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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Conclusion

For small businesses looking to implement CRM, the various on-demand hosting solutions offered by the big enterprise players have changed the picture completely.

Traditionally, a company with half a dozen employees would not have considered vendors like Oracle, but now Oracle is serving customers in that space. So for small business there are plenty of compelling options to choose from, and none of them need to be on-premise. Companies should look to their long-term anticipated needs and see which vendor offers the best functionality in their industry, but in terms of rapid deployment and ease of set-up, SugarCRM, Salesforce CRM and Dynamics CRM all offer strong solutions.

Medium-sized businesses looking to deploy CRM will possibly be limited by any existing on-premise business solutions. Integration and leveraging off uniform platforms offer power and flexibility, and thus it's harder to make a business case to introduce a new vendor into the mix. For Microsoft-dominated environments, Dynamics CRM should be the first consideration, but both Oracle and SAP also offer rapid on-demand deployment with the potential to future moves towards SaaS and on-premise, and both vendors' data integration tools are excellent.

For large national and global enterprises, it's hard to look past Oracle's CRM product suite. Of course, all major players in this space offer custom vertical solutions, data analytics and business intelligence, but Oracle's innovation in sales force empowerment through Social CRM is very compelling and marks the company as a stand-out in this space.

What customer relationship management suite do you prefer? One of the big guns or a smaller player and why? Post your comments below in the talkback or drop us a line.

Topics: SAP, Enterprise Software, Oracle, Software

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Talkback

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