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Busy week for SMB CRM

The end of the year has proven to be anything but slow as a host of vendors released a new offering aimed at the small and medium-sized business market.

It's been a busy week for the hosted and small and medium-sized business CRM vendors. Four product releases and one acquisition made news before the end of 2004.

Entellium opens code

Hoping to provide the customization its customers need, Seattle-based Entellium is opening its code to a broader development community.

"We're effectively making Entellium an open source platform," said Entellium's CEO Paul Johnston. "We want to harness the power of an open source development approach, so we can bring to market deeper and more complete industry-specific products."

In the first part of a three-phased approach, the company is this week formally expanding a suite of Application Program Interfaces. The second phase will focus on building a developer community and the third will be to commercialize the work and the open source tools. This means the project isn't exactly open source.

"It's in that vein, but it's still very much a commercial effort," said Martin Schneider, an enterprise software analyst with the 451 Group in New York. "What Entellium's doing is a hybrid so to speak. They're blurring the lines between development and the channel. My question is how do they police the development community. It's going to be interesting to see how permissive they are."

Entellium has already created integrations with technology from VeriSign, Intuit's QuickBooks, Oracle Financials and Microsoft Office.

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FrontRange goes modular

Pleasanton, Calif.'s FrontRange Solutions is offering seven modular versions of its service management solution built on the .NET platform.

The Service Management release includes incident management, problem management, change management, release management, availability management, configuration management, and service level management, as well as Self Service Management and Knowledge Management modules. The first seven modules were all developed from FrontRange's help desk product line, HEAT. The company can now sell modules into existing HEAT or GoldMine shops.

"We don't think the CRM market will remain as it is," said Kevin Smith, vice president of products. "We think it's converging with service and support."

NetSuite forecasts new SFA features

San Mateo, Calif.-based NetSuite Inc. this week released Advanced Forecasting.

This new functionality allows sales reps to create a calculated forecast from opportunities and quotes. Sales reps can now determine what they "believe" will sell without tying the forecast to specific opportunities and actual sales within a forecast to give a clearer picture of what is yet to close. Additionally, recurring revenue is included in totals.

The projections are presented in a dashboard called the Sales Management Portlet. New features also include an indicator that shows the opportunities won and lost in key performances, a pipeline forecast by status report, and a forecast outstanding portlet, which provides a glimpse of the top deals in progress that have yet to close.

Intellibank banks on 2.0

New York-based Intellibank this week unveiled version 2.0 of its collaborative relationship management system.

Sold at a price of $60 per user per month, the hosted application offers to unite all business relationships into a single repository where users can share and collaborate on tasks, plans events and documents. The release features contact management, team calendars, document management and reporting features.

Selectica buys I-many

Selectica Inc., of San Jose, Calif., recently purchased Edison, N.J.-based I-Many Inc., bringing together a sales opportunity-to-order software company with a maker of contract-based, business-to-business applications.

The purchase is valued at roughly $70 million and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2005. The combined company will focus on automating processes for both sell-side and buy-side transactions.

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