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Forty-two percent of the total number of CRM software licenses bought by businesses goes unused, a recent Gartner survey reveals. One reason is that the software vendor offers a larger discount if the business increases its initial purchase. Another reason is that the software vendor may want to position new modules in the market and offers a reduced license fee to businesses that take additional licenses, and may include free or heavily discounted modules. Businesses that continue to buy more CRM software licenses than they need may see a 30 percent increase in total cost of ownership, compared with businesses that carefully plan their CRM software license purchases, Gartner says.

Lending more credence to the hosted CRM model, Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff announced the company's profitability. Benioff, whose trademark is claiming that the end of software is upon us, says Salesforce.com expected to record the company's first profitable quarter through the months of February, March, and April, which will make it one of the first ASPs to see profits throughout a whole quarter.

U.S. companies are spending their IT dollars more wisely than their European counterparts, according to a survey of more than 10,000 companies conducted by ROI consulting firm Alinean. The United States has been using corporate culture and IT to enable strategic sourcing, outsourcing labor, and cutting labor costs by more than 95 percent over the past decade, according to Alinean. The firm also says U.S. companies have been doing the right thing by concentrating the bulk of information management investments on knowledge capital growth and retention.

As more and more names drop from the CRM vendor roster, migration programs have started to increase accordingly. In the wake of data-synchronization solution provider Xchange's exit, Unica, Epsilon, Eloqua, and SAS have stepped in and are offering migration options to their software suites. (Amdocs purchased Xchange shortly after these companies made their announcements.) And after more than two years of supporting the Janna Financial CRM solution it acquired in 2001, Siebel Systems is discontinuing support and is offering customers migration options to its own Siebel Finance product. Interface Software is also offering migration for Janna users.

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