Adapt Software takes on larger CRM rivals with upgrade

Adapt Software is out to grab some market share from its larger rivals with a series of an enhancements to its flagship CRM applications package.

With a growing number of mid-sized companies seeking to leverage CRM applications, yet fearful of the massive investments often associated with such an undertaking, Irvine, Calif.-based Adapt Software Applications Inc. is hoping to cash in with its latest release.

With Adapt CRM Version 3.10, the software maker is even hoping to lure some clientele away from much larger providers like Siebel Systems Inc. and Onyx Software Corp.

"We think we've actually benefited from the market downturn in that we have customers coming to us who were looking at the big guys before," said Brian Dunn, Adapt's chief executive officer.

While Adapt specifically targets the low end of the mid-market, Dunn said he is increasingly hearing from larger companies interested in the technology. He said Adapt's CRM offering can be scaled for larger deployments, but it was designed for businesses that traditionally have not been able to afford enterprise applications.

The two major improvements Adapt is trying to accomplish with the latest release are tighter integration among the different applications within the CRM package as well as more fluid interaction with products from Microsoft's Office suite and with ERP systems and databases.

"Customers are specifically asking us for tighter links to the Office products," said Dunn. "We left some of that platform stuff more open with past versions of the software, but especially with the larger clients we're dealing with, this point is very important."

In terms of the internal applications, Dunn said new features in Version 3.10 include more powerful business processes automation, increased remote user support, related accounts and interactive scripting capabilities.

One of the first companies to deploy CRM 3.10 is Woodland Hills, Calif.-based health and fitness magazine publisher Weider Publications, which turned to Adapt to help speed sales force automation. Weider, which markets publications such as Muscle and Fitness Magazine and Shape Magazine, has used Onyx products in the past but is betting on Adapt going forward.

"We have Onyx, but honestly it's too complex," said Simon Draver, special projects manager at Weider Publications. "The beauty of the Adapt package to us is that you can turn on the elements you need immediately and then turn on other applications as you want them."

According to Draver, the CRM 3.10 offering meets the cry for customization that currently echoes from customers across the industry.

"It's not that Onyx is a bad product," he said. "It's just that it was hard to make it work in our niche."

When it comes to pricing the deal, Adapt also said it can offer customers a bargain compared to the competition. Dunn estimates that a typical roll-out runs a client between $1,200 and $1,500 per seat, with the difference made up in how much time Adapt must spend integrating its products with software from other providers. He estimates that an average implementation runs into the $40,000 range and takes less than two weeks to complete.

The next product Adapt will deliver to the market is its Adapt Anywhere Web-based CRM package. Dunn said the company will bring out the offering in the next several weeks and that he expects that most of Adapt's customers will utilize the eCRM platform in the future.

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