Commence Gives CRM a Face Lift

Commence Corp. is adding interface enhancements to its namesake CRM software for small and medium-size businesses.

Commence Corp. is adding interface enhancements to its namesake CRM software for small and medium-size businesses.

The company this week will introduce Commence Relationship Management, a version of its Commence 2000 package upgraded with a digital dashboard, or portal where users can customize views of business information to get what they need.

Commence RM, as the upgrade is known, also features Grid View, which enables users to create reports in a spreadsheet format, according to officials at the Oakhurst, N.J., company.

The interface improvements are enough to persuade Frank LaRocca, a partner at the Paramus, N.J., law firm Finnerty, LaRocca and Sherwood, to upgrade from Commence 2000.

"The dashboard looks really good—its the main reason Im upgrading," LaRocca said. "It makes it a lot easier to access the relevant information on a case."

The firm uses Commence 2000 now as a knowledge and document management solution.

But with the new version, it will look to expand its use to targeted e-mail campaigns and integrate billing information with customer information, LaRocca said.

"We use it to manage relationships with our clients," he said. "We dont use the full features. Initially, it was only for document management, but now we can expand upon what were doing. The new product makes it more interesting."

Another new feature in Commence RM is tighter integration with Microsoft Corp. Office applications, including the ability to automatically trigger actions based on e-mail content in Microsoft Exchange. LaRocca said hes looking forward to using this feature.

"It has a customizable way to determine whats in an e-mail and send an automated reply based on the content or forward it to the attorneys PalmPilot or cell phone or even route it to the fax machine at their house," LaRocca said.

Commence RM also features Web content integration, enabling users to embed content such as driving directions, stock quotes and news into CRM (customer relationship management) applications.

Commence RM has modules for contact management, sales force and marketing automation, and customer service and support, although it requires an additional Commence application, called Allure, for Web-based customer service.

Commence RM is due to ship next week and is priced at $695 per user license.