The CRM market

CRM companies fit into one of the three categories – small office, mid-market, and large enterprise. The current market scenario is one of mergers and acquisitions and is resulting in new options being thrown up regularly for prospective customers.

The small-office segment is dominated by companies such as Best Software and FrontRange Solutions. They cater to companies that typically have less than 25 CRM users and want to deploy a flexible and customizable CRM solution that is easy to use and preferably works well with Microsoft Outlook. The drawback with a majority of small office solutions is that they do not offer much scalability.

The mid-market segment is an open field for both hosted and on-premise solutions. The players in the mid-market segment include, Microsoft CRM, SalesLogix, and Onyx Software. has carved a niche for itself on the strength of its hosted offering that provides easy customization, quick and cheap implementation, and minimum IT investment. SalesLogix from ACT! is perceived to be the way forward for network CRM. The upper echelons of the midmarket are dominated by Onyx which offers an enterprise suite of Employee CRM and Partner Relationship Management in combination with best-of-breed applications such as support solutions from and embedded reporting and analytics from Cognos. Another key player in the midmarket segment is Microsoft with its Dynamics CRM 3.0 that if well integrated with MS Office and offers several sales, marketing, and service features.

The acquisition of PeopleSoft and Siebel by Oracle has queered the pitch somewhat in the enterprise arena. Moreover, midmarket companies like and Onyx have become emboldened to chip at the customer base of Siebel and PeopleSoft. SAP, as a traditional rival of Oracle, has always been there. The CRM market is a mature one with high entry barriers and customers are very demanding; they expect greater number of features, affordability, scalability, and customization.

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