Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Manufacturing.net Profiles Industrial CRM Leader Commence

Industrial CRM Leader Commence Profiled in Manufacturing.net

In Manufacturing.net, manufacturing journalist Thomas R. Cutler notes, ?Some ERP vendors offer industry specific CRM solutions; many do not. Bolt-on generic CRM solutions are frequently sold as the panacea; few are.?

 Larry Caretsky, President of New Jersey-based Commence, (www.commence.com/mfg), developers of a stand alone industrial CRM solution, suggested that most ERP companies offering CRM have shortfalls.   ?Managing the sales cycle and sales representative performance, marketing campaign management and integration with customer support are not provided by ERP tools,? he said.   CRM is not the strength for most ERP systems, which often utilize an add-on module but are rarely a full CRM package. In many cases, industrial customers who require full CRM capabilities are relegated to third party products or services.

Stand alone industrial CRM solutions provide effective lean CRM processes as long as the vendor truly understands the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the manufacturing sector; most do not. Generic databases do not address central issues facing all industrial operations.  According to Caretsky, ?Smart industrial organizations gather several key data points during customer research, which helps to define a CRM profile.?

According to Cutler, ?Expertise in industrial CRM is more significant than whether fully integrated in an ERP system or stand alone industrial CRM; vendor experience in industrial sales and marketing trumps the selection of technology.?  The complete feature article may be read at http://manufacturing.net/article/CA6363848.html.

Commence offers industrial companies complete ?Freedom of Choice? to select the solutions and platform that best meets the business requirements of manufacturers and distributors. The comprehensive CRM Industrial application suite is available for use on premise or on-demand as a hosted service.  Industrial leaders often build departmental CRM solutions with the award winning Commence Industrial CRM Framework. These choices are why so many industrial companies choose Commence as the solution for managing customer relationships.  All Commence Industrial solutions support mobile or wireless connectivity and integration to back-office accounting and ERP systems.

Commence Corporation


Larry Caretsky



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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) CRM Is Here To Stay?

There is no denying the increasing business trend to harness the power of the Internet to not only get their message out, but to manage their customer responses. For millions of companies the Internet provides a medium to service their customer interests, and facilitate greater communication.

However, managing, tracking and reporting on this information was, until recently, accomplished by either enormously expensive custom solutions such as Siebel, SAP or Oracle, or by using out of the box software that offered limited capabilities, required heavy customization, integration and constant maintenance.

This left many small to medium sized business in the dark, working off of spreadsheets and paper trails combined with the power of e-mail to manage their business processes. This expansive market needed a solution that could work from multiple locations, share information in real time, integrate with current systems and websites, yet still remain cost effective in today?s demanding business market.

The solution, Software as a Service (SaaS), a platform from which a business can manage its customers and relationships in a centralized online location, share information in a real time environment, and access it from anywhere in the world. The SaaS model caters to the small to medium sized business looking for maintenance free solution that is easy to use, customizable, continually upgraded, backed by a service level guarantee, and most importantly affordable.

In hindsight, the out of box, in house supported network systems of years past appear to be rendered powerless against the strength of a single hosted solution shared be everyone within the organization over the Internet. The Software as a Service model has propelled on demand Customer Relationship Management software to the forefront of software innovation. Given the power and flexibility that SaaS offers, from customization to integration, the increasing rate of migration to the on demand platform is no surprise.

Colin Duffy enjoys writing about CRM subjects and on demand CRM software vendors such as Salesboom (http://www.salesboom.com )

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How To Select The Right CRM For Your Business?

Learning the ins and outs of any software package is never an easy task, trying to find the time to learn it all within the limits of a free trial, and then apply it to your specific business needs can prove to be a complete turn off!

For the uneducated CRM mind, choosing the right on demand Customer Relationship Management platform, ?on demand? meaning a fully hosted solution that you access over the Internet; can be a logistical nightmare.

From simple acronyms such as CRM, SFA (Sales Force Automation) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) to the more complex terms such as Application Programming Interface and Workflow Automation, there is an overwhelming amount of information you need to know before you really begin to look at a product.

This article aims to address these issues and encourage you to take a more conceptual approach to learning and understanding CRM. Consider this; every site you visit will more often than not appear to be the answer to your prayers. However, knowing what to look for can quickly rule out the pretenders from the contenders.

? First off, ask yourself ?can I customize the product??, ?or can they customize the product for me?? Any company pushing a product that cannot be tailored to suit your needs is not worth your time. No matter what they say or preach, their solution cannot meet the needs of every individual company?s business needs.

? Secondly, look for a company and product that has multiple editions/platforms, such a company has worked with different industries already and tailored their product to meet specific industry needs, and is obviously willing to work with their customers.

? Third, look for a road map, investing in a company that offers no information on the direction of their product, and future version/feature releases does not show a willingness to meet your future business needs. You want a product that will grow along with you, not one that will hamstring you as you grow.

? Finally, look for a product that is applicable across your company, if you are paying full value for a CRM solution; make sure you can use the application across your enterprise. Having a fully hosted operating system backed by and Service Level Agreement will ensure that your entire organization is on the same page.

In conclusion acquiring the right CRM package is no easy task, however, researching the market based on the above criteria will ensure you acquire a CRM solution that will meet your specific needs today, and continue to meet your needs as you grow.

Colin Duffy enjoys writing about CRM subjects and on demand CRM software vendors such as Salesboom (http://www.salesboom.com )

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How To Calculate CRM Total Cost Of Ownership (TCO)

Although it may look and sound complicated, calculating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for on demand CRM is as simple as elementary subtraction. Or to go one step further, more money will be going into your business rather than the system that struggles to support it. The on demand model affords customers greater flexibility in accessibility and product, hassle free hosting of information, upgrades year round and greater security of information, just to name a few perks!

For those not using on demand CRM allow me to break down its cost effectiveness versus out of the box or custom built solutions:

For starters you can take your current IT costs and subtract all your hours and dollars spent on system maintenance, upgrades, integration and up keep.

Now further subtract the cost incurred for hosting your current network or CRM application. If it is in house then you can deduce server costs, power costs etc... If you host via third party you can go ahead and drop that cost all together.

So things are starting to look a little brighter!

For those who currently use an out of the box CRM system, you can go ahead and knock off the costs incurred for support, training, customization and yearly upgrades, and every other hidden fee you incur.

I am sure that by now some of you are probably feeling a little skeptical; and I don?t blame you, the potential to save this much money definitely warrants some initial second guessing. But don?t let me convince you, see for yourself and put your worries to rest once and for all.

No upfront costs ? with on demand CRM, the software is already built and it is entirely hosted online, all you have to do is subscribe and start using it.

No downloads ? the on demand CRM platform ensures you are never burdened by continual downloads cluttering up your computer and network while slowly eating up your memory.

No hosting fees ? the on demand platform is designed, built and maintained by an expert IT staff, hosted at an external secure location with manned security personnel. Enabling you the user to focus solely on your business and only your business.

Customizable platform ? the on demand SaaS platform is readily customizable by expert developers and product engineers. No longer will you have to fork over thousands of dollars to mash stand alone legacy systems into a tedious and often bug ridden enterprise solution.

Free upgrades ? with the flexibility of the on demand CRM model, top CRM vendors can offer continual and seamless updates and enhancements to their solution.

Security of Information ? a common misconception with the on demand platform is the issue of information security. While many find comfort in having their information hosted on site, they are in fact more vulnerable to intruders or hackers, or disgruntled employees then they would be by using the ASP/on demand platform. A good CRM vendor out sources the hosting of their servers to ISP providers, thus guaranteeing greater security and up time for their customers.

There is no denying the aforementioned facts, on demand CRM offers you greater bang for your buck when compared to the conventional out of the box offerings. On demand CRM removes the headaches of IT maintenance along with its hefty costs, it optimizes your employee work rate and in turn, allows you to bring in more money while spending less. Not to mention your company info could not be more secure!

Colin Duffy enjoys writing about CRM subjects and on demand CRM and ERP software vendors such as Salesboom ( http://www.salesboom.com )

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