Software Inc. is a provider of customer relationship management (CRM)
and contact management solutions designed for small to medium enterprises. A
worldwide organization with business partners and offices in the Americas; Europe,
the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); and the Asia Pacific, the company once known
as Multiactive Software Inc. launched and shipped Maximizer Enterprise 7 in
early 2002. Two years later, with the successful execution of a sales growth
strategy, the company has adopted the Maximizer brand as a corporate name, as
well as a new ticker symbol, and they have introduced version 8, a more enhanced
version of Maximizer Enterprise. Even though a large portion of Maximizer Software's
current customer base is between 2550 users, Maximizer Enterprise 8 can also
serve the needs of larger organizations. The installed customer base currently
includes leading companies such as Siemens, Ipsos-Reid, Nestle Clinical, Ericsson,
HSBC, Singapore Airlines, and the Bank of New York.
Software's modus operandi is contingent upon the software's user-friendliness,
ease of installation, and affordable pricing with license price tags between
$499 and $699 for the CRM and eCRM suites; as a Canadian company, Maximizer's
policy is to price the product offering in Canadian currency locally, and in
USD internationally. Maximizer Software covers the spectrum from the needs of
small- and medium-sized businesses, to divisions of large enterprises with two
different products: Maximizer Enterprise 8 (the complete CRM package), and Maximizer
8 (the contact manager). Maximizer Enterprise 8 is available in two flavors:
the CRM suite that uses a traditional Windows client and an e-CRM suite that
relies on browsers. TEC has recently reviewed the Windows-based Microsoft SQL
enterprise version and found that it offers a comprehensive array of functionality
covering areas such as sales force automation, marketing, customer service,
and e-commerce. For over a decade, Maximizer Software has been renowned for
its affordable, small business-oriented sales force automation tools. Today,
Maximizer Enterprise 8 is a full CRM offering, capable of covering a much broader
spectrum of business needs. Peter Callaghan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing
at Maximizer Software cites Maximizer Enterprise 8's five key success factors
that satisfy customer wants: affordability, fast results, magnetic user interface,
integrated suite, as well as powerful administration and a modern architecture.
Callaghan says that Maximizer Enterprise 8's offering overall represents the
lowest total cost of ownership (TCO).
company has maintained a very aggressive pricing strategy to gain market share
and, according to Callaghan, both the Maximizer" contact manager and the "Maximizer
Enterprise" CRM package represent the best prices for out-of-the-box solutions."
Maximizer 8s contact management solution includes an account manager, opportunity
tracking, and an e-store manager and is sold at the retail price of $199. The
CRM suite is offered under $500, while the e-CRM suite is only $200 more.
Product Strengths and Challenges
Enterprise 8 is an integrated CRM suite with functionality encompassing direct
and indirect sales, customer service, and marketing processes. In other words,
all the modules are sold together out-of-the-box. Like version 7, Maximizer
Enterprise 8 is based on a SQL database that supports both Microsoft and Pervasive
SQL, which allows larger workgroups to collaborate.
features in Maximizer Enterprise 8 include Microsoft. NET platform;
analytics and reporting features that use Crystal Reports;
improved workflow automation using the KnowledgeSync workflow
engine; and a QuickBooks accounting link.
has reviewed the sales, marketing, and customer service components of the CRM
suite offering and how its features and functionalities might respond to company
requirements in accounts, opportunities, marketing campaigns, and customer care
management. Below is a summary of TEC's findings.
order and inquiry feature presents users with a comprehensive space to process
customer orders or inquiries, in addition to accessing a product catalogue with
an automated price per item listing. In the OrderDesk view, users can filter
customer orders and inquiries based on types. Orders are individually processed
and a multicurrency drop down menu includes an exhaustive list of international
currencies. However, the summary listing on the order desk doesn't appear to
convert this part of the order and this view lists the order currency as dollars.
creating inquiries, users can filter these and distinguish them from orders,
in addition to replying to clients or forwarding inquiries to other employees
for follow up. The inquiry function could be improved with a drill down to customer
details. To reach the customer detail and access customer information, the user
is forced to change the screen to the address book.
360 degree view provides information on all customers with related contacts
and activities, history, notes, opportunities, and logs, which can also be filtered
from a drop down menu. This view provides plenty of information, but due to
a lack of sufficient space, the navigation can become slightly confusing.
task creation to opportunity definition, the sales module enables users to proceed
with their daily activities following preset sales strategies for team selling.
Opportunities are shown and scrutinized in a variety of ways. The product is
bundled for business intelligence reporting with Crystal Reports and while there
are a myriad of report choices that display information, including showing and
scrutinizing opportunities, the industry standard sales funnel graphical display
is not available.
Marketing Automation Module
marketing automation is a wizard-based module with functions to create both
traditional and automated campaigns. The "Campaign Opened Email Tracking URL"
feature tracks the number of e-mails that are opened under an automated campaign
and the "Campaign Redirect URL" feature tracks the number of customers that
hit the web site in response to an automated campaign URL. This is a valuable
feature because it allows marketing professionals to closely monitor the results
after a campaign and facilitates return on investment (ROI) calculation.
The solution also complies with both US and Canadian public privacy acts by
having a remove subscriber URL used to unsubscribe customers from an
automated e-mail campaign and a "do not solicit" field that can be updated in
the customer detail screen. Campaigns are created around teams for which campaign
designers can assign roles and automatically distribute work to different members
of the team. All roles are associated with relevant process steps and are assigned
to work team members. However, in order to do this, the user must navigate through
a multitude of unrelated screens.
Customer Service and Support Module
customer service module allows customer cases to be created and resolved by
referring to similar cases and their solutions in a searchable knowledge base.
However, the navigation requires the user to exit the case context and review
similar cases and case solutions in the knowledge base sub-module. Some workflow
automation is already built into the module, which is particularly suited for
a customer service unit where rules regarding case resolution can serve to reinforce
escalations and notifications.
Enterprise 8 is available with preconfigured reports, designed specifically
to help customer service and support managers in monitoring overdue cases, in
addition to providing case workload analysis and case queue analysis, which
permit managers to optimize and monitor the productivity of their customer service
reps. Customer support issues can be tracked more efficiently via the generation
of trouble tickets. Maximizer Software feels this makes it easier for customer
service representatives to find the information they need to more quickly respond
to customer questions.
Enterprise 8 also comes with KnowledgeSync, which automates responses to critical
business activities. KnowledgeSynch was created by Vineyardsoft, the provider
of Maximizer Software's workflow automation engine, and this appears to be a
popular choice among other CRM solutions such as GoldMine, SalesLogix, and Siebel.
Enterprise 8 is also available as an e-CRM suite providing accessibility to
employees, suppliers, and customers through specialized portals. These portals
appear identical to the Maximizer
Enterprise 8 desktop interface and employees therefore have only to learn one
application. These portals are built on .NET technology and supported features
include viewing all address book information; adding notes and tasks; viewing
all aspects of opportunities; and viewing, adding, and making modifications
in the address book or hot list, as well as a host of configuration capabilities.
part of this new release includes an improved QuickBooks accounting link where
users can create quotes, invoices, and view a customer's credit history. The
link can be configured locally as well as through a client/server mode. Users
are not required to be licensed QuickBooks users.
Vendor and User Recommendations
the past four years of IT economic downturn, the SMB competitive environment,
and the countless mergers and acquisitions, Maximizer Software has succeeded
in sustaining its corporate independence and horizontal product development
in addition to maintaining profitability over the last six consecutive quarters.
While some big conglomerates representing what used to be known as independent,
SMB solutions have brought in massive marketing budgets leaving marginal space
for direct competitors, other independent vendors have chosen a specific niche,
exploited it through specialization, and experienced some success.
far as the horizontal solution (mass market) providers are concerned, differences
between offerings have become marginal. The vendor reputation among the user
community is what is left to differentiate one solution from another. Maximizer
Software still needs to strengthen its US presence through strategic alliances
with VARs and channel resellers.
Maximizer Enterprise 8 does offer industry templates and is well known for its
ease of customization, buyers today are very demanding and require "best fit"
solutions that call for minimum customization to accommodate their workflow.
An option could be to follow in the footsteps of MS CRM, which allows independent
software vendors (ISV) to build flavors and industry specifics on top of
the core MS CRM application platform, thereby satisfying specific market demands.
Maximizer Enterprise 8 offering directly competes with ACT! Premium, GoldMine
Corporate Edition, SalesLogix, and Onyx. When compared with ACT! and GoldMine,
Maximizer Software's products boast richer functionality, while offering a lower
total cost of ownership, based on a lower price and ease of customization than
SalesLogix and Onyx.