ABOUT THE VENDOR
UpShot Corporation provides a scalable, sales-focused CRM solution. UpShot Sales is a Web-based sales management solution with an offline capability -- allowing salespeople to work while disconnected from the Web. Tightly integrated with UpShot Sales, UpShot Marketing provides a closed loop solution that optimizes lead flow and quality. Founded in 1977, UpShot is based in Mountain View, California. The company's customers include American Airlines, eGain, Hewlett Packard, Pfizer, Sanmina-SCI, and Xerox.
ABOUT THE CUSTOMER
Business Engine is a software vendor that provides Web-based collaborative project, resource, and budget management applications. Their flagship product, The Business Engine Network, is a fully integrated suite in a single 100% Web-based architecture that provides all stake-holders in the organization with the project-based information they need. Headquartered in San Francisco, Business Engine sells its products to multinational companies throughout North America and Europe. U.S. sales offices are located in Chicago, California, New York, and Philadelphia, and the European sales office is in Belgium. Business Engine is privately held with backing from DB Capital Partners, Morgan Stanley Venture Partners, Broadview Capital Partners, NSE Ventures and other investors.
ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
UpShot XE (eXtended Edition) is for large organizations and divisions
Business Engine needed an application to help them manage their prospect and deal activity. SearchCRM spoke with Heidi Shigematsu, director of global enterprise lead development, about the project.
SearchCRM: How did you decide to implement UpShot?
Shigematsu: I did an evaluation at my last company and implemented UpShot. So when I came here to Business Engine, I already knew how to use the application, I knew what other vendors played in the space, and it made it very easy for me to go with UpShot. I didn't do an in-depth application analysis when I came here.
SearchCRM: What were you looking for in a vendor?
Shigematsu: Cost was a huge issue, and speed of implementation. Maintenance was also an issue. The same rules applied here -- we didn't have a lot of time, money, or resources.
SearchCRM: How did implementation go?
Shigematsu: I can tell you that we did not spend one dollar engaging any sort of services to help us do the implementation. I did it all myself. To date, I've never engaged their professional services organization to help us with anything.
It pretty much comes out of the box, and it's easy to use. Of course, you have your own business processes, but it's very easy to set up customized fields in the application. I guess understanding the business process is key to making sure you have the correct roll-out.
SearchCRM: How long did the implementation take?
Shigematsu: We got the application, did a data dump into it, and were ready to go in a week or two. But it made it easy because I had used it prior. However, I'm not a technical person, and I manage, maintain, and do support for the application.
SearchCRM: Can you give me an example of how you use the application in your day-to-day operations?
Shigematsu: We actually do all of our sales forecasting from UpShot. This tool is critical for our senior level executives, because it tells us how our sales are going to look for the quarter. So we track all of our deal and prospect activity through the application. We have about 26 users -- our sales and marketing.
SearchCRM: What kind of training did you have?
Shigematsu: Since our sales force is technology oriented, the application is pretty intuitive for them. I did all the training myself within a couple of weeks. Now when we have new employees come on board, I send them a reference guide on how to use it and then do a walk-through of the application.
SearchCRM: Did you experience any internal resistance?
Shigematsu: I think with any application, when you roll it out there are going to be people who don't want to use anything new. Especially with a sales organization -- the salespeople just don't want to use it. We hear things like, "Do you want me using the application or do you want me out closing the deal?" They also didn't like having to be logged in, but now we have an offline capability, so they can use it on the train or on the plane and make changes, and then when they get back into the office they can synchronize and upload and download the information. So we've done away with some of the resistance that they can't use it disconnected, because now there's no excuse for that one.
SearchCRM: When do you expect to see ROI?
Shigematsu: I think we're already getting ROI, but we don't have anything measurable. Processes are moving much more smoothly. We have great time savings.
SearchCRM: Do you have any advice for other companies thinking of starting a similar project?
Shigematsu: I always tell people to keep their implementation very basic. There's the tendency with any application to have scope creep. Keep it simple at the beginning, understand how the application works, and as you become more advanced at the application, you can start to see what makes sense in terms of adding cool features.
SearchCRM: What are your future plans for the system?
Shigematsu: UpShot has just rolled out their marketing automation component, so our marketing organization will take a much more active role in using the application. We're going to have a larger scope of the application in terms of functionality -- it won't be so sales force centric. We'll be able to run e-mail campaigns and measure our response and investment on campaigns. We hope to kick out a campaign within the next two to three weeks.
Linda Formichelli's writing has appeared in Woman's Day, Wired, Writer's Digest, Family Circle, Psychology Today. Contact her at email@example.com, or check out her Web site http://www.twowriters.net
This was first published in March 2002