The best CRM suite is...

The best CRM suite is...

Summary: What's the best customer relationship management suite? We put six of the top vendors to the test to find out in our no holds barred face-off.

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It doesn't really matter how good your products or your prices are — if you can't look after those with whom you do business with, you'll quickly find that the phones stop ringing.

Customer relationship management (CRM) products have evolved through ever-increasing layers of complexity until these days they can basically head out and find new customers for you. That complexity can come at a price — how do your users make productive use of a product which can do almost everything for them? How can they make sense of mountains of data and, most importantly, how can they translate all this information into effective practices and workflows that will allow your company to grow?

Paradoxically, while CRM products have become more powerful, they've also become far more portable. Gone are the days when an enterprise-class business solution involved massive infrastructural investment. Datacentres and the expanding global bandwidth penetration means that companies can have entire solutions hosted offsite, giving them greater flexibility about when and where to deploy and, more importantly, how quickly. The drive to be first to market is incessant, and with hosted services or software as a service will allow companies to deploy rapidly and effectively.

In this round-up of CRM vendors, we were particularly interested in feature sets and the maturity and accessibility of their hosted solutions. As customer relationship management can sometimes be a vague catch-all phrase, we also wanted to get a sense of the vision these companies bring to their customers and to see what innovations they bring to market to stand out from the crowd.

Topics: SAP, Enterprise Software, Oracle, Software

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16 comments
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  • let me summarise this article

    7 pages of ad impressions for a conclusion of "well, it depends..."
    anonymous
  • your summary

    To be fair it is a decent summary of the products, but gutlessly fails to answer the main headline.
    I am sure Salesforce are happy that they paid for the feature to be written (at least they weren't given 5/5!)
    anonymous
  • Salesforce

    Well Salesforce didn't know whether they were going to be in the feature or not, and neither the writer or editor (me) knew who was advertising on it ;-)

    But will take the "gutless" comment on board for next time!

    Cheers,

    Renai LeMay
    News Editor
    ZDNet.com.au
    anonymous
  • Why no Australian products?

    As a precursor - I have a vested interest in this market. However, why do articles on CRM systems automatically all line up the same foreign based options? There must be hundreds already out there comparing salesforce.com, Oracle, etc. How about stacking up some Australian systems to see how they go? And systems that are really for SME's!
    anonymous
  • and you're surprised??

    What were you expecting. See every review on zdnet
    anonymous
  • Australian products

    hey Darren,

    we were targeting the biggest players for this roundup, with one open source alternative. However we are indeed keen to review Aussie stuff :) Which vendors are you suggesting?

    Cheers,

    Renai LeMay
    News Editor
    ZDNet.com.au
    anonymous
  • Salesforce

    Why not display the listing of CRM vendors in Alphabetical order? This would remove any question that the fact SF.com advertising has influenced the article. Aside from this, the article was a decent high-level view of the main players in this space.
    anonymous
  • interesting

    Overall I found the article interesting as I am currently looking at developing a CRM utilising PHP/MySQL as the platform (obviously it will be web based). Like others have said, it's an interesting look at the big players - I especially liked the information on the Infor system and Siebel, a platform I am familiar with - However, I think Darren Jones is on to something when he talks about an aussie roundup, both closed and open source. I'm sure there are many Australian companies who deserve and would appreciate the exposer.

    Interesting article overall.
    anonymous
  • ugh

    Obviously I meant exposure, not exposer. That'll teach me ;-)
    anonymous
  • Hopeless review

    This is review is useless. What a joke. You have compared the non-commercial SugarCRM Community version against the Commercial vendors. Why not try out the full Commercial SugarCRM. You will find that many of the "features" are not missing.
    anonymous
  • I'd like you to look at our Aussie CRM

    Hi Renai,

    We launched our CRM at CEBIT 2009. Would you like to take a look at it? How should I contact you (or can you get access to my email address?)
    anonymous
  • Email

    hi Mike,

    just drop me a line at renai.lemay@zdnet.com.au.

    Kind regards,

    Renai
    anonymous
  • See How Good ACT! CRM is....

    Hey, sorry i forgot to add the link from my below post.

    http://www.actbysageaus.blogspot.com/

    Enjoy! and Good luck...
    anonymous
  • Intelestream CRM Solution

    Good article. Finding the right CRM is tough and depends on your business and use case. We published a white paper that compares the online version of SugarCRM with Salesforce.
    You can read it by visiting the Intelestream University at www.intelestream.net
    anonymous
  • I agree that some Australian CRM's should be included for evaluation. I would like to throw my hat in the ring and recommend the CRM from LeadMaster. We have found a lot of clients switching over from Sugar and SalesForce to The LeadMaster CRM (http://leadmaster.com.au). If you got the chance to evaluate this product I believe you would agree it offers fantastic value, service and quality to SMB's in the Asia Pacific Region.
    Glennu
  • Hi,

    Well, since this is ZDNet Australia, it's worthwhile mentioning that one of the people who run Apollo is Australian, living in Perth (myself).

    Apollo http://www.apollohq.com is not quite a CRM. It does project and contact management though and can be a good solution in some cases. It supports cases&deals. Its contact section is more comparable to 37signals' Highrise than a full-blown CRM.

    It's also a fully online solution that looks incredibly native.

    Maybe give it a go!

    Merc.
    applicomhq