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.



With its 2006 acquisition of SSA Global, Infor Global Solutions brought CRM solution Epiphany into its suite of products. Designed for companies from around 500 users and up, and available as a hosted solution, SaaS or an on-premise deployment, Epiphany brings CRM functionality to a business' sales, marketing and service departments. Epiphany is available as a generic product or as a vertical solution to suit the needs of a specific industry, like banking, manufacturing and retail.

Epiphany has a particularly strong focus in inbound and outbound marketing. Epiphany Interaction Advisor is designed to take advantage of the fact that every customer interaction is a sales opportunity. Whether it's direct contact like a service call or product query, or indirect like e-billing or online self service, each interaction is an active touch point between company and customer, and the ability to capitalise on these moments in time can make a critical difference to profit margins.

Interaction Advisor (inbound marketing) analyses each interaction as it happens. Employees are presented with a range of campaign offerings to suggest to customers, based on a real-time assessment of the customer's geographic and demographic data. Each campaign is assigned an acceptance probability and an expected benefit to the company, and these values are constantly adjusted as Epiphany records acceptances or rejections.

This data also plugs in to the marketing feature set of Epiphany, specifically the cross-sell, up-sell and customer retention aspects of channel marketing. Marketing executives can mine back-end data to identify appropriate targets across a range of market segments, create new campaigns on the fly and deliver the campaign message at all the appropriate points of interaction — phone, email, online, ATM etc. Again, acceptance and rejection data are gathered in real time so that executives can accurately track campaign effectiveness. Call centre staff and account managers also have access to this information so that customers are constantly matched up to the most appropriate offers and products.

We particularly liked the highly-integrated nature of Epiphany's intelligent use of customer data. We're all used to seeing banner ads when logging into online banking, but the particular banner ad that you see is aimed especially at people of your demographic, and the next time you speak to someone from the company, they will know whether you clicked on the ad or not because the back-end system will take note of it, which is very impressive. It effectively makes every customer-facing employee an active participant in the sales force. Large enterprises looking to push sales while offering customers a relevant range of targeted products should seriously consider Infor.

Overall: 3.5/5
Product: Infor CRM Epiphany
Price: Available on request
Vendor: Infor
Phone: 1800 260 2640
Interoperability: 3.5/5 — Cross-platform back-end support
Future-proofing: 4/5 — major player in the CRM space behind Oracle and SAP
ROI: 4/5 — outstanding sales force automation
Service: 3/5 — Infor Global Support and online customer portal

Topics: SAP, Enterprise Software, Oracle, Software

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  • let me summarise this article

    7 pages of ad impressions for a conclusion of "well, it depends..."
  • 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!)
  • 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!


    Renai LeMay
    News Editor
  • 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, Oracle, etc. How about stacking up some Australian systems to see how they go? And systems that are really for SME's!
  • and you're surprised??

    What were you expecting. See every review on zdnet
  • 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?


    Renai LeMay
    News Editor
  • Salesforce

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

    Obviously I meant exposure, not exposer. That'll teach me ;-)
  • 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.
  • 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?)
  • Email

    hi Mike,

    just drop me a line at

    Kind regards,

  • See How Good ACT! CRM is....

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

    Enjoy! and Good luck...
  • 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
  • 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 ( 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.
  • 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 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!