Important Industry Announcements:

By Geoffrey James

NetSuite announced a pair of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) modules, NetSuite Revenue Recognition Module and NetSuite Advanced Financials Module. NetSuite ties ERP, CRM and e-commerce together in a single, hosted application so mid-size businesses don’t waste time and money integrating disparate applications. The modules are intended to make it easier for companies to recognize revenue according to customer contracts and to maintain accounting control. They provide revenue recognition within one system so there’s no offline manipulation and juggling among multiple spreadsheets and accounting systems. They also provide a system of checks and balances for review, approval and execution of revenue due to be recognized.
Our take: NetSuite’s move is an example of a significant trend in CRM, which is the extension of CRM capabilities to other segments of business computing. The idea of sales reps being able to find out whether customers have been paying their bill, for example, is extremely powerful. Ideally, we can see systems in the future making every ounce of customer information available to reps.

Oncontact announced the release of Oncontact V (ONCV), a new CRM solution based on Microsoft’s .NET architecture. ONCV has an upgraded user interface, feature set and customization tools, and the capability of integrating all .NET applications. The offering builds on the functionality of its CMS product, a customizable CRM system that lets users manage sales, marketing and customer service strategies from a single software suite.
Our take: Bravo. Microsoft’s office automation products are the defacto standard and there’s no reason why CRM shouldn’t integrate more smoothly with them. We expect to see similar capabilities built into other CRM platforms in the future.

Siebel announced Siebel CRM OnDemand Release 6, which introduces prebuilt industry-specific solutions to provide organizations with sales workflow and additional analytic capabilities to deliver powerful insight. Release 6 includes software that provides financial advisors with referral and lead management, household and contact profiling, and client portfolio tracking; provides high-tech marketers with channel marketing, process-driven selling and customer asset management; helps medical equipment, device, service and supply companies and partners identify, acquire and retain customers; and provides vehicle manufacturers, dealers, and service providers with an integrated CRM platform.
Our take: While there seems to be some substance to the 6.0 version, Siebel’s press release was a miracle of gobble-de-gook and business clichés, making it almost impossible to figure out what was really new. Here’s a direct quote from the press release: Release 6.0 doubles the level of functionality available, providing organizations of all sizes with a fast-to-deploy, highly robust and easy-to-use solution to better acquire, retain and serve customers. Translation: Release 6.0 has more CRM features. I guess their viewpoint is why use six real words when you can use five times as many buzzwords to say the same thing?