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.
The Questions/ClarificationsProbably the most important question raised was the very first one raised by frgough in his/her talkback which went like this:
Why is it smart for Apple to go after the enterprise market?
- MS is the 800 pound gorilla there and has a chokehold on the industry.
Enterprise is ruled by inertia and margins. Enterprise makes no business
sense for Apple right now; they are seeing great success in the consumer
What we are seeing here is a paradigm at work: A computer company's success is measured by it's business adoption.
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?
The ApplicationsI did take the suggestions of those who actually were helpful and not just drooling on their keyboards, which unfortunately, you'll see was the case with several of the readers who left comments/talkbacks. However, there were four more applications since the first update that I was asked to look at and I did, though only one was native Mac OS X.
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.