Deploying e-customer relationship management (e-CRM) in enterprise systems is quicker using Microsoft technologies, according to experts.
Norm Francis, chief executive at Microsoft e-CRM partner Pivotal, told vnunet.com that following a deal signed with the software giant in December, the firm's typical 100 to 120 day initial installation time will improve.
"Pivotal's use of Microsoft technologies helps in terms of speed of implementation - it helps a lot," commented Nick Hewson, managing director of specialist CRM analysts Hewson Group."
"Integration of CRM is a complicated business which can take years. 120 days is quite quick in this market," he added. "Pivotal isn't one of the largest firms, like Siebel, but it does offer an agile solution and is capable of competing as an enterprise-class vendor."
CRM is touted as one of the major European battlefields for corporates in 2001. According to Hewson Group, the European market for CRM grew 82 per cent in 2000 to $1.67bn out of a global market worth $7.6bn.
The analysts also reported that only 18 per cent of projects labelled CRM actually produce CRM benefits for business operations.
CRM functions include sales force automation, internet and ecommerce support, field sales and telesales, marketing automation, direct marketing, call centre services, help desks, field service automation, service history, data analysis, sales compensation and contracts.
Underlying technologies include workflow, databases, business intelligence, data mining and data marts. Many businesses opt for a components-based approach rather than an all-in-one package.
Francis explained that Pivotal was looking to invest heavily in Europe this year. The firm reported revenues of $25.7m for the second fiscal quarter of 2001, of which between $5m and $6m was generated in Europe.
To date, analysts have ranked Pivotal among the mid-range market suppliers Onyx, SalesLogix, Point and Applix, all of which focus mainly on sales force automation, but below high-end market leaders Siebel, Oracle, Vantive and Clarify.
Other analysts warned that the market would become increasingly competitive. Butler Group's Andy Kellet said: "This is a very volatile market with lots of new players eyeing the market, such as Computer Associates, many of them of greater size than Pivotal."
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