The 2007 Market Awards: Midmarket Suite CRM

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The Market The landscape among midmarket suite vendors is loaded with firms vying for the increasingly limited technology dollars of companies with revenues ranging from $100 million to $1 billion. Facing escalating competition, CDC Software's Pivotal CRM and Onyx Software (now a Consona CRM solution) again failed to secure positions on this year's midmarket leaderboard. And the issue is not go-to-market capabilities, as both scored impressively on functionality. However, both pulled in notably lower scores for company direction and customer satisfaction. In addition, SAP, which made the midmarket leader's list last year, fell off the top-five list this year, also resulting from weak scores in the company direction and customer satisfaction categories. Midmarket Suite CRM: The Chart
One to Watch With three offerings suited for the smaller guys--ACT!, SageCRM (formerly ACCPAC CRM), and SalesLogix--Sage Software remains a midmarket and SMB staple. However, Sage's big challenge is to bring a more unified message to the market to better rationalize and position these different solutions, according to McCabe. "The newly launched Business Solutions Division should help them do a better job with this, and also help them get more synergy between the Sage back-office and CRM solutions," she says. Sage appears to be on the right path: The company improved its scores across the board, and nearly scratched its way back into the top five. The Leaders Microsoft's CRM muscle got a serious shot in the arm in December 2005 when the company generally released Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0. At press time, however, the company had yet to make its much-anticipated Dynamics CRM 4.0 edition--code-named Titan and delivering some software-as-a-service (SaaS) functionality--fully available. "While there haven't been any major releases since last year's introduction of 3.0," says Rob Bois, a research director at AMR Research, "Microsoft plans to offer a SaaS version of its CRM application later this year, pitting the company much more directly against chief competitor Salesforce.com." For now, though, Microsoft continues to struggle in our functionality ratings, receiving a score of 2.7, the lowest on the list. NetSuite's core strength--delivering integrated, on-demand back- and front-office functionality--remains a tempting value proposition for the midmarket. While some analysts noted that the company must boost its brand positioning, NetSuite still received the sector's second-highest company direction score (3.7). The NetSuite folks have done "a great job of integrating CRM with e-commerce, and have recently added new mobility features--BlackBerry, Windows CE, Palm--beefing up a critical area that they had been deficient in," says Laurie McCabe, vice president of small and medium business insights for AMI-Partners. RightNow Technologies has maintained its status as a stout competitor in the midmarket CRM competitive landscape, earning a spot as a category leader for the third consecutive year. The company released RightNow 8.1, which features support for 21 languages and dialects, just three months after making RightNow 8 generally available, and unveiled vertical-specific editions of its suite for higher education, government, retail, and telecom companies. But, according to Bois, "while highly competitive from a functional standpoint, RightNow lacks the marketing muscle of its foes." Still, RightNow's composite score just barely missed taking the category's top spot. Despite uncertainty from analysts surrounding Siebel Systems' interest in actively pursuing midmarket customers, the Oracle unit, tagged as a midmarket One to Watch in 2006, climbed its way back onto the leaderboard. Siebel saw mammoth improvements in its averages for company direction (from 2.3 to 3.3) and customer satisfaction (from 2.5 to 3.3), but its scores show a significant need to strengthen its--and, by extension, Oracle's--midmarket footprint. While Siebel's SaaS offering (which is no longer being renamed Oracle CRM OnDemand) remains viable, according to Bois, "it has gotten somewhat lost in the vast array of Oracle 'OnDemand' products, and its prior branding was easy to confuse with the hosted version of the on-premises application." The Winner "Although Salesforce.com has promoted its big enterprise wins, it delivers value to a lot of midmarket customers that can take advantage of rapid implementation and ongoing innovation," says Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus Research. The company, which tops our midmarket ratings for the second year in a row, pulled in strong marks in each measure, leading all category contenders in company direction (4.3). According to Tim Hickernell, senior analyst at Info-Tech Research Group, the speed at which Salesforce.com is able to respond to market opportunities, due to its on-demand platform and partner velocity, is a real competitive edge and is threatening new customer acquisitions by its competitors. "However, at some point [it will] have to decide if [it's] a CRM software company or an application platform and delivery company," he says. "But even being forced to such a decision point is a compliment to [its] success." --Coreen Bailor
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