Vendors Begin to Round Out Their CRM Suites

Vendors Begin to Round Out Their CRM Suites
P.J. Jakovljevic - March 17th, 2000

Event Summary

In February, front-office vendors Baan Co. and SalesLogix Inc. rounded out their customer-relationship management application suites adding new marketing, service, and E-commerce capabilities. Their announcements were made at the DCI Customer-Relationship Management Expo in Chicago.

Baan, which had emerged as a front-runner in the front-office among enterprise resource planning vendors only to lose that lead because of financial and management turmoil, has finally delivered on some of its original promise with the new release of BaanFrontOffice. The new BaanFrontOffice is the first release that fully integrates a string of acquired front-office products with each other and with other Baan applications so that sales and pricing information is linked to product information running in the back office. The release also includes a new marketing component, a new product-pricing module, and an upgrade to its configuration tools.

Baan Marketing includes campaign planning based on analysis of customer data, campaign execution, and lead management. Baan E-Configuration takes the configuration functions already available to salespeople and places them on the Web for E-commerce customers' use. Baan Pricing helps salespeople determine the pricing of complex products for industries such as manufacturing. The Baan products are available immediately, starting at roughly $1,500 per seat for one module.

SalesLogix released its new CRM upgrade, SalesLogix 2000, adding new marketing, customer-service, and E-commerce capabilities. "We have a full CRM suite now," says CEO Pat Sullivan. New marketing tools include campaign management, data mining, and campaign feedback that ties campaign results to increases in sales.

The suite also adds online self-service capabilities. For E-commerce, SalesLogix OrderWizard sets up a shopping-cart application, and SalesLogix OrderExpert walks customers through the purchasing and ordering process. A configuration developer's kit helps businesses set up such functions as guided selling on the Web. Other new features include application integration to ERP packages such as Oracle, PeopleSoft, and SAP, and wireless connectivity to cell phones and handheld devices. SalesLogix 2000 is available immediately, with server licenses ranging from $3,995 to $14,995 and user license fees ranging from $595 to $995.

Market Impact

The market should expect a spate of similar announcements in this space as vendors scramble to belatedly jump on the e-Commerce/CRM bandwagon. Notwithstanding Baan's current financial troubles, the above mentioned product releases will give all major CRM aspirants, including the CRM leader Siebel Systems, a run for their money.

We also believe that the year 2000 will be a trying year especially for the larger ERP players, particularly when competing for a bigger chunk of the Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SME) market segment. In this segment, there is much less patience with product delays, a patchwork of disparate interconnected products, and exorbitant cost of implementation. While almost every major ERP vendor has announced a CRM strategy, most of the actual Web-enabled, complete applications have yet to appear.

User Recommendations

In spite of massive market demand, most e-Commerce and CRM initiatives from software vendors are a long way from becoming a reality.

Current users of Baan or SalesLogix should contact their long-term software provider and inquire about the proposed offering. Also, both current and potential users are advised to request the Company's written commitment to promised functionality, length of implementation, feasibility of integrating it with the system in place, and seamless future upgrades, before embarking on an implementation journey.

In addition, Baan users should not neglect the Company's dire financial situation.


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