Sage Applies Logic to User Adoption
In an industry where user adoption remains a primary challenge, sometimes it's the details that truly matter most. Ever spent minutes upon minutes sifting through numbered lists on a Web page? The developers at Sage Software realized that clicking through pages was a pain for many users of its SalesLogix application. To remedy the time-wasting, they simply put a scroll bar within the interface for SalesLogix 7.5 -- but what seems simple is surprisingly rare in many Web applications or pages. The new scroll bar is just one of the features that Sage is hoping will make this newest version of SalesLogix more user-friendly.
China Martens, senior analyst with The 451 Group, says that the release should keep the existing SalesLogix customer base happy. SalesLogix 7.5 incorporates new personalization features that won't necessarily boost productivity, but might make help users feel more comfortable with the application, she says. For instance, the interface on the SalesLogix welcome page has been made to resemble the kind of iGoogle or Yahoo! home page users may be familiar with as consumers themselves. Thanks to the use of AJAX coding, users can move each SalesLogix element around and can choose to see only the elements that are useful to them. Additionally, users can change the backgrounds to suit their styles. While the personalized views might increase adoption to a certain degree, Martens maintains the release doesn't do a whole lot to bring new customers on board.
What the announcement does mean for SalesLogix users, though, is greater integration with another SageSoftware product, Act! by Sage. "[Sage is] trying to make [SalesLogix] the big brother to Act!, so [SalesLogix] would be the natural place to move [when] people are evolving from Act! and looking to move to full-blown CRM," Martens says. She adds that what customers want from the Sage family is clarity --particularly with regard to how its core products interact and work together. Interoperability was both an issue and a stated goal in the Sage CRM Solutions 2010 strategic roadmap, made public in March. Version 7.5 of SalesLogix is a step in that direction, Martens says.
Travis Nisbett, senior product manager for Sage SalesLogix points out that the 7.5 version allows for both connected and disconnected access. The application looks and feels the same whether online or offline, which Nisbett says is a feature that not a lot of other vendors can claim. SalesLogix 7.5 also includes:
- Web CRM (not to be confused with on-demand CRM): Users can access sales force automation and marketing campaigns -- as well as customer support capabilities for assets, contracts, returns, and defects -- all through the Web client.
- Simplified data access: New formatting includes additional tabs, filters, and the ability to select multiple records at once.
- Lead management wizards: Automation simplifies the process for importing leads, by de-duplicating and enabling rule-based lead-routing.
- Timeline visualization: A horizontal view gives chronological account information with associated opportunities, tickets, news items, and all relevant detail.
- Mashups: Powered by Web services, users can view third-party applications such as Google Maps, Jigsaw, and LinkedIn from within the SalesLogix interface.
Nisbett says that the new personalization features are likely to boost adoption -- and that they're a mainstay of the SalesLogix approach. "SalesLogix has always embraced that personalization," he says. "It's almost an avoidance of the negative. If we're going to survive in this modern Web world, you have to."
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