If you are an organization currently looking for implementing CRM or hiring a consultant for evaluating various vendors, here is a higher level view after which you start getting deeper into stuff.
Here is a short list of CRM companies which may prove helpful. The list is a mix of traditional large software companies and fast growing CRM companies with a lot of momentum. The CRM short list is aimed towards medium and large enterprise customers and should be sufficiently long for 90% of the target group to find their prospective CRM supplier in this list, or better, to provide a starting point for a software selection trajectory. If you are a small and growing organization, I shall come up with a list soon.
These companies have their expertise in different industries, so you must check with their websites whether they would be able to assist you with your specific requirements.
Best CRM companies
Oracle (Siebel, Oracle CRM)
The list has to start here. On every corporate CRM shortlist, the name of Siebel can not be forgotten. Started by Oracle executive Tom Siebel, the company defined the CRM marketplace and became part of the hype in the dotcom era. Most large corporations have implemented Siebel in the past two decades. “If you want to get to know your customer, you must have Siebel”, was a boardroom statement in those days. After the dot.com hype was over and Siebel’s momentum sagged, Tom Siebel sold his company to his former boss, Larry Ellison.
Siebel is often said to be very extensive in functionality, laborious to implement and comes at a premium price. Siebel is typically implemented by large corporations who wish to implement CRM across the entire corporation.
SAP never made any substantial CRM acquisitions like Oracle did. SAP CRM is mostly in-house developed and co-developed with customers. Smaller acquisitions, such as Wicom, have been made to fill specific functionality gaps.
SAP CRM is usually not selected as a stand alone solution; it is mostly bought by customers who already run SAP ERP and who add SAP CRM for hopes of easy ERP-integration and the advantage of one-stop shopping.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Microsoft entered the CRM market in 2002, however, is aggressive with their marketing and product improvements. At the time, the package was targeted at companies with 50-500 employees, and the focus on SMB has not changed much. Since then. Although the name refers to the later acquisition of ERP company Dynamics, the core of the CRM technology actually came with Microsoft’s acquisition of Great Plains software in 2001. I personally love their service and customization capabilities.
Like Siebel, Epiphany (at the time: E.piphany) was one of the early CRM players that profited and consequently suffered dearly from the burst of the dot.com bubble. In 2005, the company was taken private by SSA Global, that was in turn acquired by acquisition-powerhouse Infor in 2006.
In it’s early years, the company enjoyed a lot of momentum and wrote a lot of big names on its list of corporate customers. Now, Epiphany seems to lead a more peaceful life under the wings of Infor.
I love mentioning this company in my blogposts. Salesforce.com has quickly grown to be one of the world’s largest software companies. Of course, Salesforce.com says its not a software company: all functionality is offered as an online service, payable through subscription instead of upfront license charges. Salesforce.com started out as a CRM pure-player but is putting increasing emphasis on its ERP offerings, branded as Force.com cloud computing solutions.
Both very big and very small companies use Salesforce.com. User friendliness and short implementation cycles (usually in weeks) are reported as main advantages.
Netsuite is a medium-sized software company. Like Salesforce, the company offers its applications over the internet. The company is big in E-commerce, inventory management and financial applications.
An innovative young company that offers open source CRM software over the internet. Despite its youth, the company website mentions a lot of big enterprise customers already among its reported customer base of 50,000.
As SugarCRM is based on open source code, it is easy for customers to build extensions to the code, such as connectors to existing in-company systems.
The above list is not meant to be a reflection of the full CRM market. It’s a CRM short list intended for use as a first glance of the market, early in the software selection process. For any further information on CRM, you can subscribe to the newsletter or fill up the contact form with your question.
Get a comprehensive list of CRM vendors here