Maximizer Software, the Vancouver, British Columbia–based vendor of CRM software for small and midsize businesses (SMB), today made available its latest iteration, Maximizer CRM 10.5. This new release emphasizes access options for workers in the field, and is available in three versions: Group, Professional, and Enterprise.
The 10.5 release is being billed as an "entirely mobile launch," says William Anderson, the company's executive vice president of technology. Anderson notes that smartphone sales are on the rise, with 165 million units sold this year, a figure expected to increase to 363 million in 2012. "This is the crossover device for the road warrior," he says. "More companies are issuing smartphones instead of laptops." Maximizer CRM enables access via in-office desktop, mobile device, remote sync, and the Web, though it is not expressly software-as-a-service (SaaS).
Maximizer's usage of smartphones and other wireless tools has increased in step with the expanding capabilities of the devices. Version 10.5 includes access to online document libraries, fast access to GPS-enabled mashups, and expanded storage (via SD cards) for client records. The release also offers what Maximizer is calling "tight integration" with the user interface of Research in Motion's BlackBerry handheld device, the top-selling enterprise handheld.
Maximizer was an early supporter of mobile devices, starting with the Palm family of personal digital assistants early on; The 10.5 release also includes support for multiple BlackBerry 8000 series devices as well as the Pearl, Curve, and Bold; Windows Mobile devices; and Apple iPhones. This matches the growing trend of mobile devices serving as a major business tool as well as a technological fashion statement. "We're riding the coattails of what the industry is already doing," Anderson says. "You've got to have the sizzle and sex appeal as well as the steak and potatoes."
Other features in Maximizer CRM 10.5 include:
- enhanced Web-access support including Microsoft Word integration, Excel export, action plans, email templates for personal campaigns, and faster performance;
- greater visibility and better strategic-planning capabilities with business intelligence and visual workflow capabilities, including on-the-fly trend analysis throughout the customer life cycle; and
- extension of Web 2.0–powered tools with social networking enhancements for more powerful prospecting.
The unique aspect of Maximizer's mobile focus is the company's positioning of mobile as the way to win CRM customers, as opposed to the other way around, according to Pete Marston, CRM analyst at Forrester Research. "Maximizer is trying to use the support for more mobile developers as a differentiator between them and some other SMB providers like FrontRange and Sage," he says, referring to the vendors behind FrontRange GoldMine, Sage CRM, Sage SalesLogix, and Act! by Sage. "For the short term, this might be sufficient. Longer term, there are much larger targets at the bigger end of the market that will be harder to shake."
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