What does a company do when its most significant contribution to the CRM landscape this year is a high-profile failure in a bid to acquire a competitor?
Just months after seeing its bid for Chordiant brusquely rejected, CDC Software has come up with a two-pronged answer to that question:
- Expand the customer base by tailoring a version of the CRM suite to the needs of small and midsize businesses (SMBs), and
- release a comprehensive social CRM tool.
With the unveiling of CDC Pivotal CRM for SMBs on June 15 and then CDC Pivotal Social CRM on June 21, CDC may have made its response clear as can be.
"Pivotal has been out of the market virtually for years," says Paul Greenberg, president of enterprise applications consulting services firm The 56 Group, and a CRM magazine columnist. "It has been four or five years since they've done anything significant."
CDC made news in January of this year for failing to buy Chordiant, a customer experience management vendor. CDC's bid of $105 million was $56.5 million dollars short of what Pegasystems ultimately paid for Chordiant in March. Since then, CDC has remained off of the CRM front pages.
The release of CDC Pivotal Social CRM, however, a move Greenberg calls "extremely significant," may shift the social CRM landscape. Greenberg says the product has capabilities unique to the field, such as the ability to generate CRM actions directly from social data, instead of the normal social CRM viewing capabilities. Companies using the product will be able to use sources ranging from Twitter and Facebook updates to personal blogposts in the effort to identify qualified leads, gather sales intelligence, develop effective sales and marketing campaigns, and improve customer service.
Another distinct aspect of CDC Pivotal Social CRM is that it allows users to post messages and communications to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook at once, while "tracking them in the CRM system in order to understand ROI from social media campaigns and communications," according to a company press release.
Greenberg, however, offers one caveat to those who have come to prefer their CRM delivered via the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model: CDC Pivotal Social CRM is strictly an on-premises offering. "The fact they don't have a SaaS version of this is a huge mistake," he says, though he adds that the product's advantages far outweigh any on-premises drawbacks.
"This is a very good first-generation social CRM product," Greenberg says. "It might not be as sophisticated as other things, but on the whole it has the widest scope of anything I've seen to date."
CDC has also launched CDC Pivotal CRM for SMBs, tailored for the reseller channel and organizations of fewer than 40 employees. The package, which is based on the Pivotal 6 CRM platform, includes embedded Microsoft technologies and is anchored in the Microsoft .NET framework 3.5.
"We feel that you shouldn't be discriminated against because you're a small business," says Jason Rushforth, who is not only CDC Software's senior vice president for North American sales, worldwide marketing, and strategic alliances, but also president of the company's front office solutions. "With this product you can essentially get a full version of Pivotal, but you can also pick and choose the capabilities you deploy; unlike some of our competitors who will offer a lesser price point but will also give you fewer capabilities."
Rushforth argues that a void exists within the industry, namely a lack of CRM platforms for companies with fewer than 40 users. These companies have complex needs, he says — needs the market hasn't been able to fulfill.
"We believe that our Microsoft-centric solution for SMBs is an ideal match for small and mid-sized businesses," said Arash Asli, global vice president of CRM solutions at CDC Software, via company press release. "[The product offers] the big benefits of rich CRM functionality, consistent customer experience management, fast implementation, easy configuration and personalization, and low maintenance, all with the ease of use and affordability required by them."
News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine.
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