• July 19, 2007
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

SMBs Have a New CRM Application 'At Hand'

The Long Reach Corp. has announced an upgrade to the latest version of its flagship Info At Hand 5.1 CRM system, an optional module called Info At Hand Finance that links to Intuit's QuickBooks accounting system. The announcement comes on the heels of the 5.1 release earlier this year, which marked the first major revamp of the small-and-midsize-business software since its 2004 debut. "Until now, we've been making small enhancements with periodic updates; trying to determine the direction and focus of the product," says Michael Whitehead, president and chief executive officer of Long Reach. "With [this] version, we've improved capabilities and functionality across the board, and have focused the product on the SMB segment." Info At Hand's attention to account and contact management, email marketing, order and inventory tracking, online shopping carts, and strong integration with back-office applications like QuickBooks is meant to cater to this focus, Whitehead says. "SMBs aren't looking for a big, bulky, standalone CRM system, they want something that helps them manage the day-to-day operations of the business. Info At Hand is CRM plus business management, all rolled into one." Besides QuickBooks, the vendor will also be releasing an updated version later this year offering integration with Sage Software. Other enhancements in the new edition include:
  • workflow automation support so users can create their own custom-designed workflows;
  • a new partner module to manage partner records;
  • a new marketing events module with scheduled client email reminders; and
  • user self-registration via a customer portal.
In addition, multi-select category fields have been added to leads and contact management, allowing users to classify and filter contacts and leads for marketing and sales purposes. In particular, Whitehead notes the data integration across Info At Hand and with QuickBooks, which "prevents users from having to re-key customer data in five different fields or applications, sending data quality to hell." The application's primary target audience is businesses with fewer than 200 users, Whitehead says, and it comes in both an on-premise and on-demand offering, with pricing starting at $250 per user license. Strong integration with QuickBooks and other SMB-focused applications is critical for Info At Hand, says Sanjeev Aggarwal, SMB strategies senior analyst at Yankee Group, because "seamless upgradeability and integration from one product to another is a key feature for any company looking to target SMBs." In addition, a recent Yankee Group report shows QuickBooks' dominance among 'very small' (two to 19 employees) and small businesses, with the accounting software's market penetration among those two segments at 68 percent and 37 percent, respectively. "The SMB market is [Quickbooks'] bread and butter," Aggarwal says.

Related articles: SMBs Are Embracing Enterprise Software New research reveals that enterprise and CRM software isn't just for the big boys anymore. SMBs Are Shopping For ERP and CRM Solutions In a fragmented market, leading vendors must drive home the value of offerings to command market share. SMBs Showing Increased Appetite for Converged Communications As SMBs enjoy an expanding IP communications and managed services market, no dominant players have yet emerged. Wise Move: Sage Software Undergoes a Restructuring The CRM vendor realigns its corporate foundation to create two new divisions that will better serve their customers' needs. Intuit Quickens Pace Into Online Banking The financial management software vendor will acquire on-demand banking services provider Digital Insight, which will allow Intuit to blend financial management workflows with online banking.
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