Six CRM packages tested

Six CRM packages tested

Summary: Managing relationships: We test 6 CRM packages.

SHARE:

ALERT: You're reading the ancient 2004 version of this article! There's a new one, published in July 2009.
Click this link to find out what the best CRM suite currently is.

 CRM packages


 CRM software reviews:

  ACT! v6
  Co-ordimax
  GoldMine 6.0 
  Legrand CRM PRO CS 
  Maximizer Enterprise 7.5
  salesforce.com W4 
 
 How we tested
 Specifications
 Editor's choice 
 Sample scenario
 Final words
 About RMIT


CRM packages are everywhere these days. Which one is right for your organisation?

CRM solutions have either been the driving force or a disaster for many businesses over the years. The earliest implementations were little more than a database of supplier and customer addresses and contact information with limited notation/tracking functionality. The latest applications seem to have all the bells and whistles (and then some) to make access of information easier than ever for employees within an organisation.

There are many various flavours of what can be termed Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications mdash; from entry-level contact management solutions, to salesforce automation, all the way up to full-blown packages that interface with inventory systems and back-end accounting packages to give the users full "at-a-glance" histories of their entire transaction with suppliers, customers, staff, and production/assembly plants.

Interestingly, vendors have submitted a variety of applications that pretty much cover all the above categories for this CRM roundup. Four of them fall into the off-the-shelf product category: Maximizer, Legrand CRM, GoldMine, and ACT. Two other applications that submitted were a bit higher end: Co-ordimax (a large-scale application that runs on a Domino server with a custom Lotus Notes client front end) and salesforce.com, an online CRM application aimed at salesforce automation.

How we tested
Because many of these applications are so feature rich we looked at the most commonly used tasks such as import, export, data management (ie, how to create a record, manipulate records, and how the application handles duplicate record identification etc), and integration with document and communications systems such as e-mail, phone, fax, and external calandar/scheduling systems such as Outlook. If during our evaluation any handy or interesting features came to light we noted these down too.

We set up four identical systems, Compaq Deskpros, and installed Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional on each before installing and configuring each vendors application. We used several exported Outlook databases as the foundation data.

Interoperability
What office applications, accounting packages, and databases is the application compatible with?

Futureproofing
How long will it take before your employees exhaust its capabilities and start asking for more?

ROI
Comparing features, price and the value each package can provide to the business.

Service
What support is provided as standard and how much will ongoing support end up costing you?


Topics: CXO, Enterprise Software, Government AU

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

42 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • It seems like now ACT! 6.0 also includes the PocketPC sync tool in the package (which is available for $229,- with a $20 discount for the download version at their website in the US store).
    "With ACT! Link for Pocket PC and ACT! for Palm OS now included, you can access your data in the office or on the go."
    =>
    anonymous
  • I wouldn't rate Coordimax Service as 4 stars. Our experience with them as been disgraceful. Although we are only a small organisation and are probably not worth enough for them to provide excellent service to us.

    The product has the potential to be excellent if we could get the bugs sorted out - but unfortunately we are not a high priority for them.
    anonymous
  • Easy to bag someone out without disclosing your identity huh? For a software vendor we have found them to be much better than average.
    anonymous
  • I would like to see a review on Office Talk V4 since if you actually get a hold of someone to help with install purch or general questions is a task in itself
    anonymous
  • Why was Microsoft CRM not included in the analysis?
    anonymous
  • I don't support the comments about the export/import capabilities of LeGrand - very poor in fact!
    anonymous
  • I found another CRM software package. At www.vividsoftware.net
    anonymous
  • Quicken produce a customer management package that works alongside QuickBooks accounting software. It would be worth looking at that if SMEs use QuickBooks
    anonymous
  • I have used both Legrand and Act V6. You would have to be crazy to go anywhere near LeGrand! The database is quite inflexible in terms of user defined fields and field attributes - overall very difficult to navigate quickly. I found Act far more flexible, interoperable and able to be customised with ease (even by a relative ludite like me)
    anonymous
  • Maximizer CRM Enterprise 8

    have a look at Maximizer Enterprise 8, it will meet all your CRM needs- your company will definately benefit in the long run-so many companies world wide can not be wrong-they must know something to implement such a powerful tool.
    anonymous
  • Would love it if you reviewed our software

    Our latest site revision is now complete. Our new GBM software site is now rich with documentation, descriptions and screen shots. Everyone is welcome to visit. I am confident you will be impressed by the product we have created. Please let me know if you would desire to review our software
    http://darwinproductions.net
    http://theevolutionofbusiness.com
    anonymous
  • Do you have a vested interest in this product?

    Have you attempted to download and trial it?
    Conbrio-c220c
  • SugarCRM, 2nd Generation CRM

    Since this article was written, SugarCRM Inc. in the US has release a commercial open source web-based CRM system providing comparable features to Salesforce.com, with far more flexibility to run either On-Demand or On-Premise at a fraction of the price. To have a look, check out the live demo at http://www.insightful.com.au and click on the Demo link.
    anonymous
  • Maximizer problems

    something that gets overlooked when Maximizer is reviewed is the (lack of)associations with their user defined fields. These reviews never go to that extent, and this only becomes apparent after you have been a user for a while.

    For instance, you might have a user defined field (UDF) called Type Of Printer, and another called Printer Serial Number. It is not possible to associate the two, which creates obvious problems later. I think this is a programming issue as the product is now very old.
    anonymous
  • Legrand CRM's database design

    Yes, Legrand CRM does not allow database changes however it allows almost all GUI labels to be changed, including Module names (ie Opportunities can be changed to say Sales Funnel).
    It is this fixed database structure that makes Legrand CRM extremely easy to deploy, easy to train and easy to support. From our experience, perfect for the company that is seeking productivity and reliability from the database. But, keep in mind, we are a reseller!
    anonymous
  • Legrand is Good!

    I have been in the industry (software) for many years (since 1984), and have used/tested over 40 CRM systems (from the ones that cost you $m's to the smaller ones). In my current business, I again did the review of all the major systems out there - and Legrand came out on top!

    Utlimately, you need to test each package to see if it works for you. But for bang for your buck, Legrand is very good. It has a ton of features, which are actually very useful (some only available in much more expensive packages. If you just need a contact manager, go with Act. But if you need a decent CRM, check out Legrand. I would like to see more in built reports in Legrand, but since you slice/dice your own reports via ODBC that's fine.

    It's just typical of Zdnet to post a bad comment on their home page - Shame on you Zdnet. Typical.
    anonymous
  • SFM Customer Manager is a better and more cost effective choice...

    SFM Customer Manager is a better and more cost effective choice...

    A CRM Solution with no analytics is like muscles with no brain.
    anonymous
  • Great product - thanks.

    Great product - thanks.
    anonymous
  • MS CRM 3

    Agreed, how can you do a serious review and not include the MS offering?
    anonymous
  • CRM's Legrand vs ACT

    Matt, for basic 2 person business (but growing of course) needing contact managment and some link to accounting package would you still feel the same?

    Ease of use and customisation being the deciders.
    anonymous