CRM solution for SMEs

A software vendor who believes that CRM is not just about "creating profitable customers by knowing what a customer wants and needs" but also by knowing what a customer is like, aims its sight squarely on the SME market.
Written by Thomas Chen, Contributor

Company directors thinking of implementing an IT system for their establishment should make sure the initiative is business driven rather than IT driven. Said Martin Nygate, managing director of FirstwaveTechnologies.

Speaking about the launch of a sales-leads management product, u.Dialog, to be included in its CRM suite eRM, the lanky managing director emphasized the importance of viewing IT solutions as "business solutions meant to fulfill a business need."

With eRM, Firstwave positions itself uniquely in the market as the only company that offers complete web-centric CRM solutions.

Also rather uniquely is its pricing structure, which aimed at attracting mainly SMEs whose IT budget is relatively small.

CRM or Customer Relationship Management solutions are basically e-business applications aimed at helping businesses to manage their relationships with customers.

Its functionality includes, for instance, an integration of various components of a company's information structure to give a synchronized view of the same customer.

The CRM view of a customer is also supposed to yield important information about the customer, such as, payment habits, buying patterns and so forth.

Automated processes through CRM will also help companies capitalize on opportunities that they might have otherwise missed.

In Nygate's own words, CRM is about "creating profitable customers by knowing what a customer wants, needs and is like."

Industry players have long touted the move to web-based solutions as the next wave of IT evolution. However, not all software vendors position themselves as providing purely web-centric products as Firstwave has. Firstwave is not an ASP, however, you still need to get the software boxes, the CDs, and the implementation process. What is different is that functionality from the solution can now be accessed over the Internet.

The architecture is certainly different, instead of having all three layers of data, business logic and presentation being sent from the server to connected stations, what is being transferred via the Internet is only the presentation layer plus the information needed for the session.

Firstwave's pricing, although touted as being geared toward SMEs, seems a little steep for smaller establishments. Depending on size, software plus implementation ranges from US $ 20 000 to 50 000. The upside is, it's a one-time implementation fee and does not require a company to continue paying the software vendor as you would with an ASP.

Founded in 1984, Firstwave Technologies is a US based company who had announced its Asian operations only this year. Since then its offering in the region included the launching of the world's first Malay language eCRM solution.

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