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CRM - MarketingRev - Tech News for Marketers

Archive for the 'CRM' Category


February 23rd

Avoid ACT! at All Costs

Christopher Kenton

If you’re already using a current version of ACT! from [tag]Sage Software[/tag], sorry, I can’t help you–you’re already in hell. If you’re considering ACT!, run away quickly. This is a product with so many lethal problems for users, developers have told me the number-one add-on purchased by users is a utility to export their data in order to roll back to an older version. In fact, the developers I spoke with couldn’t stop the stream of anecdotes about data problems, support debacles, and a business approach that has turned Sage’s development and user community against them. There has been a consumer class-action lawsuit filed against Sage by end-users in a U.S. District Court in Georgia, charging “deceptive, unlawful conduct in designing, manufacturing, distributing and supplying” ACT! 7.0. Sage Software is the company that also manufactures SalesLogix, however that product is primarily sold and supported by third party vendors. 

I’ve used ACT! for a number of years, and have frequently run into issues caused by bad programming and database development. I had to rely on outside developers to create tools that would help me manage my customer lists by exporting data to Access or SQL where I could actually run sophisticated queries. Recently I fell for the hype about ACT!’s upgrade to .NET and SQL, and downloaded a trial version to check it out. It seemed marginally better, until I started trying to use some of the email features and discovered it wouldn’t meet my needs. No problem. I just walked away from the trial.

Not so fast.

After my trial ran out, I realized with some horror that when I had loaded the ACT! email client, it had downloaded two months of my email from my server. It was now locked up in ACT! and I couldn’t get it out. When I called customer service to find out how to access and export my email, they told me they don’t support the trial version, and I’d have to buy a support package. When I called the developers I used to rely on to make ACT! work, they told me they won’t touch the new version of ACT!, and are only working on tools for the large pool of users stranded on the ACT!6 ice floe.

With all the tools that are out there for handling CRM and SFA, do yourself a favor and find a company that stands behind its products, respects the developer community, and understands the concept of customer service. Sage is not that company, and you can confirm that charge by calling any of the many 3rd party companies that create add-ons for ACT!.

Category: CRM | 12 Comments »

February 1st

Oracle Releases Siebel CRM 8

Christopher Kenton

[tag]Oracle[/tag] announced the wide release of Siebel 8 at its global “Applications Unlimited” event, the latest upgrade to an application platform that includes Siebel Sales, Siebel Enterprise Marketing, Siebel Customer Order Management, Siebel Contact Center and Service, Siebel Universal Customer Master, and Siebel Self-Service and eBilling. The key talking points of their release focus on the most common customer pain points, including integration, cost-of-ownership and ease-of-use. And of course, all of these issues are resolved “out-of-the-box” with version 8.

Oracle is promoting a short list of usability features including improved search, ability to change business rules on the fly through a drag-and-drop interface, and apparantly some kind of wizard system to guide newbies through unfamiliar tasks. But the interesting news is that Siebel 8 will apparently provide support for some of Oracle’s competing technologies, including IBM WebSphere and BEA Weblogic, and Microsoft’s SQL Server 2005 and IBM’s DB2. Siebel 8 will also support Linux, through Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux program.

It’s always fun to reverse prepackaged PR announcements. When Oracle is pumping Siebel 8’s value proposition as an easy-to-integrate, easy-to-use system that lowers total cost of ownership, does that mean they’re fighting a rep for systems that are expensive, clunky and hard to integrate? Last I remember, those were all issues people were complaining about 3 revs ago.

Category: CRM | 1 Comment »

January 30th

SugarCRM Unveils Analytics and Multi-Channel Marketing

Christopher Kenton

[tag]SugarCRM[/tag] just keeps bringing on more reasons for companies to consider OpenSource CRM. Although Yankee Group estimates Sugar’s market share at only 1%, eclipsed by up-market proprietary software providers like [tag]SalesForce.com[/tag] and [tag]SAP[/tag], SugarCRM continues adding to an array of enterprise class features priced cheaper than the competition–potentially vastly cheaper if you have a savvy engineering team.

SugarCRM bills itself as a “commercial open source” provider, which means they have built a platform and development community around an open source product that anyone can download, use and hopefully enhance, all for free. They also provide commercial products with Professional and Enterprise editions, including on-demand versions. They’ve built a reputation for highly customizable and powerful software, backed not only by the company, but by a large community of thousands of passionate developers. They say their typical clients are small businesses who don’t want to pay the high cost of other CRM solutions, and large enterprise businesses with significant customization requirements. They haven’t been much of a threat to Salesforce, Siebel or even Microsoft, with whom they now partner, but their success in building strong products and buzz may change that.

The latest additions to Sugar 4.5 include Multi-Channel Marketing and Business Analytics modules. The Multi-Channel Marketing module offers campaing creation and tracking across channels, a web form for capturing leads, and ROI reporting. The Business Analytics Module, which is only available in the commercial additions Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise, provides advanced data filtering and customizable reports. It’s unclear if or when this module will filter down to the Open Source product. 

You can play around with the on-demand SugarCRM product directly online at demo.sugarondemand.com .

Category: CRM | No Comments »