SFA for Outlook Will Be Prophetable
Avidian Technologies launched Prophet 4.0 this week, the newest version of its Outlook-based SFA solution. Version 4.0 of the contact management and sales solution comes with improved usability and more advanced contact management features, in addition to new extensions to Windows Mobile devices.
The Prophet series of products are built into Outlook using the .NET 2.0 platform, and add a single toolbar equipped with shortcuts to SFA-related functionality under the existing toolbars already found in Outlook. End-users work entirely inside Outlook, but Prophet is capable of integrating with other business applications. Besides contact and sales management, Prophet also comes equipped with its own analytics capabilities. "We're all about keeping the end user in a single, common environment," says James Wong, CEO and cofounder of Avidian Technologies.
Prophet 4.0 now has extended capabilities through its toolbar, allowing sales reps to find specific contacts or opportunities with a single search from anywhere in Outlook. New automation also allows for automated follow-up actions at each stage of the sales process, whether it is a four- or eight-step sales process. Users can discrete emails, tasks, reminders, or appointments for each step. Finally, expanded support for Windows Mobile and Windows Roaming Profiles is now available in Prophet 4.0.
The product can be purchased in four versions: Prophet Personal, Personal Pro, Professional Server, or Prophet Enterprise Client and Prophet Enterprise Server. Pricing for Prophet Personal Edition starts at $149 per user and $299 per user for the Prophet Professional Edition.
With the recent announcement of Microsoft Vista and Office 2007, Wong says Avidian will be announcing new versions and enhancements that will leverage the improved capabilities of Vista and Office 2007. At the same time, while Microsoft is practically a partner to Avidian due to Prophet's heavy reliance on Office, Wong says he doesn't see the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM being a competitive threat either. "I think our product lines are complimentary to one another as opposed to competitive. Dynamics CRM is more of the full-suite package for the midmarket. We're looking more at sales forces that reside in the SMB sector."
Sheryl Kingstone, CRM program manager for Yankee Group, says that companies like Avidian, RightNow Technologies, and Salesnet all have produced competitive Outlook integrations. To that end, Microsoft "is playing catch-up with its own product integrations."
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