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ISM names the cream of the CRM crop

The independent research firm has released its much-anticipated annual report of the industry's most noteworthy CRM providers.

In 16 years of evaluating CRM technology, Barton Goldenberg, founder and president of Bethesda, Md.-based ISM Inc., has seen his share of vendors.

Trends have emerged and faded away, buzzwords have undergone metamorphoses and through it all, Goldenberg has been keeping track. Yesterday, ISM released its annual CRM software awards and for the third consecutive year, they include a separate category for small and medium-sized businesses in addition to the traditional enterprise list.

ISM ranks each software package according to 217 selection criteria, including 110 business functions, 49 technical features, 36 implementation capabilities, five real-time criteria and 17 user-support features. The 15 winners in each category (one additional company met the requirements in SMB for a total of 16) were similar to last year, with some exceptions. SSA Global, which acquired Epiphany,  is a new winner in the enterprise category, and the SMB list includes RightNow Technologies but not iET Solutions, which made last year's cut.

The market trends identified by ISM in this year's report might also seem familiar to those who read the firm's observations last year. The SMB market, which by some estimates includes some 25 million companies, remains a major focal point in the overall CRM market, according to Goldenberg. Industry-specific applications will catch on in 2006, Goldenberg predicted.

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"The movement in the enterprise market that took place from [the] late '90s to [the] early 2000s -- where vendors started to specialize in vertical markets -- is happening again," he said.

The midmarket industries with vertically specific applications should emerge much the way they did in the enterprise market, Goldenberg said. For example, pharmaceuticals and medium-sized banks and insurance firms are some of the first to see SMB vertical applications.

The report also revealed an increased demand for mobile CRM. According to ISM, 80% of companies using CRM are using it in a mobile capacity, and Goldenberg's group expects that figure to reach 100% by 2007.

"The important point is, by 2015 45% of the world's population will be 24 or younger," Goldenberg said. "They live in a different world where they're always on[line], always connected to the Internet and to each other. It's a part of their life. The ultimate users of CRM are increasingly coming from this next generation. They are expecting to be always connected and any company they work for to be connected. This trend only gets more intense."

Additionally, ISM sees a business trend of CRM vendors doing more implementations themselves. It's a trend that has come full circle, Goldenberg explained. In the 1980s vendors insisted on doing implementations themselves, but that shifted in the late 1990s when companies like Siebel insisted that third parties bear the brunt of the implementation work.

"In the late '90s into 2000 many implementations were not optimal," Goldenberg said. "The vendors got the bad name and said, 'we're going to start to look bad.'"

Now, of the top 15 SMB vendors, 88% said they were doing more of their own implementations than last year, and 80% of the top enterprise vendors said the same.

On the technology side, CRM is moving away from client/server, Web-enabled and 3-tier architectures toward full N-tiered architected Web-based applications, according to the report.

And the winners are (in alphabetical order):

In the enterprise category

  • Amdocs CRM v. 6 -- Amdocs Limited
  • Pivotal CRM Suite v. 5.7 -- CDC Software
  • C2 CRM v. 7.08.08 -- Clear Technologies Inc.
  • Firstwave CRM 2005 -- Firstwave Technologies Inc.
  • CMS 9.0/ONCV 5.1.2 -- OnContact Software Corporation
  • Onyx Customer Management -- Onyx Software Corporation
  • ExSellence 4.9 -- Optima Technologies Inc.
  • PeopleSoft CRM -- Oracle/PeopleSoft Inc.
  • mySAP CRM 4.0 -- SAP AG
  • Saratoga CRM 6.5 -- Saratoga Systems Inc.
  • Siebel 7.8 -- Siebel Systems Inc.
  • growBusiness Solutions v. 3.0 -- Software Innovation ASA
  • SSA CRM -- SSA Global
  • Tibco Process RM v. 9.0 -- Tibco
  • marketing.manager 7.0 -- update software AG

    and in SMB

  • Ardexus MODE v. 5.0 -- Ardexus Inc.
  • Powertrak v. 7.1 -- Axonom Inc.
  • C2 CRM v. 7.08.08 -- Clear Technologies Inc.
  • Goldmine v. 7.0 & HEAT v. 8.37 -- FrontRange Solutions Inc.
  • Salesplace 2005.3.2 -- Interchange Solutions
  • Maximizer Enterprise 9.0 -- Maximizer Software Inc.
  • NetCRM v. 10.6 & NetSuite v. 10.6 -- NetSuite Inc.
  • CMS 9.0/ONCV 5.1.2 -- OnContact Software Corporation
  • Relavis v. 6.5.1 -- Relavis Corporation
  • RightNow CRM v. 7.5 -- RightNow Technologies Inc.
  • Sage CRM 100/200 v. 5.8 -- Sage Software
  • Sage CRM SalesLogix v. 6.2.3 -- Sage Software
  • Salesforce.com -- Salesforce.com
  • Salespage v. 4.7 -- Salespage Technologies LLC
  • Siebel CRM OnDemand v. 9.0 -- Siebel Systems Inc.
  • StayinFront CRM v. 9.3 -- StayinFront Inc.

 

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