There's a New CRM Kid in Town
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When it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) software, pureplay ASPs and telcos that butter their bread by providing an independent software vendor's (ISV) application on a subscription basis hadn't had much of an answer for the Web-native offerings of ASPs such as Salesforce.com, Salesnet and Upshot companies that take a turnkey approach by developing, hosting and selling their applications.
Enter BizAutomation, an ISV/ASP startup based in Redondo Beach, Calif. Its goal is to help service providers compete with CRM ASPs like those listed above by providing a Web-based CRM application build on Microsoft Outlook and Exchange.
Using BizAutomation's Microsoft-centric solution, ASPs, ISPs, telcos or other service providers that already deliver hosted Exchange as a service can add value (and revenue) by offering their subscribers CRM applications. The company also has plans to sell the service itself on a subscription basis.
The .NET application, called BizAutomation CRM, includes sales force automation (SFA), customer service/support and campaign/marketing automation features, according the company's president and CEO Carl Zaldivar. "Traditional CRM is way too complicated. Most products make the user go through a maze of tabs and screens just to get to basic functionality," said Zaldivar.
Zaldivar said the BizAutomation CRM uses the same front-end as Outlook and the same back-end as Exchange. Online, the service calls on the Outlook Web client (Outlook Web Access). Offline, it uses the Outlook client found in Microsoft Office. Exchange Domain Wizard lets ASPs automate the creation, provisioning and deployment of multiple domains and users on a single Exchange 2000 Server, according to BizAutomation.
BizAutomation plans to add integration with Intuit's QuickBooks 2002/2003 after the initial launch, according to the company. "Our goal is to bridge the chasm that typically exists between the front and back office," said Sundar Subramaniam, project leader for the company.
"BizAutomation CRM is browser-based, so it requires zero client side setup and implementation. All the database maintenance you normally do for Exchange automatically benefits BizAutomation CRM because it's using the same back end," said Subramaniam.
BizAutomation is the only CRM application built from the ground up in the .Net architecture, according to Zaldivar. The company has worked closely with Microsoft to create the product, Zaldivar said. "Technically, it's so cutting edge, you almost have to call on Microsoft."
On July 9th, BizAutomation CRM will be available for $299.95 per user license as an application that ASPs can host and offer as a service for their subscribers. The application will also be available on July 21st as a Web-based subscription service from BizAutomation.com for $29.95 per user, per month. Fixed price customization and integration packages will also be available, according to the company.
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