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By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2005-04-04 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


With modules to manage CRM, human resources, projects, financials, logistics and workflow, Exact Softwares e-Synergy delivers more than the sum of its parts. e-Synergy provides midsize companies with a Web-based business management suite that is affordable and relatively flexible.

In eWEEK Labs tests, we found that e-Synergy does a good job of integrating a core workflow system with components for managing customer, financial and HR data in a way that gives companies a good tool for creating internal and external-facing applications.

The management approach for pricing and revisions hits a good middle ground between perpetual-license and subscription models. Pricing starts at $1,000 per user for a perpetual license, with maintenance and support each costing 10 percent of the purchase price per year.

Exact Software has the product on a long-track development process, with no major version releases in the past three years. But any customer with a maintenance subscription has access to the functions that have been introduced at regular intervals during that time.

We looked at the latest build, which was introduced in January. Although most feature improvements arent as large-scale as the quarterly releases found with hosted applications such as Salesforce.com Inc.s Salesforce.com or NetSuite Inc.s NetSuite, the e-Synergy revisions generally have been more digestible when it comes to getting users up to speed.

Modules define the core functionality of e-Synergy. The applications underlying security model and its focus on workflow and document and content management enabled us to build broad customer- and business-partner-facing applications.

In tests, we could manage a corporate Web site, build and manage programs for developing leads, and manage an extranet for business partners that provided access to core application capabilities. e-Synergy requires Microsoft Corp.s Internet Information Services and SQL Server 2000.

The workflow engine has a good set of tools for building workflows and forms in the framework of the application, and we particularly liked the ease with which we could repurpose existing workflows for new ones.

Although e-Synergy can provide a bevy of capabilities, it has some inherent limitations that companies will need to work around. For example, the workflow engine supports only four steps within a process. For more complex processes, we had to divide the process into a couple of separate stages.

Furthermore, the application doesnt include a graphical modeling engine, although it does provide a good linear view of workflows. These tools are common in dedicated BPM (business process management) packages such as Ultimus Inc.s BPM Suite.

Click here to read Labs review of the Ultimus BPM Suite 7.0. Workflow is the critical component of both e-HRM, the HR management module, and e-CRM, the customer relationship management module. The e-HRM module is also a core component for managing security levels throughout the organization because the module manages roles within an organization. We found both e-HRM and e-CRM easy to manage in tests because they share the same forms and user interface.

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