled PHP code cannot be executed directly by the underlying operating system, and must instead use an intermediate software program to translate the PHP compiled code to a code to be executed by the operating system. The performance of interpreted languages is slower than native languages such as C or C++.

SugarCRM seems to promote the use of MS SQL Server over MySQL - something a bit unusual among open source advocates who generally prefer the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (or Perl or Python)) stack. For perceived safety and support, the IT Director insisted we only use SugarCRM on SQL Server and Windows - not something I envisioned when adopting an open source solution.

The Apache web server runs about 58 percent of all websites. It is perhaps one of the most pervasive software applications ever developed. Apache acts as an intermediate between the operating system and the PHP interpreter. Optimal Apache performance is crucial for respectable CRM system performance and time should be set aside for OS tuning and optimization on a periodic basis.

The technology stack component which generally delivers the least influence on SugarCRM application performance is the operating system. This is somewhat ironic as the OS offers the largest number of configuration options and is arguably the easiest to tune and optimize.

The CRM implementation go live event was almost one month ago. User reviews are mixed, system performance is generally reasonable and the solution is supporting most of the customer relationship management business objectives originally slated. The impetus most responsible for Sugar's selection (perceived free software) has not achieved the cost savings anticipated when factoring the IT administration and maintenance costs, nonetheless, for a small operating environment looking for a quick implementation, SugarCRM has met the need. What's next? We'll be looking into the social CRM capabilities for a phase 2.

crm blog
sugarcrm review Posted: Wednesday, February 11th, 2009
Under: SugarCRM
Permalink | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)
on-demand

CRM Success Continues To Falter

This month we were brought another quantifiable reminder of a topic all of us in the CRM software industry know only too well from first hand experience. According to a July 2007 research report issued by PMP Research and circulated in CRM magazine, 42% of enterprises polled said their CRM systems had achieved only partial success and limited business benefits. The research report discovered a clear separation between recognizing the importance of CRM strategies and actually fulfilling those strategies. PMP Research Manager, Cliff Mills, suggests that an even greater number of organizations recognize that CRM strategy is more essential now that it was three years ago. It is viewed as "much more important" by 44% of the organizations surveyed and "slightly more important" by another 39% of respondents. "No one sees it as less important" according to Mills.

Recognizing the importance of customer management strategies and achieving planned results remain mutually exclusive for most organizations. 37% of organizations report achieving some clear benefits from their CRM software systems while only a small 4% of surveyed participants indicate their CRM software systems are successful and delivering all of the intended benefits.

While CRM software implementation failures suffer from a causes and factors which have been well publicized for over a decade, CRM post-implementation success has not received the same coverage. The PMP study did offer one concrete failure point which is that CRM production environments can degrade and often fail due to a failure to periodically measure results. Only 30% of the companies enlisted regularly measure their CRM systems performance against operational metrics and anticipated benefits. About another third of CRM implementers indicate they are planning to measure progress, 11% have measured only one time since the software implementation and an embarrassing 13% have never measured their CRM application effectiveness. Author Mills comments in the report, "This suggests that judgment as to the degree of success of a CRM application is often made on subjective basis rather than quantitative information because organizations do not know how to successfully, or how frequently, measure their CRM software."

According to the research report, the most cited benefits for initiating customer relationship management software implementations included the following:

  • Delivery of better strategic information to functional areas of the business, such as sales and marketing;
  • Improvement to customer satisfaction levels;
  • Improvement to customer lifetime value; and
  • Retaining existing customer longer.

The report findings also showed that a lack of success is not reducing interest in being successful. 78% of participants indicate that they are currently implementing changes and improvements to their on-premise and on-demand CRM software implementations in order to eventually achieve their objectives. Only 11% have thrown in the towel and completely abandoned further improvements.

crm blog
CRM research report Posted: Saturday, July 26th, 2008
Under: Implementations
Permalink | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)
on-demand

Hey Oracle - Salesforce Is Cozying Up to Google!

On April 15, Salesforce.com announced 'Salesforce for Google Apps' as a new online service that helps Salesforce CRM users integrate with Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar and the Google productivity suite which includes Google Docs spreadsheet, presentations and word processing applications. Unfortunately, Google Apps users won't be able to leverage this CRM to desktop integration unless they subscribe to Salesforce.com.

Guy Creese, analyst and research director for Burton Group, summed it up best by stating that this press party is "an installed base play - non-Salesforce.com customers won't be touched by this initiative." While Google would like to use the on-demand software giant to get some traction into the enterprise market, Creese points out that Google Apps is still missing important enterprise features such as role-based administration, document records management and the ability to work offline. At this point, Google Apps does not compete well with Microsoft Office and is pretty much relegated to non-power users looking for free or cheap software.

However, the real story behind the media blitz is less about a hot-button interface between a CRM system and an area of the Google empire which has struggled to make even moderate inroads to the enterprise and more about a thoughtful merger and acquisition (M&A) strategy being carefully orchestrated by Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff.

While many debate whether Benioff is a blow hard or a visionary, there's no denying he is a forward thinker and masterful and painting perception. Combine Benioff's marketing prowess and colorful articulation with the fact that many industry insiders believe Salesforce.com is for sale, or at least Benioff would like the company to sell, and you can begin to see the stage for a multiple bid acquisition opportunity. Benioff has pimped himself and Salesforce to Google for more than two years, however, the search engine giant shows no interest in bringing this CRM software company into its fold. The corporate cultures between the two Silicon Valley big wigs are seemingly opposite. Google operates with complete humility while Salesforce is clearly a gorilla marketer not hesitant to inflict personal jabs, drop provocative sound bytes, trade barbs with industry veterans or even commercialize the Dalai Lama. Salesforce.com's real sugar daddy is Oracle and former boss Larry Ellison. However, while Salesforce.com is reported to be in M&A discussions with Oracle, Benioff knows that without competition from another suitor, Oracle's impetus to act and valuation decline. I expect to see a few more Salesforce.com and Google announcements - each big on media and small on substance - but seemingly enough to get Oracle's attention.

crm blog
Google and Salesforce Posted: Monday, April 28th, 2008
Under: Salesforce.com
Permalink | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)
on-demand

NetSuite NS-BOS

Determined not to let Salesforce.com's Force platform as a service (PAAS) get all of the business software reviews and software as a service ecosystem headlines and mindshare, NetSuite released its Business Operating System (NS-BOS) development platform in an effort to partner with independent software vendors (ISVs) and value added resellers (VARs) to create vertical market business software systems.

NS-BOS includes five primary building blocks:

  • SaaS Infrastructure: Partner built applications will be (must be) hosted on NetSuite's multi-tenant delivery architecture.
  • Core Business Management Suite: Partner built applications will (must) bundle in the core NetSuite product offering. Partner built industry specific solutions built with NS-BOS will include the NetSuite ERP, CRM, and/or Ecommerce products and will be priced by the ISV with an agreed revenue split with NetSuite for the core suite.
  • SuiteFlex: This is NetSuite's technology platform and SuiteScript programming language for ERP and CRM product customization, verticalization, and business process automation.
  • SuiteScript D-Bug: A code debugger designed for a multi-tenant application platform.
  • SuiteBundler: A template like construct which permits systems to be provisioned in repeatable manner, rather than copying the code for each new customer.

An effort which shows some commitment to the program is the appointment of Michael Ni as VP of Industry Solutions and Ecosystem (does that title fit on a business card?). Ni will manage all vertical initiatives, software developer programs, and oversee the NS-BOS evolvement. In a company that has demonstrated a significant turnover history of channel related executives, I wish Mr. Ni much luck.

While software analysts and industry pundits are sure to compare NS-BOS to Salesforce.com Force and AppExchange, NS-BOS provides a noticeable difference in that the program must include the horizontal NetSuite application (not a requirement with Salesforce.com), thereby directing efforts toward vertical solutions and away from more complimentary horizontal solutions.

From my initial review, I see some obvious advantages and disadvantages with the NS-BOS program. On the positive, the program can dramatically accelerate time to market for third parties looking to offer industry specific solutions and looking to forego the building of the many horizontal accounting feature sets.

On the negative, the biggest reservation for any partner may be establishing a long-term commitment with a less than channel friendly company. I suspect that the mandate to use NetSuite's delivery infrastructure and pass along the NetSuite core ERP or CRM solution will limit participation to smaller companies and more focused point solutions. I also suspect that ISVs who prefer or demand to work in an open systems technology environment (e.g. Java/J2EE or .NET) will view NetSuite's proprietary development offerings as a big negative. Oh yea, I also think that NS-BOS sounds way too much like MS-DOS, but maybe that's just me.

crm blog
NetSuite NS-BOS Posted: Monday, March 3rd, 2008
Under: NetSuite
Permalink | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)
on-demand

Salesforce.com Looking For Acquisition Buyer?

After seemingly being snubbed by Google, Salesforce.com is reported by Silicon Valley Watcher to be approaching Oracle as the next suitor to acquire the high flying software as a service (SaaS) CRM company. Industry pundit Tom Foremski and the Silicon Valley Watcher network report to have reliable sources indicating that Salesforce.com has approached Oracle too see if there is any interest by Oracle to buy Salesforce.com at $75.00 per share.

A potential deal could make sense for a number of synergistic reasons:

  • Oracle's own subscription-based, SaaS offering inherited from the Siebel Systems acquisition has been lackluster at best and Siebel OnDemand will likely not compete well with SAP's recently announced Business ByDesign. A Salesforce.com acquisition would instantly give Oracle much needed credibility in the high growth SaaS market and give it the leverage to continue its assault on arch rival SAP.
  • Oracle would provide Salesforce.com much needed credibility in the enterprise IT market. While Salesforce.com does boast several large customer accounts, lets not forget their average customer subscribes to fewer than 20 users and the lion's share of Salesforce.com customers are small businesses.
  • I found it interesting that in a related article, Matthew Greeley, BrightIdea.com's CEO, suggested the Salesforce.com acquisition could make sense so that Marc Benioff becomes the Larry Ellison successor. While I suspect that the 63 year Ellison is thinking about his success plan, I'd be willing to bet that next-in-line Charles Phillips would have something to say about reporting to industry mouth piece Benioff.
  • The claim that Marc Benioff is losing interest in Salesforce.com is also interesting when supported by Benioff's divestiture and selling history of the company he founded. Benioff has sold 10,000 shares of his company's stock every day since August 21, 2007. Prior to that, he sold 20,000 every single day since November 14, 2006; and prior to that he sold many thousands of shares on a more irregular schedule since July 31, 2006. Certainly founders are entitled to cash out and diversify their equity interests, however, such a consistent and material diversification is not the norm among Silicon Valley tech companies.

When looking at the factors that surround a company allegedly looking for a buyer (Salesforce.com) and a company clearly on an M&A (merger and acquisition) growth plan, an Oracle acquisition of Salesforce.com is clearly a possibility. If I continue to see some traction toward a Salesforce.com acquisition, I'd like to survey some users to better understand their perceptions of the upside and downside of the combined company.

crm blog
sap business bydesign Posted: Monday, February 11th, 2008
Under: Oracle, Salesforce.com
Permalink | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)
on-demand


SAP Business ByDesign's Two Phase Evolution

SAP's September 19 Business ByDesign (BBD) software as a service (SaaS) announcement was a clear signal that the old guard ERP software makers can no longer ignore, dismiss and ridicule the hosted software movement. What wasn't so clear was the intended BBD audience. While SAP formally positioned the hosted software for small and midsize businesses, that target audience is extremely broad and the question which remains is whether the SaaS solution is more of an offensive play or a defensive tactic.

My early insight suggests that the BBD on-demand ERP software is more of a defensive tactic intended to slow the customer erosion of their clients' remote operations which were being diverted to both the traditional on-premise ERP systems such as Microsoft GP/NAV/AX/SL and Sage 200/500 as well as the new comer SaaS systems such as Salesforce.com, NetSuite and Aplicor.

SAP has become the ERP software industry leader for the Global 2000. The two problems with this achievement are that there are only 2000 customers in this list (thereby requiring SAP to move down stream to continue growth - the subject of a future blog post) and these customers typically operate with a multitude of remote subsidiaries, divisions or lines of business in a hub and spoke model. SAP has for years encountered resistance in getting the much smaller remote operations to buy off on the mammoth application used by the parent company. Historically, the middle market ERP applications such as Great Plains and Sage have better satisfied the remote operations and even created packaged integration's to SAP to better promote their ability to fill the void. However, the use of non-SAP onsite ERP software in these instances has really not been much more than a trickle - and certainly has not been viewed as a competitive threat by SAP. However, since the introduction of SaaS the trickle has escalated to a wave. Actually a number of waves. Salesforce.com was clearly the first wave, and now NetSuite and Aplicor are following and accelerating SAP's customer erosion. The SaaS vendors have gotten SAP's attention as a significant competitive threat and have caused the risk-averse giant to act.

SAP's most significant obstacles for BBD are enlisting a quality VAR (value added reseller) channel, convincing a skeptical middle market that the application is easy to use and doesn't come with the feared SAP complexity, competing with more experienced and focused SaaS makers, and preventing the on-demand software from cannibalizing its flagship product and revenue stream. While each of these obstacles is formidable, each is also much easier to overcome with the existing customer base and their subsidiaries than with new clients. I expect SAP to move slow and methodical (as the company always does) and in phases, whereby, the hosted ERP software solution first gains traction in the current install base and then matures to grow and achieve new customer acquisitions.

crm blog
sap business bydesign Posted: Friday, December 28th, 2007
Under: SAP
Permalink | Comments (3) | Trackback (1)
on-demand


Sage MAS 500 System Review

I'm barely five weeks into an implementation of the new Sage Software MAS 500 version 7 product. The scope of the implementation includes the following:

  • Financials: general ledger, accounts receivable, cash management, accounts payable, FAS asset accounting, FAS asset inventory, multicurrency, allocations and advanced consolidations
  • Distribution: sales order, purchase order, inventory, kiting, eOrder, RMA and warehouse management
  • Project Accounting: job cost / project accounting with eTimesheets
  • Manufacturing: advanced manufacturing, material requirements planning (MRP), shop floor control, estimating, project management, engineering change management and shop floor control
  • CRM: SalesLogix sales, support, eSalesforce and eCustomer
  • HR and Payroll: Abra HR and Abra Payroll

As you can see, this is a comprehensive implementation. Fortunately, my client has assembled an outstanding executive sponsor and project team. Not so fortunately, we were pretty much forced to engage with two VARs (value added resellers) instead of a single VAR as neither VAR had expertise in all of the software purchased. We're already seeing the VARs jockey for the professional services work, but that's a minor issue that will be quickly remedied.

I'm going to create two blog posts regarding this engagement. This first will focus on the new capabilities in the just released version 7 product as well as an informal review of the solution. Some months from now I'll post a blog entry on the implementation lessons learned from this CRM and ERP software engagement.

The most interesting new feature in MAS 500 version 7.0x is the Business Insights Explorer (BIE) query and data analysis tool. This tool is a step up from the prior version Business Insights Analyzer (BIA) module and now merges inquiry, drill-around and data analysis in a single view. The BIE Preview option permits a user to view master/card records along with performance statistics and related transactions (e.g. a customer record with related quotes, sales orders, invoices or a vendor record with associated vouchers and payments). BIE views are largely user defined so that a user can designate which columns to view, choose the primary column and sort order, and insert column sums or calculated results. Sage has positioned BIE and BIA as complimentary, however, dual licensing for this overlapping products can get a bit pricey.

The Order Entry module has finally received a much needed new user interface (UI). The UI is more intuitive and better accommodates heads-down data entry clerks who process higher transaction volumes. Users can also now place their most utilized fields in the grid entry page and leave less used fields in the "more" area. It's also helpful from a workflow perspective that users can now take sales orders, assign serial and lot numbers, issue pick tickets, receive shipments and generate invoices all from the same screen. The drop shipment function has been enhanced to both permit this selection at order entry as well as receive notification from the third party when the drop shipment has occurred.

Picking and shipping sales orders has been upgraded to permit automated shipments from item picking, more flexible product substitutions and modifiable business rules which prioritize sales orders and back orders by lot (expiration date), oldest inventory picked first, priority, date and other variables. Shipping documents such as the Bill of Lading and packing sheets have been upgraded and are more closely tied to the StarShip manifest system.

A new warehousing management module delivers new functions such as zones in warehouses, three step inventory transfers and wave and zone picking (to track quantity by bin). Warehouse automation also supports a (Windows Mobile 2003 or CE.NET) wireless solution for using handheld devices and scanning during order picking and physical cycle counts.

From the technology perspective, this product is built using SQL and a Visual Basic front-end. VB isn't exactly cutting edge technology and does little to facilitate thin client computing over the Internet, however, this implementation resides in a single facility and the client's IT department didn't want to consider a hosted solution so the technology isn't really a problem.

While largely focused on information access and enhanced warehousing, version 7 is a solid upgrade and the MAS 500 product is a solid ERP system. Sage MASĀ 500 modules have won several awards, including three Microsoft "Best Technology Integration" awards as well as five consecutive Software Technical Assistance Recognition (STAR) awards for outstanding customer service.

crm blog
Sage 500 Software Review Posted: Friday, November 23rd, 2007
Under: Software Reviews, Sage
Permalink | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)
on-demand


Aplicor CRM & ERP System Review

I had the chance to perform a detailed review the Aplicor CRM software product and discovered that this software-as-a-service (SaaS) system is a unique solution in at least five key areas. First, I found its ease-of-use unmatched when compared to other hosted and subscription-based CRM and ERP software products. The one-click-to-anywhere navigation and simultaneous multiple accounting viewing make the system quick to learn, easy to use and very efficient. The ability to change views from Schedule to Task List to Opportunity Review to whatever AND see a sub-table of every related transaction is really helpful for increasing personal productivity.

Second, I really like the way Aplicor uses a single page view to show every customer interaction (whether from sales, marketing or customer support) that has ever occurred and thereby achieve a 360 degree view of each client relationship. Third, the CRM product provides advanced functionality in terms of business process automation (workflow) and business intelligence (BI) analysis and reporting. The drag and drop visual reporting tools are flexible, very powerful and the stepping stones to elevate staff from data servants to knowledge workers.

Fourth, the ability for a non-technical person to customize the screens, forms and fields with a visual toolkit was really impressive. I was able to modify the system to my business and sales processes very quickly and without any programming, syntax scripting, endless wizards or techno mumbo jumbo.

Lastly, Aplicor's hosted software is more than just CRM as it also includes a complete back office ERP system that I found to be feature rich and flexible. Providing a built-in accounting software and back office system achieves a single enterprise-wide business system and lowers the cost of software acquisition and integration (not to mention the headaches and finger pointing when dealing with two different software manufacturers). What I really discovered very early in my review is that this CRM system is far more than simple contact management and is clearly capable of supporting more strategic CRM strategies and initiatives. I look forward to my next Aplicor software implementation.

crm blog
Aplicor System Review Posted: Sunday, November 23rd, 2008
Under: Software Reviews, Aplicor
Permalink | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)
on-demand


SAP Business ByDesign First Glimpse

I was fortunate to get a first glimpse of the just announced SAP Business ByDesign hosted solution (formerly code-named A1S). SAP made the splash announcement on September 19 at a press and analyst conference in New York - which happened to be the same time as Salesforce.com's Dreamforce user conference and only a day after NetSuite announced that Asahi Kasei Spandex America had replaced SAP R/3 with NetSuite's on-demand ERP system.

SAP CEO Henning Kagermann made several lofty comments, including "It's not just a new product for us ... It's a new era for SAP", seemingly to try to convince the many doubters that this new hosted solution lacks true competitive advantage and is little more than a defensive tactic intended to slow the erosion of clients to salesforce.com, NetSuite and Aplicor.

The Business ByDesign software breadth seems to be it's most competitive value and includes:

  • Financial management (aka accounting software system)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Human Resource (HR) Management
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM)
  • Project Management (I was unable to determine if this includes job costing)
  • Supplier Relationship Management
  • Compliance Management
  • Executive Management Support (seems to be Business Intelligence)

Peter Zencke of SAP's executive board indicated the on-demand software product is intended for prospects with between 100 and 500 staff, moderately complex business processes and moderate transaction volumes. He also indicated the hosted product may be complimentary with SAP's other SMB (Small and Midsize Business) solutions Business One (intended for companies of less than 100 employees) and SAP Business All-in-One (designed for companies with between 100 and 2,500 staff).

Presumably to prevent Business ByDesign from cannibalizing the company's flagship product and cash cow, CEO Kagermann made it a point to demonstrate that the Business ByDesign was not designed as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software suite and is instead organized around business processes typically found in smaller companies. Per Kagermann, "We have not designed it with these traditional categories in mind like CRM, ERP, et cert era." Also by design, the hosted product offers no upgrade path to the company's on-premise software product.

Under the hood, the software technology is by and large far superior to SAP's flagship product. Business ByDesign uses a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and of course the (proprietary) NetWeaver development framework.

I'm unclear as to the fate of SAP's first introduced hosted CRM solutions, SAP Sales On-Demand (released in February 2006) and SAP Marketing On-Demand (released in May 2006). It's no secret that these hosted CRM software products haven't taken off nor fared well against the more traditional software as a service CRM competitors.

At the time of the new hosted product announcement, there were 20 customers involved in a beta-type testing of the software. As with most new product announcements, the product is not yet available and is expected some time in 2008. U.S. pricing starts at $149.00 per user per month.

crm blog
SAP Posted: Friday, September 19th, 2007
Under: SAP
Permalink | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)
on-demand


Post CRM Implementation Lessons Learned

I recently finished an implementation consulting gig for a Canadian distributor and thought I'd share the lessons learned from that engagement. Overall, the project went fairly well, however, like all projects there were bumps in the road.

  • We incurred a few problems with executive sponsorship. The first executive sponsor was underpowered to move or commit resources and eventually left the company. The second executive sponsor was empowered, however, had little time for the project and was initially unsuccessful in promoting the project to the many stakeholder groups. After some coaching this was later remedied and the sponsor became extremely supportive.
  • As with many CRM implementation, the data conversion was slow to start and required more time than anticipated. The source data was not clean and required a data cleansing process. This added about two weeks to the project timeline.
  • We incurred a few integration problems from a mainframe to the new CRM system. While a few IT (information technology) folks first blamed the XML web services, it turned out to issues associated with the previously discussed poor quality source data.
  • The CRM product's mobile solution didn't work. We were told it would work on a blackberry, and while technically it did, it was completely unusable and abandoned.
  • User adoption was an issue, although probably not more of an issue than the norm. While the marketing people and call center staff were for the most part advocates from the beginning, the sales staff did not initially embrace the sales force automation (SFA) system. Through a series of carrots and sticks they ultimately came around.

The project was estimated to take six months to get to go-live and actually made it in just under seven months. Not bad considering. I'm proposing to do a one year post-implementation ROI measurement, however, the client hasn't yet confirmed this. We'll see.

crm blog
CRM Lessons Learned Posted: Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
Under: Implementation
Permalink | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)
on-demand


Salesforce.com Group Edition Review

I got a call to provide some consulting services to a small CRM implementation that had stalled and was looking for some help to restart it. While the engagement was only one week, it gave me a great opportunity to review the Salesforce.com Group Edition.

The best thing about Group Edition is that it includes almost all the sales force automation (SFA) functionality of the Professional Edition, Enterprise Edition or Unlimited Edition for a small fraction of the price. While limited to a maximum of five users, Group Edition includes the full account management, contact management, activity management and sale opportunity management. Group Edition provides a simple and easy way for very small sales teams to get a hosted SFA solution quickly.

The biggest downside is the missing items to achieve a broader CRM system, such as marketing campaigns, e-mail distributions, workflow, case management knowledgebase and analysis reporting. Other functionality such as dashboards and mobile access would have been helpful, but are understandably absent for such a low price point. The other potential downside appears if the customer elects to upgrade from Team Edition to one of the higher versions as the price differential is exponential.

Overall, the product performs as advertised, is a solid solution and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it for small business environments.

crm blog
Salesforce.com Team Edition Posted: Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007
Under: Software Review
Permalink | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)
on-demand


Entellium Review

I had my first experience with Entellium and overall it was quite positive. Frankly, I knew nothing about Entellium before a former client told me they were converting off Sage SalesLogix to Entellium.

Entellium gets high marks for web-based system speed and overall performance, ease of use and workflow processing.

Having just finished a NetSuite implementation, I was really happy to experience the Entellium system speed. Page changes and browser refreshes were typically completed in less than a second and report processing was limited to a reasonable time. Relative to some other hosted CRM software systems, Entellium is really easy to learn and easy to use. The end user training classes were completed in one day and the users felt comfortable going into the go-live cut-over. Granted, we were only using the SFA functionality, however, that type of easy to use system is not the rule when it comes to customer relationship management software systems.

The workflow processing was great. We configured several business process automation routines which saved hours of work per week for several sales staff and administration staff.

I enjoyed the relationship with the folks at Entellium. They were knowledgeable and responsive (again, not the norm in working with CRM software manufacturers). I look forward to additional Entellium projects.

crm blog
Entellium Review Posted: Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
Under: Software Review, Entellium
Permalink | Comments (0) | Trackback (0)
on-demand

 

sfa

 


 

Welcome to my blog. I've created this blog to compliment my consulting career and grow my professional networking. This blog is intended for readers interested in CRM software, ERP software, software as a service (SaaS) and e-commerce software solutions and implementations.

crm

 

 

software reviews, salesforce.com, entellium, aplicor, netsuite, microsoft

crm

 

 

Aplicor System Review

CRM Lessons Learned

Salesforce.com Group

crm

 

 

free crm, software review, downtime, sfa, hosted software, salesforce, netsuite ipo, salesforce.com, online crm, web-based, marc benioff, marketing, accounting software, erp system, opportunity management, contact management, sales force automation software

 

 

readers

sfa
sfa
Home|Categories| Archives | About | Contact| Site Map|Terms
sfa

Blog Home Categories Archives About CRM gal Contact