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The envelope please -- ISM picks CRM software standouts

In a week when Hollywood honored its top movies, a consultancy has released its annual list of the best in CRM software.

As further evidence that small and midsized businesses are garnering more of the CRM market's attention, ISM added a second category to its annual list of the top 15 CRM software packages.

The Bethesda, Md.-based consultancy announced the winners Wednesday, doubling the number of vendors it usually recognizes.

Barton Goldenberg, ISM's co-founder and president, said that not all companies need the enterprise-level functionality offered by vendors like Siebel Systems Inc., PeopleSoft Inc. and SAP AG. He predicted market growth of 10% to 15% this year in CRM software sales and suggested that much of that will come in the small and midsized business (SMB) space.

ISM rated the software on 202 criteria -- 105 categories are based on business function, 47 on technical features, 33 on implementation capabilities and 17 on user-support features. Business functions counted more for the enterprise software suites' overall scores, while implementation and usability factored more heavily into the SMB rankings.

Several hundred vendors completed an ISM survey, and the consultancy tested more than 50 applications.

The winners in the enterprise category are Amdocs ClarifyCRM v. 12 from Amdocs Ltd.; E.piphany E.6 v. 6.5 from E.piphany Inc.; OnyxEnterprise CRM 4.0 from Onyx Software Corp.; Excellence 4.7 from Optima Technologies Inc.; PeopleSoft CRM 8.8 from PeopleSoft; Pivotal CRM Suite 5.0 from Pivotal Corp.; S1 CRM Solutions from S1 Corp.; SalesPage v. 4.5 from SalesPage Technologies Inc.; mySAP CRM 4.0 from SAP; Saratoga iAvenue v. 6.2 from Saratoga Systems; Siebel 7.5.3 from Siebel Systems; GrowBusiness Solutions v. 2.1 from Software Innovation; and Staffware Process RM v. 9.0 from Staffware.

C2 CRM v. 7.05 from Clear Technologies Inc. and Client Management Software 7.0 from OnContact Software Corp. were included for spanning the enterprise and SMB categories. GrowBusiness Solutions and Saratoga iAvenue were newcomers to the list. Oracle and Baan dropped out of the top 15, Goldenberg said. An Oracle spokesman said the company declined to participate in the ISM survey.

The winners in the SMB category were: ACCPAC CRM v. 5.6 from ACCPAC International; Ardexus MODE v. 4.1.1 from Ardexus Inc.; Powertrak v. 6.2 from Axonom Inc.; SalesLogix v. 6.1 from Best Software; Firstwave CRM from Firstwave Technologies Inc.; Goldmine v. 6.5 and HEAT v. 8.0 from FrontRange Solutions Inc.; iETSolutions Enterprise v. 9.4.1 from iETSolutions; Maximizer Enterprise for Notes 2003.7 from Interchange Solutions; Maximizer Enterprise 7.5 from Maximizer Software Inc.; NetCRM v. 9.1 & NetSuite v. 9.1 from NetSuite Inc.; from; Siebel CRM OnDemand from Siebel Systems Inc.; StayinFront Visual Elk v. 9.1 from StayinFront Inc.; and marketing.manager 6 from update Software AG.

Some new trends have also emerged in the market. Goldenberg said that vendors have made a big push toward product life cycle management and real-time analytics, as evidenced by SAP's Business Warehouse and E.piphany's Interaction Advisor. Additionally, vendors have spent the last year concentrating more on enabling the sharing of information between applications within an organization.

ISM reports a strong trend toward the hosted model. As evidence, it points to's upcoming IPO, the likely IPO of NetSuite and Siebel's CRM OnDemand offering.


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