By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2004-05-31 Print this article Print

Not surprisingly, considering NetSuites accounting origins, financial data figures strongly into NetCRM. In addition, NetCRMs emphasis on order management distinguishes it from the other products we reviewed, all of which require some customization or integration with other applications to deliver the same functionality.

Like the Salesforce.com service, NetCRM does an excellent job of tying together multiple CRM processes—from fielding customer calls to filling orders over the Web—into a single, cohesive application.

However, NetCRM does not offer the application server capability found in Salesforce.com; instead, customization and process automation are handled via JavaScript. In addition to NetCRM, NetSuite offers accounting and e-commerce services. JavaScript is a simple and effective way to integrate data from other Web-based applications into NetCRM and the NetSuite suite.

Overall, we found that NetCRM provides very good customization capabilities, from both an application and a workflow perspective and for both sales and customer support.

NetCRM is a generally approachable application, with a couple of elements introduced earlier this year that provide better views into sales and customer data. Version 9.5, which went live at the beginning of the year, introduced key performance indicators for summarizing data within each users dashboard.

We liked the way NetCRM managed the financial aspects of the selling cycle without heavy customization. For companies that use the full suite of applications, orders placed via the Web site flow into the sales system, and that sales data flows into metrics such as forecasts and pipelines. The service also supports recurring billing in this release, so these sales figures can be configured to flow automatically into forecast data.

Because order management is integrated into the NetCRM service, companies can see what customers have bought and get a clearer view of actual sales versus projected sales.

Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be contacted at michael_caton@ziffdavis.com.

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