Salesforce.com Embraces Concept
is the Key to CRM"
SAN MATEO, CA. November 12, 2003 In his
keynote address at this week's salesforce.com user conference,
the company's CEO Marc Benioff told the audience what
NetSuite users have known for years: "Accounts
Receivable is the Key to CRM," (Source: InfoWorld
website, Nov. 10). This revelation is old news to NetSuite
and Oracle Small Business Suite users, who have had
integrated CRM and ERP functionality for well over two
years. The Oracle Small Business Suite name is used
under license from Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL).
Unfortunately for salesforce.com users, it appears
they won't get the accounts receivable, order management,
and invoicing features highlighted in the keynote address
anytime soon. According to InfoWorld, Mr. Benioff indicated
that such features will not be available until 2004,
marking the third major date slip of these "key"
features. In September 2002, Mr. Benioff promised the
features before the end of 2002 (http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,522384,00.asp).
When that date was missed, Mr. Benioff said customers
would be live on such features in March 2003 (http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,922986,00.asp).
Finally, in May 2003, Mr. Benioff indicated such capabilities
would be available by the end of 2003 (http://www.infoworld.com/article/03/05/05/HNsalesforceerp_1.html).
"Customers' actual purchases define their relationship
with your company, so if your CRM system doesn't track
orders, you aren't going to be very effective at customer
relationship management," said Zach Nelson, CEO
of NetSuite. "Complex features like order management
are much easier to talk about than they are to build
and make work for customers."
Even if the fourth release date is the charm for salesforce.com,
accounts receivable and order management modules don't
begin to cover what is needed to support customer relationship
management. Without significant additional ERP functionality
in salesforce.com, many CRM questions will remain difficult
to answer. How much is my sales team costing me? What
commissions am I paying my sales people? How profitable
is this customer? When can I deliver goods to a customer?
What is the shipping number of my customer's package?
What items are back-ordered and what stock do I want
to move? What are the most profitable items I sell?
Without an intelligent CRM/ERP system, these and many
more crucial CRM questions remain unanswered.
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