One of the hottest trends in the customer relationship management market today is the growing interest in hosted CRM applications. A Bedford, N.H. company has tossed its hat into that ring, betting that its unique set of offerings will lead to victory.
ManagedOps.com's newest service, RapidSuccess, is designed for mid-market companies looking to quickly and easily convert CRM data from programs like ACT! or Goldmine to a Siebel database.
The company is courting mid-market enterprise customers that are hunting for a complete CRM solution but take in less than $250 million in annual revenue.
"Generally, CRM can be challenging to implement because there's not what we call generally accepted sales principles," said Tom Brennan, ManagedOps.com's vice president of marketing.
Brennan said the beauty of CRM is that data becomes easier to work with when it is centralized, but typically a mid-market company must leverage a fair amount of its resources to consolidate that data.
"The data that companies are converting tends to be not of the highest integrity," he said, because an enterprise, for example, may sell to dozens of different clients, "each with different sales representatives, and each rep has ranked their data a little differently. It tends to be very rough."
Using an interface resembling Microsoft Excel, RapidSuccess allows virtually anyone to drag-and-drop data from an existing database program to RapidSuccess'
The data is then scrubbed, so to speak, to ensure its integrity and then moved along to a pre-configured Siebel database hosted by ManagedOps.com.
Brennan said as long as the person making the conversion is Excel-savvy, "the person doing it doesn't have to know the rules of Siebel. As long as somebody knows what the [Excel-like] destination screen looks like, then it's easy to map the data."
The company estimates that its new deployment method with RapidSuccess can result in a fully implemented CRM in a third of the time it would otherwise take.
Laurie McCabe, vice president and service director at Summit Strategies, Inc. in Boston, Mass. said being able to demonstrate that to potential customers is a strong selling point and contrasts with much of the market.
"They've been saying for a long time application hosting is going to save you all this time, but when you put [companies] on the spot about how much time this will save, you don't get an answer that feels very real. I think this is a very strong offering with a lot of good proof points," said McCabe.
The ultimate goal, said Brennan, is to avoid a costly and time-consuming conversion process. However, "If you're going to do it fast, you still have to derive the business value out of the software you purchase," he said.
As an ASP offering managed operations services only for Great Plains, Microsoft and Siebel applications, ManagedOps.com touts being large enough to offer its own data center but insightful enough to remember the importance of customer service.
ManagedOps.com CEO Dan Taylor said his company works with 120 worldwide channel partners to assist customers locally with data conversion, integration, application training, and customizations. That way, he said, partners can provide customers with useful support while the ManagedOps.com staff focuses on providing stable service and centralized help desk support.
"The customer premise part is really the easy part," said McCabe, "but the hard part of really making this thing work and integrate with other systems is really on the back end and that's all done by ManagedOps. I think it's a very complimentary relationship to have the local channel people provide the personal touch."
Though Brennan knows some companies might feel more comfortable wrangling with the conversion process to ensure data reliability, he said an argument could be made for quickly converting CRM data quickly without having to call in the experts.
RapidSuccess is available as part of the CRM conversion at ManagedOps.com. CRM hosting prices starts at $200 per seat license.