CRM Offerings Tighten Focus

Applications target business processes.

A wave of new customer relationship management software products signals CRM vendors increasing focus on supporting specific business processes and improving how users interact with the software.

SAP AGs MySAP CRM 4, released at the companys Sapphire user show here in June, supports more than 280 industry-specific business processes as well as multichannel interaction processes via its NetWeaver integration platform. Version 4 provides solutions for 20 vertical industries, including automotive and chemicals, said SAP, of Walldorf, Germany.

Pacific Coast Feather Co. is looking to move to a full MySAP CRM deployment to go with its SAP back-office applications. Marielena Withnell, director of business information systems at the Seattle-based company, said she isnt concerned about being put into a box by the predefined business process support.

"SAP is typically not hard-wired. Its always been flexible to configure business processes," said Withnell.

Separately, Inc. last week issued what it called its S3 hosted service, the largest product release since its founding. All 93,000 of the San Francisco companys users were upgraded to the new service.

The software, built on Salesforce.coms Sforce hosted application development utility, released in June, lets customers build and manage business processes to closely map the application to users in their environments.

Sheldon Tkatch, senior project manager for Garrett Aviation Service Centers, a division of General Electric Co., said S3s workflow capabilities are the beginnings of technology that would help compete with its CRM rivals. "Its good for all their clients. Its something you can build on, and you dont have to take on any added risks to get there," said Tkatch, in Tempe, Ariz.

S3 includes a hosted document library, support for HTML-formatted e-mail, tighter integration with Microsoft Corp.s Outlook, support for team selling, executive alerts and an improved security model. The company also announced Salesforce. com Integration Server, powered by TIBCO Software Inc.

Related CRM software news included the following:

Amdocs Ltd. has released ClarifyCRM Version 12, which includes Customer Interaction Manager, a module that brings together ClarifyCRM modules with third-party applications and business processes that are used by support, sales and marketing employees. Users see only information relevant to the business processes defined for them, said Amdocs officials, in St. Louis.

Onyx Software Corp., of Bellevue, Wash., rolled out Portable CRM, a lightweight version of the companys CRM software that can be accessed via wireless devices and disconnected PCs.

Oracle Corp., in Redwood Shores, Calif., upgraded its Oracle Marketing product with predictive analytics for customer behavior modeling, customer targeting, personalized dialogs and centralized content management.