ACRM Software and Calinda Software have teamed up to enter the market for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications built on Microsoft® SharePoint®. ACRM Software is a CRM industry veteran, with over 16 other niche CRM offerings directed to specific industries, including Oil and Gas, Wealth Management, Finance and even business to consumer industries like Personal Fitness/Health Clubs.
Calinda, based in France, provides the SharePoint “muscle” behind this effort. A manufacturer of SharePoint web parts that “add on” real world functionality, Calinda’s value add is directed towards enhancing the native collaborative power of SharePoint. SocialFactor and SocialFactor365 (designed for Office365 SharePoint users), make blogging, sharing, following easier.
In sum, the alliance between these two vendors should make for a very attractive entry into this important business to business marketplace. We took a brief look at one competitor Alcero® and heard a market message that communicates “we do SharePoint ontop of SharePoint for you” what with the primary Alcero offering being Enterprise Content Management (ECM). We could not help but ask the question why do we need ECM ontop of SharePoint out of the box? The real reason, which is buried in a description of the Alcero Alexya™ is that the product allows us to include PDFs in the Document Repository, handles the meta data to render the PDFs searchable, along with other dissimilar document types. As well, this product suite includes a Workflow designer, a List manager and “Findability” to enhance search. In sum, we weren’t able to find evidence of the type of deep understanding of the needs of the CRM market that ACRM Software delivers to its alliance with Calinda.
Of course, the 800 pound Gorilla in this room is Microsoft Dynamics. The SharePoint hooks provided to date for Microsoft Dynamics deliver the feel of working in a native Microsoft Dynamics environment from within SharePoint. We suspect that Microsoft will opt for partners to exploit the opportunity of building meaty web parts that will deliver more of the power of Microsoft Dynamics within the Business Intelligence (BI) arsenal represented by SharePoint. Therefore, development is off in the future. Further, Microsoft is still not in the right Gartner Quadrant to rest on its laurels with Dynamics. Expect further enhancements and a continuing evolution on this product. In sum, ACRM Software and Calinda have a window of opportunity to build a compelling solution which, if properly presented to the market, may get them the coveted “first to market” position on this hefty market opportunity.
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