Hosted CRM Software Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The below FAQs include answers to questions we've received from website visitors.
Answer: RightNow has an industry solution for consumer electronics. Generally CPG SFA systems have extensive integration requirements with back-office distribution or ERP systems. If this is your case, the only two on-demand CRM systems with integrated ERP are NetSuite and Aplicor.
Answer: Sure. SFA stands for Sales Force Automation and refers to a primary but singular component of CRM. SFA is typically used by sales people and sales managers and accommodates functions such as account management, contact management, activity management and opportunity management. Sometimes SFA systems also include ancillary capabilities such as Competitive Intelligence (CI), sales order processing and Partner Relationship Management (PRM). CRM is of course Customer Relationship Management and from a software perspective includes SFA, marketing automation and customer service applications. All three components should be fully integrated and share a common customer record so that irrespective of user function, everybody has the information necessary to speak with an informed voice, a consistent voice and in a manner that satisfies the customer's desires.
Answer: No, but the terms are closely related and often used interchangeably. Just as SFA is a component of CRM, accounting software is a component of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software systems. By most definitions, ERP includes five types of integrated business software systems, which are accounting software (sometimes called financial software), distribution software (sometimes called supply chain management software), human resources software (which includes payroll software), manufacturing software and CRM software.
Answer: Siebel Systems was by far the number 1 CRM market share leader for about a decade. However, when the technology changed, Siebel didn't and the company fell upon hard times. In September 2005, Oracle acquired Siebel for a song and a dance. Oracle continues to support Siebel software and customers, however, with the on-demand Release 15 in April 2008, Oracle finally removed the Siebel name from its on-demand offering (from Siebel OnDemand to Oracle OnDemand), leaving the once great name only to the Siebel 8.x on-premise product.
Answer: RightNow has a vertical market edition of its flagship product to the telecom industry. Also check out Salesforce.com
Answer: Not really. Force.com is more of a software developer's environment. While Salesforce.com positions as relatively non-technical, it is quite technical and not well received by end-users. However, ISVs (independent software vendors) may find this technology environment useful for migrating legacy systems to the multi-tenant on-demand model (as long as their comfortable with salesforce.com's proprietary development environment and being tied to salesforce.com for a long haul).
Answer: Sure. First look at the history. Of all the on-demand vendors, I'm only aware of one security breach in the last five years (which was a phishing attack against Salesforce.com in October 2007). Second, you can always request independent security audit certifications. The popular and most relevant three certifications are the SAS 70 (although this audit credibility is questioned by many), the ISO (International Standards Organisation) 27001 and the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Certification and Accreditation (C&A). You may also want to gain assurance of other less profiled compliance audits and penetration testing reviews. Lastly, consider an on-site visit at the company's office and data center(s).
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According to CIO Insight magazine, businesses are migrating to software as a service CRM systems for faster software implementations with reduced up front investment and lower recurring IT staffing resource expenses.
With on-demand CRM applications, costs per user decline, IT staff aren't needed to maintain application servers, feature sets improve regularly and there is no need to push out upgrades and patches to individual desktops.
When IT resources are scarce, SaaS can be an opportunity enabler. Growth strategies are often influenced by business or market opportunities which are fickle and short lived. Capitalizing on shifts in market demands can make or break a quarter, year or company. On premise business software systems can take six months to multiple years to implement while SaaS systems can be running in days or weeks and fully implemented within weeks or a few months. For short lived opportunities, SaaS projects can enable a company to take advantage with minimal time to market and investment.
SaaS also offers reduced risk, more selective deployment and generally carries less of a penalty when compared to licensed or traditional client/server and on premise CRM software installations. According to Jeff Kaplan, CEO of THINKstrategies, "The last wave of IT evolution was to hand as much of the mess as possible over to a third party. Now, CIOs are selectively finding specific tasks that can be addressed by software as a service."
Excellent SaaS Reference Sources
- SaaS Business Solutions Source
- SaaS Defined by Government CRM
- SaaS Value Proposition
more helpful links