The market leaders are Salesforce.com, SalesNet, NetLedger, RightNow and Upshot. The best known is Salesforce.com who provide several editions of their services including the Enteprise Edition which provides the functionality of both CRM applications and ERP applications such as finance. On the CRM side, they are strong with sales, and support and a bit weaker in marketing though not devoid of the functionality. In an article I did for CRMGuru, I found enormous and pro-active customer support for salesforce.com. They have around 7000 customers and are constantly improving their offering. They are XML-compliant and have developed what seems to be a good integration server that will allow you to incorporate your own legacy and third party applications to their offering. SalesNet's value proposition is the strongest sales functionality in the ASP world and a very smart approach to implementation of their applications. They provide business process analysts to you prior to setting up the system so they can understand and help you understand the processes that run your business. They then use these results to customize their services to your business processes. Excellent for sales. NetLedger provides enterprise level CRM and ERP with both back and front office applications. Sales, Support and marketing AND partner relationship management, unlike anyone else. They are J2EE compliant and Oracle is their database, no surprise since Oracle's Larry Ellison is a big financial backer of NetLedger. They are the "alternative" to .NET for this market. Upshot and RightNow are also two market heavies that you might want to look at.
HOSTED SOLUTION PROVIDERS
The big three are USInternetworking, Corio, and Surebridge. The one to watch is Surebridge, the fastest growing of the HSPs (my acronym). Surebridge provides primarily PeopleSoft CRM and Microsoft CRM for about 80% of their business. They have a smaller amount of Siebel hosting they do. They are an exceptional group with an exceptional culture. They are the only ones that provide hosted MSCRM at this time, due to their acquisition of Managed Ops earlier this year. USInternetworking is a Siebel and PeopleSoft provider that was at one time the market leader but had some troubles that they've now emerged from. Corio is always a solid choice and tends to play in the upper levels of the midmarket (several hundred million dollar companies) as their space. They offer PeopleSoft, Oracle, SAP and E.piphany, the widest selection of CRM applications of all.
There is much, much more to say about this market and I've written a lot on it. However, what I would caution you is to realize that though the costs are lower, they are not as low as claimed by the net natives particularly (though still lower than standalone applications without a doubt) and the options such as strategic planning, professional services, etc. are much more limited. If you are interested in more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-551-2337.
I hope this helps. Enjoy your week!!!
This was first published in August 2003