By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2005-06-20 Print this article Print

Centric CRM provides a broad set of modules for managing sales, contacts, accounts, customer support, projects and documents. Leads, contacts, accounts, pipelines and quotes reside in separate modules, but there is good integration among the various modules. During tests, we could create a new opportunity from within the contact or account modules, for example, simply by selecting from the appropriate form.

Another example of how well the product ties together different elements can be found in the project module, which combines elements such as documents, activities and tickets in a goal-based structure. We found it easy to add members to a team within the project module, and we liked the role-based administration of participants. We also had a high level of control when it came to defining what kinds of content could be contributed to a project and who could contribute the content. In addition, the project module has a well-designed plan-mapping tool that allowed us to create a hierarchical, task-based outline of a project.

Centric CRM includes a useful dashboard element in the main view of the applications modules. For example, the user home page includes the users calendar, while the pipeline module includes a view of revenue projections and a list of each direct reports pipeline numbers . This design differs from most Web-based CRM tools, which tend to consolidate dashboard elements in a single location.

We liked that the pipeline module has a simple way to export pipeline data outside the reporting engine, although we couldnt save the export rules to run routine data exports.

In the reporting module, we could define and save a set of criteria that would generate a report, but only in a PDF. Report-generation options were good, allowing us to generate any kind of data we wanted, but Centric CRM needs to be able to save data in formats other than PDF, as well as to schedule e-mail and retain report results. Reports remain on the system for 24 hours before being purged.

At times, we found the presentation of elements to be too minimalist. Many CRM products, including Sugar Professional and Salesforce.com, clutter the user interface by exposing the user to every shortcut and button imaginable, so we appreciate Centric CRMs attempts at simplification. However, we would like to see more than the two action options of creating tasks and tickets. A nice touch would be an element for selecting common tasks, such as initiating meetings and calls.

Click here to read Labs review of Sugar Professional. On the administrative side, we were disappointed by Centric CRMs limited tools for customizing the system. Most of the pick lists are customizable, but we couldnt add custom fields from within the administration console or modify forms or general workflow.

One area where we especially wanted more flexibility was in the product and pricing catalog. Although Centric CRM is flexible enough to support product and services pricing and some customization options, we couldnt set up discount rules based on volume, customer or item pairings. Companies that want to perform these kinds of customizations would need to do so at the code level.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.


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