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The 2006 Rising Stars
Innovation and smart partnering--perhaps the keys that unlock doors to the CRM big league. These five companies excel at novel product concepts and some have made keen M&A moves this year. Both types of effort portend serious shots at the show.
For the rest of the October 2006 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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Callidus Software

Callidus Software was founded in 1996, and released its popular TrueComp incentive management product in 1999. Since then the company has been at the forefront of the growing enterprise incentive management industry. Led by President and CEO Robert Youngjohns, the company focuses on enabling CFOs to take a more active role in setting goals, creating revenue streams, and managing execution.

The company's products include TrueComp, a modeling system for incentive plans; TrueInformation, a Web-based finance and compensation access portal; TrueResolution, a self-service dispute resolution engine; and TrueAnalytics, which lets executives make timely adjustments to business strategy by crunching sales and compensation data. Callidus solutions are available on-premise and on-demand.

Incentive management is a hot topic as multichannel businesses create ever more complex product offerings and commission schedules, according to Jim Dickie, partner at CSO Insights. The goal is always to make sure sales reps have the incentive to do the right thing, both for themselves and the company. "Too many companies just throw money at salespeople and figure somebody will sell the way they want them to," Dickie says. "Incentive management is bringing structured science to the business, and we're seeing more and more interest."

In addition to its own considerable success in enterprise incentive management (EIM), Callidus has influenced the market indirectly. Two other successful EIM vendors, Centive and Xactly, either grew out of Callidus or sport several former employees. "Callidus was the birthplace of incentive management," Dickie says. "The market is still relatively embryonic, and people are trying to figure out what else to do with EIM, such as apply analytics and mine the data to better optimize business." With its considerable analytics prowess, Callidus is poised to lead the way. --Marshall Lager


CAS

Business applications vendor CAS is putting the C back in CRM. The German company, centered in the consumer products industry, has made a big splash since its software was released on this side of the Atlantic in 1998. Now CAS has more than 200 customers on five continents. "What sets CAS apart is that they're really focused on customer processes," says Ray Wang, principal analyst at Forrester Research. "They're really about thinking about what information someone needs to have in front of them before interacting with a customer."

The first consumer product--based vendor to develop a Web-enabled CRM system, CAS solidified its leadership position in the CPG industry when in November it launched its CPWerx 6.0, a demand-side management application suite that includes brand management, trade promotion management, field sales and service management, analytics, and other tools. The award-winning company's trophies include a Microsoft.NET Solutions award for CPWerx Handheld and the top position for Technology Magazine's 2006 Readers' Choice. The company's largest client base is in the SMB space, but its products' functionality, ease of use, and short implementation time are helping it bump up to higher client levels. Wang credits CAS's retail direction as a primary reason for it having done so well, despite the narrowness of its SMB focus. However, he says, "With their strengths in intersection, collaboration, and customer relationship management, they can take this to other industries as well. That's where the growth comes in." --Jessica Sebor


Perseus Development/WebSurveyor

CRM has always been strong in providing behavioral, or transactional, customer information. Measuring and predicting a customer's attitude toward a company and/or its products is still quite new. Enterprise feedback management (EFM) solutions and other surveying tools seek to map this uncharted ground. Because of this, we recognize the merger of Perseus Development and WebSurveyor by Austin Ventures, and the resulting new company, as a 2006 Rising Star.

Perseus Development and WebSurveyor both specialize in providing Web-based surveying solutions for businesses. While Perseus Development designs EFM solutions--surveying and reporting platforms to poll customers and employees alike--WebSurveyor makes online surveying tools to help companies determine what existing and potential customers are looking for.

The new company will integrate the two sets of product lines, creating a "suite" of surveying solutions for businesses both big and small, according to Dean Wiltse, chairman and CEO of the new company. And with the financial capital of Austin Ventures now backing them, Wiltse anticipates his new company and its solutions will have an influence on the CRM market.

Esteban Kolsky, research director at Gartner, agrees: "Companies have spent millions, maybe billions, of dollars implementing CRM and they still don't know squat about their customers. We have lots of great profiles on them but we don't know what they really want. What's the easiest way to find out what a customer thinks about a company? You ask them."

Thanks to the strong growth this market has exhibited in recent years, Kolsky says he expects to see more acquisitions and partnerships between these companies and CRM vendors. "It's only natural, given all the noise this market is making. CRM vendors have missed the boat on this, but that will change over the course of the next year." --Colin Beasty


SugarCRM

The open-source development model isn't for every business, and like other approaches isn't without caveats. But SugarCRM has made enough noise to become the household name of the emerging open source CRM space and a Rising Star in the CRM industry.

In December 2005 it announced the release of Sugar Suite 4.0, its seventh major release in just 20 months, and in February announced a partnership with Microsoft aimed at boosting interoperability between Microsoft Windows Server and SugarCRM products. In April the company unveiled Sugar Suite 4.2, offering new features and enhancements like a new user interface, enhanced classification functionality, and improved integration to manage SugarCRM from within Microsoft Outlook.

SugarCRM's price points are alluring. Sugar Open Source is available for free via download, and for on-premise implementation Sugar Professional 4.2 and Sugar Enterprise 4.2 are available at $239 and $449 per user, per year, respectively. Sugar Professional On-Demand 4.2 starts at $39.95 per user monthly and Sugar Enterprise On-Demand's price tag is $74.95 per user monthly.

Organizations are taking note: In May the company announced that it doubled its commercial base in the last six months, to more than 600 paying customers since the release of its first commercial edition open source CRM splash in 2004.

SugarCRM partners with companies in many countries -- Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Thailand -- and in May announced that the development community has contributed more than 200 extensions and other enhancements including translation into 40 languages.

Without its partners and open source approach, SugarCRM "would have had to spend a lot more internally to get capabilities like availability in different languages," says Laurie McCabe, vice president of SMB insight and business solutions at AMI-Partners. "That's where the open source community is really paying off for them." --Colin Beasty

Visible Path

Knowing the right person in a company can mean the difference between closing a deal and watching it slip through your fingers. Social networking tools, however, move beyond managing already established contacts to uncovering potential relationships, helping employees identify contacts with connections to prospective clients and business opportunities. Companies like privately held Visible Path are reducing the degrees of separation.

The firm helps professionals leverage their corporate relationship network to more effectively sell, market, and hire. Its platform integrates with BI, CRM, and SFA applications to enhance sales efforts, while human resources departments can use Visible Path's capabilities to identify and reference qualified candidates.

Visible Path spent the past 12 months hiring technology veterans, securing $17 million in Series B investment, shifting its headquarters to Silicon Valley, and creating its own relationships. In March the company announced an agreement with Hoover's, a D&B company, which allows Visible Path's customers to access Hoover's information on a company or employee, while Hoover's Pro Premium subscribers can use Visible Path to uncover connections to a company or employee.

Visible Path isn't the only company in the space: BranchIt, Contact Networks, Leverage Software, LexisNexis InterAction, and Spoke Software are some of the other social networking players. But companies like Visible Path "allow you to do some homework ahead of time," says Jim Dickie, partner with CSO Insights. "It's not just finding the right person to call, it's also finding the people around that person that you could get information from before you initiate the call." --Coreen Bailor

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To contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com
Every month, CRM magazine covers the customer relationship management industry and beyond. To subscribe, please visit http://www.destinationCRM.com/subscribe/.
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