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Onyx, Pivotal make CRM fast and furious

Call it CRM without the wait. Onyx and Pivotal are launching fixed-cost programs designed to get customers up and running in a hurry.

New programs from two midmarket vendors are encouraging companies to put the pedal to the CRM medal.

Onyx Software Corp., Bellevue, Wash., today launched CRMExpress, a fixed-price installation package designed to get shops live in 90 days or less. The $199,000 cost covers all implementation fees and 50 seats of Onyx Employee Portal, sales, service and the support applications used by internal staff. It does not include partner relationship management or customer-facing software.

CRMExpress also gives companies a "flexible spending bucket," 20 days of Onyx consulting services that they can spend on integration, data conversion or customization needs.

Patrick Angelel, Onyx director of corporate marketing, said the package is aimed at midmarket businesses deploying CRM within smaller units and considering more limited software, like MS CRM or SalesLogix.

"This is for companies who don't want to just put on a Band-Aid or deploy Outlook on steroids," he said. "We can start smaller, have success and expand on it."

Companies have the option of choosing CRMExpress through the traditional licensed model or hosted through Onyx's partnership with IBM.

Later this quarter, Vancouver, British Columbia-based Pivotal Corp. will formally launch Pivotal FastPath, a quick-start program that promises to get businesses up and running on at least one module of Pivotal 5 for sales, marketing and customer service in as little as 20 days.

Pivotal relies on the fast work of developers in Bangalore, India, and its software's underlying metadata architecture to quickly modify code once FastPath customers are put in a pilot environment.

FastPath shops can make some minor customizations, but CEO Bo Manning cautions them against "trying to hit the 500-foot home run the first time at bat."

He said that about 20 Pivotal customers have already opted for some sort of ramped up implementation, which can be done on site or through a hosted model. Pivotal FastPath costs $70,000 for professional services, plus licensing fees or monthly hosting charges.

Karen Smith, research director at Boston-based Aberdeen Group, cautions shops considering quick-start CRM to remember that speed is not a substitute for planning. She said these initiatives can be a good way to get up and running fast but said comapnies must "make sure their investment can be leveraged over time."

Smith said these new programs are proof that Onyx and Pivotal are tyring to create new revenue opportunities in a tough economy.

The express-implementation wave swept through the enterprise CRM market several years ago, with programs like Oracle Corp.'s "Global CRM in 90 Days" campaign.


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