Not one to be left off the list of customer relationship management application service providers that are trending towards a single data access point to feed all of an organization's CRM needs, NetSuite is launching version 10.0 of its multi-tenant CRM system today. The update is geared towards acting as hub for data residing in disparate silos and then mining that data for hidden opportunities with existing customers. The idea of unearthing hidden opportunities is nearly identical to the story that Greg Gianforte, CEO of ASP-based CRM provider Rightnow, tells when explaining how data that's collected in the course of supporting customers can be mined for upsell opportunities.
In addition, the idea of centralizing the data by either integrating with external data in a way that produces a virtual hub or just migrating to a single more encompassing system is also taking hold amongst ASP-based CRM providers. Both Salesforce and Rightnow are broadening their feature sets in a way moves them closer to being one-stop shops and NetSuite's traditional one-stop strength has been in the merger of CRM and accounting functionality. Where the one-stop shop approach isn't feasible, developer oriented interfaces like Salesforce's sforce helps users connect deployments of Salesforce.com to other systems., According to NetSuite's CEO Zach Nelson, "CRM has enjoyed a resurgence, but the fundamental problem remains that most companies still have no way to address business functions that span across different departments and data locked into disparate IT systems. Companies still have islands of information, and some are trying to address this with Web services, but in many cases, this still doesn't solve the data issues that exist between applications." According to Mary Wardley, an analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, "When you have all the data in one database with a consistent model, it's a lot easier to draw conclusions regarding customers.">