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AMR Research advises businesses to carefully evaluate the needs of the company before choosing a CRM software package.

InformationWeek Staff

October 11, 2001

2 Min Read

AMR Research advises businesses that are considering new customer-relationship management software packages to carefully evaluate the needs of the company before making a purchase.

The analyst firm released a report Thursday that outlines the leading CRM companies, their strengths and weaknesses, and criteria for evaluating CRM strategies and deployments. It's important to balance five factors relating to a vendor's offering before making any purchase, according to the report. A business must ensure that the functionality of the product fits the needs of the business; those needs are more important than an application's overall depth and breadth, the report says. Also, ensure that the architecture is proven, even if its functionality isn't as developed as a competitor's. All the major CRM software vendors, including Siebel Systems, SAP, PeopleSoft, and Oracle, have changed their products in recent months from client-server to Web-based architectures. Siebel 7 is the most recent Web-based CRM suite to hit the market. AMR says customers shouldn't pay too much attention to the cost of the software license. The software, including maintenance, only represents 20% to 24% of the initial costs. Consulting and integration account for the rest, with integration accounting for 30% to 50% of the total cost of the project. Finally, AMR warns businesses to keep a vendor's customer references in perspective. None of the vendors that participated in the AMR study provided complex customer references. Almost all of the customers were single-application, pilot, or departmental deployments. Siebel, Onyx Software, and Interact Commerce provided multiple references on demand, while PeopleSoft, SAP, and E.piphany provided references with "relative ease," according to AMR. Oracle and Pivotal had some trouble coming up with references, and Nortel Networks, which recently sold off its Clarify CRM business, did not provide any references.

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