Enterprise software provider Infor announced today the release of its CRM Epiphany Marketing Resource Management (MRM). The software aims at driving efficiency in the marketing department to counteract the typically short lifespan of the chief marketing officer (CMO). Highlights of the launch include a flexible architecture and personalized home pages that promote collaboration within the marketing department.
The primary problem Infor is helping to resolve, explains Tony Compton, the company's newly anointed director of CRM product marketing, is the fact that only 25 percent of today’s CMOs "live" to see their third year at a company. The industry is riddled with what he refers to as "cowboy marketing"—people working on siloed projects, without visibility into the big picture, making it harder for them to identify and control obstacles to the success of marketing initiatives.
More than anything else, Compton says, this MRM solution is intended to help marketing leadership meet deadlines. "They’ve got to get these things done and they’ve got, on average, less than 24 months to make something happen." The average company isn’t happy with the results of its marketing campaigns—or the millions being spent to fuel them—and the problem is only exacerbated by the worsening economy.
Analysts agree that the demands for an integrated marketing solution that spans both campaign management and MRM has become an industry imperative. Moreover, says Kimberly Collins, managing vice president of CRM at Gartner, "clients are expecting one vendor to provide this capability." While Infor had previously partnered for MRM capabilities, this release addresses the market demand for a more-complete solution that ties together the company's outbound and inbound campaign management capabilities, Collins says.
But Infor recognizes that companies may already have a CRM solution in place—the company stresses that its flexible architecture is able to integrate with a host of applications. "Our structure is built to match to [a company’s] CRM roadmap for the next three to five years," Compton says. The solution, he adds, allows for adaptability, change, flexibility, and easy configuration. "Once you have visibility and alignment within the marketing department, the marketing programs, and [the] processes, the actual planning strategy will come together," Compton says hopefully. "Things will happen on time, on budget."
This release also provides standard marketing features such as planning, calendaring, and project management (tasks, activities, and review and approval workflow). Gartner's Collins, though, provides a sneak peek into the second release: She says Infor will include financial and document management capabilities. (For his part, Compton says only that the next version of Infor CRM Marketing Resource Management will be available within the next 12 months.)
And Collins isn't alone in her belief that Infor has successfully united some loose ends with this release. "Although there is nothing 'new' about Infor’s MRM solution, it fills an important product gap in their marketing solutions line-up," says William Band, principal analyst at Forrester Research. "Marketers have been under increasing pressure during the last five years to manage resources more effectively and show demonstrable [return on investment] from their programs. MRM capabilities help marketers to plan and manage their resources more successfully [and] CRM application players have been beefing up their MRM capabilities to respond to this need. Infor’s new MRM capabilities mean they now offer a more complete solution that will now appeal to chief marketing officers, as well [as to] direct-marketing and interactive-channel managers."
That might be the real pain point: Marketers today are having to juggle more channels and more competition than ever. As a result, marketing programs are getting more and more sophisticated, forcing marketers to look toward technology for help. Whether it’s traditional or new-age marketing, Compton argues that a powerful tool is necessary. "If you don’t have one, you’re already behind," he says. "So the further you go without it, it’s just that much more difficult."