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Customer Inter@ction Solutions
April 2007 - Volume 25 / Number 11
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FrontRange Makes A Strong Showing In The SMB Marketplace

By Rich Tehrani
TMCnet Group Editor-in-Chief

Rich Tehrani
FrontRange Solutions (www.frontrange.com) has a reputation for being a dynamic organization. The company is a market leader in IT service management, customer relationship management (CRM) and voice applications for the mid-market and distributed enterprise. It has never been one to sit still and let the industry evolve around it.

Last month, FrontRange signed an agreement to acquire enteo Software, Inc. (www.enteo.com), a German developer of PC lifecycle management and Citrix management solutions, as a way of broadening the appeal of its solution portfolio.

I got a chance recently to catch up with FrontRange CEO Michael McCloskey about some other important events that have occurred within FrontRange's ranks as of late.

RT: FrontRange is developing VoIP technology, but it is very tied to specific business functionality. How did that come about?

MM: The most common way for people to communicate is through voice. This is true in both external and internal environments, and we are trying to provide solutions in our applications that allow people to communicate in the manner in which they choose. With our voice products, we can augment our application capabilities. In our ITSM service management offerings, customers use our voice solutions to do password resets or get the status of a case or incident without any human intervention. We use voice as a competitive advantage. We think the key to serving SMBs (small to medium-sized businesses) is to address specific business needs at the application level and allow them to add pieces to gain additional strategic value.

RT: Last year you were purchased by Francisco Partners and you recently completed the acquisition of enteo. What's your goal?

MM: Our goal is simply to be the market leader. The investment by Francisco Partners a year ago enabled us to continue to pursue our aggressive growth strategy. Our recent acquisition of enteo Software allows us to provide a comprehensive, end-to-end IT service management and PC lifecycle management offering. We believe that we can get there faster with them as a strong partner as they can help us accelerate our strategy. We are committed to providing our customers and partners with market-leading products and superior service and support. This investment further strengthens that commitment.

RT: How did FrontRange build its mid-market "fortress?"

MM: We build solutions for the mid-market and distributed enterprise. We have more than 9,000 customers in this sector, including several hundred Fortune 1000 customers. We build enterprise-class solutions, and have built five critical attributes into every product: robust enterprise-class capability, low total cost of ownership (TCO), rapid deployment, flexible configuration and rapid ROI. Most of our legacy competitors simply cannot compete with this approach.

RT: Why is the mid-market so coveted?

MM: Competition in the over-farmed enterprise software space is driving big players — such as Oracle/Siebel and SAP — down-market looking for greener fields.

Ray Boggs, vice-president of SMB research at IDC (News - Alert) (www.idc.com), has said, "With the worldwide economy having grown stronger in general, smaller and mid-sized companies are healthier and in a better position to invest in IT. In addition, technology providers are putting in place programs and products that are lower priced and specifically designed for SMBs. Channel partners are also increasingly interested in selling to SMB customers, and manufacturers are recruiting more partners with experience and expertise in this space."

Our solutions are built from the ground up to solve these types of problems, and have increasingly penetrated their former enterprise accounts due to our value proposition.

RT: How are competitors attacking the FrontRange “fortress”?

MM: Competitors also try to emulate market leaders. They have great difficulty due to their legacy business models, products and technology. Of course we see competitors, but we believe that market performance is the best indicator. On the metrics, we are winning.

The SMB market in the contact center space is in full shakeup mode. Though many companies are striving for dominance, and some, like FrontRange, are establishing themselves admirably, there remains a great deal of growth and innovation to come, particularly for companies like FrontRange that build specifically for the mid-market rather than merely scaling down and repackaging enterprise-class solutions. More and more applications are being built from scratch and customized for SMB players, which is steadily increasing the enormous power and potential in this lucrative and appealingly unsaturated market segment. In both the short- and long-term, there will be no shortage of exciting news from this sector to share with my readers. I will keep you posted. CIS

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