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9/26/2007
02:30 PM
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Simplifying The Leap To SaaS For Small Biz

Small businesses of 10 to 100 employees have a new option for CRM and sales force applications. LongJump offers a suite of software applications delivered via the Web.

Small businesses of 10 to 100 employees have a new option for CRM and sales force applications. LongJump offers a suite of software applications delivered via the Web.Applications include CRM, sales force automation, IT asset tracking, HR management, and collaboration.

LongJump is a spin-off service from Relationals, a 4-year-old startup that provides CRM software to media companies. CEO Pankaj Malviya is duplicating his niche-focused approach, but instead of targeting a specific vertical, he's going after very small businesses.

It's a wise strategy given the midmarket glut of SaaS offerings from the likes of Salesforce.com, NetSuite, and RightNow Technologies-not to mention SAP's recently launched Business ByDesign, which provides on-demand ERP and targets companies of 100 to 500 employees.

As with other SaaS providers, LongJump preaches simplicity of deployment and a low capital outlay. To draw customers, LongJump will offer its service for free until January.

It's also taking a page from Salesforce's book by letting users customize applications and publish homegrown applications to LongJump's catalog for a cut of the subscription fee. The company is also making its APIs available to third-party developers.

Small businesses should be encouraged that LongJump is backed by Relationals, which has landed more than 100 CRM customers, including Gannett, Hearst, and the Food Network.

However, any potential customer needs to ask hard questions about SLAs, the hosting infrastructure, and the ability to get your data off the provider's systems if you want to take your ball and go home.

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