Since I posted the original CRM on the Mac entry on Monday, the battle has been raging hot and heavy. Mac uberfanboys have done what I expected defending Apple's honor with comments questioning my writing skills to calling me an arrogant ignoramus to asking, more seriously, why Apple should deign to enter the enterprise space - it is doing so well in the consumer space - and then accusing me of fostering a "paradigm" when it comes to business applications. I also had a couple of people who were upset that I didn't tell them what CRM was but used the acronym which apparently they were unable to decipher.
First for the latter.
CRM = customer relationship management. If you were seriously trying to learn about it then you can check here for that.
I love spirited debate. Oi.
On the other hand, there is a real discussion going on and a number of solid questions have been raised when one gets past the insults. Some of this includes suggestions as where I might look for a couple of other applications that I might get interested in besides up my own.....you know.
So I'm going to address the questions and clarify a couple of things and look a little further at the applications that I was turned on to.
What we are seeing here is a paradigm at work: A computer company's success is measured by it's business adoption.
First, just to clarify. I'm NOT putting a paradigm to work - though I'm not sure how many paradigms are currently collecting unemployment either. There is NO QUESTION that the primary interest Apple has is the consumer marketplace. But they aren't uninterested in the business world since that is an area that they are gaining ground. While they might create a strategy to go after the enterprise market - meaning the large Fortune 1000 enterprises - those same enterprises have increased their interest in deploying Macs and Mac applications in their enterprises. In fact, as a December 2008 ITIC/Sunbelt Software survey found out, interest in Macs doubled (from 2008) in enterprises surveyed.
They also have an interest in the small and midsized businesses that are clamoring for some sort of operational software to help them simplify the running of their businesses. CRM the technology is one of the software categories that works to those SMBs' benefits.
What I'm suggesting is that given Apple's at least willingness to sell to the large enterprise even if they don't consciously focus on it, and, given the increased interest the enterprise has in Macs, it would be well worth Apple's time if they support a few partners who could actually invest in CRM applications that minimally can suit SMBs and departments within the large enterprises or, optimally, actually support a large enterprise - though the latter isn't something I'm expecting.
If they don't - godspeed to Apple, the consumer market and all the fans that love it so. I like the Mac, I like many of the applications for the Mac that enhance personal productivity - for both my business of one and for my consumer needs. I also like the PC for that - and use a quadcore PC to handle major chores. But Apple has a chance in a market that they've underpenetrated and yet that has an interest in them - and for them. Focus on the SMB but don't turn down enterprise opportunities.
Something wrong with that thinking?
Applications suggested were: PipelineDeals, Appshore, CRMHaven and FMTouch.com. The only native OS X application was CRMHaven which I was not terribly impressed with as a CRM application - though again, I'm sure it might be a fine contact manager. FMTouch was a Filemaker created iPhone application that did meet the criteria for sales force automation (SFA) and actually looked interesting but was not the subject of what I was covering. PipelineDeals and AppShore, looked like solid sales force automation (SFA) applications and were both SaaS solutions - not native Mac OS X applications. Nonetheless, AppShore especially seems to be worth looking into a bit further and I'm going to do that and will get back to you later on it.
That should do it unless the firestorm continues to rip through the ZDNET woods.
So keep bringin' it.