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David Sims - TMCnet CRM Alert Columnist[February 2, 2005]

Trendy CRM WizKids Profiled in Study

By David Sims
TMCnet CRM Alert Columnist

Stoughton, Mass.-based Beagle Research Group has announced publication of their report CRM WizKids: Taking CRM to the Next Level. The report is based on case studies of eleven vendors Beagle considers to be “advanc[ing] the frontiers of customer relationship management (CRM).”

The report methodology consisted of Beagle issuing “ an open call for submissions” in early Q4 2004 for a study “to identify as many emerging companies and solutions as possible that fit into the CRM category and that offer new or innovative solutions to customer relationship challenges.”

The vendors and customers highlighted in the report include: PAR3 and US Airways, Walker Information and Microsoft Business Solutions, Interface Software and Duane Morris LLP, Point of Reference and StorageTek, References-Online and Sun Microsystems, NetSuite and Pioneer Organics, Eloqua and Interland, Aplicor and, Parature and Wasp Bar Code, Salesnet and Harris Corporation, and Proficient Systems and Inter-Tel.

Beagle founder and managing principal Denis Pombriant says “We are delighted that so many outstanding emerging companies took the time to tell us about their customer successes. That so many companies are still entering this market demonstrates just how

vibrant a market it is and how important CRM has become to the business community.”

The study finds that m any of the new applications focus on service. Three companies in the report focus directly on service, PAR3, Parature, and Proficient, but as the report finds “the line between service and sales is blurring so that, based on the case studies as many as five or six could be considered service applications.”

It also finds that “in all cases, there were twin objectives of improving service but at a lower price point.” As the study notes “earlier attempts to serve these often contradictory objectives have had, at best, mixed results.”

Among the case studies, PAR3 is cited as “a great story of how the airline industry is replacing call center labor with automated systems that can reach out to customers through their cell phones and wireless PDA devices to provide information during operational challenges.” Presumably this means they can give you a heads-up that your flight’s been cancelled – before you jump in a cab. This should qualify them for some sort of Nobel Prize.

Proficient is held up as an “example of how CRM systems can be used to intuit customer needs and it offers a solution that is at home in both service and sales situations.” And Parature’s case study is included to show how “a manufacturer was able to organize its service and support implementing a process where there was none as well as improve service without the need for additional labor.”

David Sims is contributing editor and CRM Alert columnist for TMCnet.

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