Yet Another ERP/CRM Partnership

Yet Another ERP/CRM Partnership
P.J. Jakovljevic - April 28th, 2000

Event Summary

In March, Solomon Software Inc., a leading provider of mid-market financial and business management systems, and SalesLogix, a leading provider of electronic customer relationship management (eCRM), signed a five-year, multi-million dollar OEM software arrangement.

The agreement enables Solomon to private-label the SalesLogix2000 suite of applications as a tightly integrated front- and back-office package for its mid-market customers under the name "Solomon Relationship Management suite - powered by SalesLogix."

It also extends the reach of SalesLogix2000 among mid-size companies seeking integrated ERP solutions, further solidifying the company's presence in that market by making it available through Solomon's 500+ authorized channel partners. SalesLogix2000 is a fully integrated eCRM suite including sales, marketing, support, and e-commerce features.

"Solomon has been seeking the best eCRM solution for our customers and business partners for several months," said Michael Rupe, president and CEO of Solomon Software. "Our alliance with SalesLogix will give tens of thousands of our combined customers and business partners the unique competitive advantage of tightly integrating SalesLogix premier customer relationship management software with more than fifty of Solomon's flexible eFoundation applications including financial, project accounting, distribution, and service management software products. No one else can offer that. Businesses wanting to become customer-focused without compromising their core business competencies will find the addition of SalesLogix applications to the Solomon product family irresistible," added Rupe.

"Solomon Software is a perfect complement to the SalesLogix2000 suite. Solomon's offerings combined with SalesLogix2000 will provide businesses with the powerful combination they need to obtain a holistic view of their customers, enabling them to provide levels of service they've only dreamed of in the past," said Pat Sullivan, president and CEO of SalesLogix. "And, with the addition of Solomon's extensive network of channel partners, SalesLogix realizes a significant expansion of its mid-market selling channel, enabling us to bring SalesLogix2000 to more of these businesses than ever."

The agreement extends the SalesLogix Open CRM Initiative, launched last year, which enables leading companies to incorporate the benefits of advanced sales, marketing, and customer support automation into the products and services they create and market. Under terms of the arrangement, SalesLogix will provide Solomon's channel partners with product support for the first year of the contract, with additional support and training becoming a collaborative effort between the two software industry leaders in the future. Both companies will also be involved in co-marketing, including joint advertising, direct mail, lead generation, trade shows, and special events.

Solomon's Channel Partners who are already SalesLogix Business Partners have immediate availability of SalesLogix applications for Solomon IV. Details on SalesLogix2000 product training for Solomon channel partners will be announced in April. Integration between SalesLogix applications and Solomon applications will begin immediately in a phased approach.

Market Impact

Solomon has established strong recognition and penetration within the lower-end of the Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SME) segment of the ERP market. Its single-code product, with the same look & feel for both small and midsize customers, differentiates the company from its competitors (e.g., Great Plains, Epicor, Sage Software, Navision, etc.) that currently offer separate products for the lower and upper ends of the mid-market. Further, Solomon's indirect channel is very nimble and focused, in addition to its good geographical coverage. This is due to its single-code product portfolio that reduces the deployment and support requirements for its entire market segment.

This announcement should bring some sigh of relief for Solomon, whose internal R&D resources will not be additionally strained with yet another major development effort. This is also a counter punch to the Great Plains partnership with Siebel, although significantly belated. Due to its late expansion into the ERP world, the company has also been trailed by its reputation of a best-of-breed accounting software vendor. Solomon has therefore accelerated its ambitious delivery schedule of new manufacturing, distribution, and e-commerce functionality, resulting in tight "time-to-market" constraints. The market should expect similar announcements that would supplement Solomon's product with human resources and advanced planning and scheduling functionality.

Solomon IV financial and business applications are used by thousands of businesses in more than 100 countries worldwide and shares the same Microsoft-centric server platform as SalesLogix2000, including Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 for database management and Seagate Crystal Reports for system-wide reporting. The parallel technologies used by both vendors should offer customers and business partners lower cost of ownership, as well as training and knowledge transfer costs. Nevertheless, past experiences have shown that true integration takes time and is very seldom painless.

User Recommendations

We generally recommend including Solomon in a long list of an enterprise application selection to the lower-end of the mid-market companies (with $2M-$250M in revenue), which are staunch users of Microsoft technology and have significant financial accounting, project management, distribution, and service requirements, while currently not needing complex manufacturing functionality.

Any organization evaluating Solomon Software should consider existing functionality only, and, in the case of final selection, should negotiate incorporation of new applications components now at negotiated license fees, in expectation of Solomon's future product introductions. When Solomon is included in the selection process, be wary of possible product integration glitches.

Potential clients should also conduct preliminary research on industry expertise and reference sites of a regional Solomon value added reseller (VAR). Solomon distributors offer vertical solutions on an opportunity-by-opportunity basis only, which we find insufficient to satisfy the stringent requirements of a highly competitive market.

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